Players in the NFL by school - Big Ten East

Submitted by Maizinator on December 11th, 2018 at 2:32 PM

Obviously, every recruit dreams of getting to the NFL. 

While decisions on where to attend school are based on many things, a school's (and coaching staff's) track record of putting guys in the League typically is a major consideration.

I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at current guys in the NFL from each school in the Big Ten East...

Ohio State -  40
Penn State -  33
Michigan - 31
Michigan State - 19
Rutgers - 15
Maryland - 13
Indiana - 10

I realize this is somewhat coarse and doesn't take into account specific position groups, recent vs. older players, round chosen, etc.   It does give a snapshot of how good the programs are overall in helping recruits reach their goals.

Want to get to the top of the pyramid?   Keep rooting for our guys to make NFL rosters, even if that means leaving early. 

In case anyone is wondering in light of recent developments, Alabama has 51 guys in the NFL! 



December 11th, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

I would imagine for a lot of kids who dream of going to the NFL, especially those from low-income households, just making it to the NFL is a reward enough given the minimum salary is $450k / year. Of course, playing with the best of the best (i.e. the starters) must be part of it, but if you're playing the odds, I'd imagine a recruit is prioritizing a higher likelihood of making it to the NFL instead of a higher likelihood of starting in the NFL.


December 11th, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

This surprised me as well.

Another surprise.  Also looking at some of the names for Michigan on the OL...

Ben Braden
Mason Cole
Graham Glasgow
Kyle Kalis
Taylor Lewan
Erik Magnuson
Patrick Omameh
Michael Schofield III

That really jumps out to me as an indictment on OL coaching at Michigan, given the talent was obviously there.   Thankfully, the tide is changing there with new coaching and gives us reason to be optimistic for offensive performance going forward.



December 11th, 2018 at 3:17 PM ^

It's true. Just look at the year over year improvement due to Warinner showing up. I don't care what anyone says, Drevno was a shitty OL coach at Michigan. I don't know if it's because he wasn't up to being anything more than an OL coach and the extra duties made him do a bad job, or if he just sucks in general. 

Michigan has been loaded with talent the last couple of years (outside of QB injuries last year). The talent this year and next is almost more than we can hope to have again in the near future, and will definitely not dramatically improve. 


December 11th, 2018 at 3:37 PM ^

33 vs. 31 --- that essentially even.  2 of Penn State's 33 are placekickers (Robbie Gould and amazingly enough given his early college struggles, Sam Ficken).

I don't see any scenarios going forward where all of U-M, OSU and PSU won't draw high-level talent to their program (that has a strong chance to play in the NFL downstream). 

The order may switch, but these 3 programs should nearly always lead the list among B1G schools.


December 11th, 2018 at 2:37 PM ^

It would be a little more relevant to show players in the league the last 4 years, because obviously Harbaugh is not responsible for the famine of NFL guys about 5-9 years ago.


December 11th, 2018 at 3:37 PM ^

I don't disagree.  It's certainly more relevant to the coaching staff.  But, part of it is the school's track record also.  Even the first few years of a new coaching staff we're talking aboutthe predecessor's players.

Looking at the overall track record may also give some context for trying to build a championship team. 

For instance, Nick Saban had rebuilding to do just like Harbaugh.   He had success, put guys in the league, and now recruiting has snowballed into a monster.

Urban Meyer didn't have to do that.   I think it's fair to consider that to compete with OSU, the talent gap has to be closed and a track record established.  That, unfortunately, takes time. 

Having recruits see more All-American talent leaving early for first and second round selections may ultimately be a very good thing for Michigan.



December 11th, 2018 at 2:41 PM ^

i know that high school recruits won't see it this way, but i look at those numbers as a sobering reminder of how few college players actually make it to the NFL


December 11th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

Surprised the MSU number is that low given the success they've had the past 10 years under Dantonio.  But I guess the past few years haven't been so great, and character issues, steroids, etc. can keep the number down.  


December 11th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

RCMB has a post now about how our recruits get massive bumps once they commit to us, implying that it's only because of our brand and not based in real ability. Could someone please send this to them, so that they can see UM has about 163% more of its "overrated players" end up in the NFL, and this is coming on the heels of them having their "best coach ever" and UM suffering through RichRod and Hoke. So either we get better recruits, or Dantonio isn't the wizard developer of talent they claim. One or the other of those things is true. 


