Colleges That Have Produced the Most NFL Players

From college to the pros

To earn a shot at playing on Sundays, football players with professional aspirations must first prove themselves on Saturdays, playing at the college level. National Football League rosters are filled with players from more than 200 schools. A few elite NCAA programs have produced dozens of players currently in the pros. Here are the 10 colleges that had the most former players on an NFL roster entering the first week of the 2022 season, according to the league.

University of Iowa

Current NFL players: 31

U.S. News rank: 83 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 29,909

4-year graduation rate: 56%

Known today as a program with physical players and stout defenses, the Iowa Hawkeyes have amassed 12 conference championships and one national championship in a 124-year tenure. Led by head coach Kirk Ferentz since 1999, the Hawkeyes have been a fixture in the Big Ten championship hunt throughout much of the 21st century. Notable alumni currently in the NFL include Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson and Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde.

Learn more about the University of Iowa.

University of Oklahoma

Current NFL players: 32

U.S. News rank: 127 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 28,042

4-year graduation rate: 50%

Oklahoma finished the 2022 regular season with a 6-6 record. The Sooners have cracked the top 10 of the Associated Press national rankings during some point of each season since 2000, earned seven national championships and produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in 2017 and 2018. Their impressive alumni list includes quarterbacks Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals, Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Baker Mayfield of the Los Angeles Rams.

Learn more about the University of Oklahoma.

University of Florida

Current NFL players: 33

U.S. News rank: 29 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 55,781

4-year graduation rate: 72%

Fierce competitors in what many consider college football’s toughest conference, the Florida Gators have won 24 of 47 bowl games in 110 seasons, including three national championships since 1996. Though Heisman Trophy winner and program legend Tim Tebow’s professional career was brief, the Gators remain well represented in professional football. Defensive backs C.J. Gardner-Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles, Keanu Neal of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kaiir Elam of the Buffalo Bills highlight a long list of Florida alums making plays at the game’s highest level.

Learn more about the University of Florida.

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Current NFL players: 33

U.S. News rank: 25 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 50,278

4-year graduation rate: 81%

College football’s winningest program has returned to its traditional dominance in recent years, winning back-to-back Big Ten championships in 2021 and 2022 and qualifying for the College Football Playoffs in both seasons as well. Head coach Jim Harbaugh played for the Wolverines himself, but it is another former Michigan quarterback that most football fans are quick to associate with the program: seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

Learn more about the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.

Pennsylvania State University–University Park

Current NFL players: 35

U.S. News rank: 77 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 47,560

4-year graduation rate: Unavailable

The Penn State Nittany Lions won four national championships between 1889 and 1992 as independent competitors before joining a conference in 1993. Since, they have won four Big Ten championships and padded their bowl game wins tally, at 30 entering the 2022-2023 bowl season. Their impressive alumni list includes star New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Micah Parsons.

Learn more about Pennsylvania State University–University Park.

University of Notre Dame (IN)

Current NFL players: 37

U.S. News rank: 18 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 13,139

4-year graduation rate: 90%

Thanks to a slew of legendary coaches and a tradition dating back to 1899, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been able to recruit top-notch talent for decades. The football program boasts 13 national championship titles and 40 bowl game victories heading into the 2022-2023 bowl season. Pro stars who came through the program include Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson and Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith.

Learn more about the University of Notre Dame.

University of Georgia

Current NFL players: 44

U.S. News rank: 49 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 40,118

4-year graduation rate: 69%

The 2021 national champions and 2022 Southeastern Conference champions have been churning out pro players since head coach Kirby Smart took over the program in 2016. Fifteen Georgia Bulldogs were selected in the 2022 NFL draft, the record for a seven-round draft. Current NFL standouts who spent their college days in Athens include Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Learn more about the University of Georgia.

Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge

Current NFL players: 52

U.S. News rank: 176 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 35,912

4-year graduation rate: 46%

The LSU Tigers, longtime Southeastern Conference powerhouses, claim five national championship trophies and more than 800 total wins historically. Five players from the 2019 national championship team were selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. From wide receivers like Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals and Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings to defensive backs such as Tyrann Mathieu of the New Orleans Saints and Jamal Adams of the Seattle Seahawks, the list of former Tigers starring at the professional level is stacked.

Learn more about Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge.

Ohio State University–Columbus

Current NFL players: 52

U.S. News rank: 49 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 61,677

4-year graduation rate: 67%

The Ohio State Buckeyes have won eight national championships and produced seven Heisman trophy winners. Though the Buckeyes have been traditionally dominant, winning 40 conference championships, they have played particularly well in recent years, registering five College Football Playoff appearances since that playoff format debuted in 2014. Buckeyes in the pros include Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Learn more about Ohio State University–Columbus.

University of Alabama

Current NFL players: 58

U.S. News rank: 137 (tie), National Universities

Total enrollment in fall 2021: 38,316

4-year graduation rate: 53%

The Alabama Crimson Tide has dominated college football for much of the 21st century, registering six national championship victories since 2009. The last time they lost more than three games in a single season was 2007, the year current head coach Nick Saban took over the program. More than half of the teams in the NFL have multiple former Alabama players on their rosters. NFL standouts who played for Saban in Tuscaloosa include Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Julio Jones and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry.

Learn more about the University of Alabama.

Find your all-American college.

Get more information about how to choose a college, and check out the complete rankings of the Best Colleges to find the school that’s best for you. For more advice and information on how to select a college, connect with U.S. News Education on Twitter and Facebook.

Colleges with the most NFL players

— University of Alabama: 58

— Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge: 52

— Ohio State University–Columbus: 52

— University of Georgia: 44

— University of Notre Dame: 37

— Pennsylvania State University–University Park: 35

— University of Florida: 33

— University of Michigan–Ann Arbor: 33

— University of Oklahoma: 32

— University of Iowa: 31

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Colleges That Have Produced the Most NFL Players originally appeared on

Update 12/19/22: This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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