December 11th, 2018 at 4:57 PM ^

Historically, UM has taken lesser "star" recruits in developmental positions (OL, TE, LB) and developed them into NFL talent.  The lack of UM skill players in the NFL is directly related to recruiting.  It is impossible to close the gap of a 3-star DB's speed to a 5-star WR speed, but one can take a 3-star lineman and get him strong and develop his technique into a 5-star college senior.

Also, look at a guy like Devin Bush. He was a low 4-star who was developed into a first team All-American.  Too short, not big enough ... yeah, right.  Just needed to get stronger and developed into a 5-star college player.

Our issue is the high octane offensive teams like Alabama, Clemson, OSU, OU are taking all of the can't-miss speed guys at WR and DB and stock-piling them. The one thing you can't teach in football is elite speed.  Those guys are a rare breed and we need more of them.

5th and Long

December 11th, 2018 at 3:58 PM ^

Others of Note

Iowa - 25

Wisc  - 24

Neb   - 24


UF - 43

LSU - 54

USC - 45

FSU -41

Miami - 45

ND - 32

Clemson - 34


Surprisingly Cal is - 28


Stanford - 25  (looks like 9 were recruited by or played for Harbaugh).


December 11th, 2018 at 4:14 PM ^

Cal had a shit load of dynamic playmakers when I was an undergrad there. They also had incredibly lax admission standards and UNC level coursework. 

There was a time that if you were (1) an elite west-coast skill player who wasn't a take at USC or Oregon, or (2) a NorCal native you probably went to Tedford's Cal team. Who knows if there were bagmen involved, but Cal was getting a head-scratching amount of talented dudes.

Too bad Tedford couldn't simultaneously field an adequate QB and defense. 


December 11th, 2018 at 7:56 PM ^

Jeff Tedford was a good coach but was strung by Cal's stringent admission standards in his later year of his tenure. No way, he would've gotten Marshawn Lynch, DeSean Jackson, etc. if it's based on the recent standards.

Tedford can coach and has pulled Fresno State out of mediocrity to a quality team.


December 11th, 2018 at 4:04 PM ^

This is the single most overrated "thing" that kids use to pick a school.  It doesn't make one iota of difference if you go to OSU, Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, Penn State etc..... on whether or not you make it into the NFL.  The NFL is keenly aware of all the schools in division one and the athletes on those teams that might make a good pick.  The reason OSU and Alabama are at the top is they tend to recruit the most highly rated high school kids, which is a great predictor of making the NFL.  If kids would pick schools based on more important factors, i.e. Academic Prowess, they would be much better of in the future, if they do make the NFL.  Because, as John Thompson put it when asked why a kid should have to go to school before entering the professional leagues he said "I've never known a dumb person who could hold on to their money"


December 11th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but I do think that outside of the true stars or combine specimens —- where you go to school or your coach’s connections do matter.

Name recognition from M or a good word from JH (etc.) might equate to a late round pick or camp invite for a UDFA for players on the margins.

I think of it like a M degree on your resume.  It won’t get you a job, but if it gets you the interview you have an infinitely better shot than those who didn’t.


December 11th, 2018 at 7:01 PM ^

While I agree with “if they make it in the NFL” they are better equipped if well educated, where they go to school can make a difference in whether they ever make it there to begin with.   Elite position coaches make a huge difference in player development and the best schools generally have the best coaches. When the teams are doing due diligence before the draft, I think they are going to put more weight on the words of Harbaugh or Meyer than Lovie Smith.  


December 11th, 2018 at 4:44 PM ^

I'd be interested to see NFL starters/ really good backups for OSU, UM and PSU over the last 4 years. Unfortunately, I don't watch enough NFL to know if a given player is "good".

Anyway, another thing that jumped out at me was the NFL talent that Harbaugh's NFL system has produced/ recruited. I know we have some current players that will be good NFL players, but this list speaks for itself.

WR: Funchess

OL: Cole, Glasgow





December 11th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

Jblaze didn't say it, but I think he's focused solely on offense.     But, your point still stands.  A number of offensive players aren't on the list (Glasgow, Darboh, Chesson, Butt, etc.)

But while Harbaugh and his staff had a role in developing those players, this is really the first year his recruits start graduating (other than early guys like Peppers).    It doesn't seem reasonable to criticize Harbaugh for lack of offensive talent when he got here.

Given the young talent on the team now, it seems pretty likely that more offensive guys are going to be going to the NFL soon and be drafted higher than the recent past.