Marshall University Alumni Active in the NFL

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Marshall University has a long, distinguished history in college football. The school's football program has experienced exhilarating highs, such as winning Division I-AA national championships in 1992 and 1996.

But it has also had to overcome unbelievable tragedy in the 1970 plane crash, which killed most of the team, coaching staff, and a number of other supporters.

After more than a decade of nearly non-stop losing following the plane crash, Marshall Unversity football was rebuilt from the early 1980s into a Division I-AA (current FCS) powerhouse and eventually rejoined I-A (current FBS) in 1997. Over the past 15 years, Marshall has participated in nine bowl games, resulting in seven victories.

During the course of the past three decades, Marshall University--known as the Thundering Herd--has produced not only many great teams, but also a number of players who have gone on to stardom in the NFL.

The following lists take a look at the three best current NFL players who donned the kelly green and white for the Thundering Herd, as well as all Marshall alums expected to start the 2012 season on NFL rosters.

TOP THREE

1) Randy Moss, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Moss was a superstar receiver at Marshall in 1996-97. In just two seasons for the Thundering Herd, he caught 174 passes for 3,529 yards and an amazing 54 touchdowns. He was a major factor in Marshall's 1996 national title, as well as the school's first Mid-American Conference crown in 1997.

Picked by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, Moss has crafted a stellar career in pro football, including 10 1,000-yard receiving seasons and five All-Pro selections. The 35-year-old West Virginia native is looking to revive his career with San Francisco this season after not playing in 2011.

2) Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants: Bradshaw was a seventh-round pick of the Giants in 2007 after a standout three years for the Thundering Herd, including 1,523 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns in 2006.

Heading into his sixth season in the Big Apple, Bradshaw has played for two Super Bowl championship teams, while rushing for 3,217 yards on a superb 4.6 yards per carry. Look for Bradshaw to get more carries this season, with former teammate Brandon Jacobs now a running back for San Francisco.

3) Byron Leftwich, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Leftwich put together an All-American career as Marshall's signal caller from 2000-02 by throwing for nearly 12,000 yards and 89 touchdowns. He led the team to two Mid-American Conference titles and three consecutive bowl victories.

After being picked in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Leftwich had some early success with the team, and has amassed over 10,000 passing yards in his career. However, the oft-injured Leftwich bounced around the league with various teams from 2007, but now appears to have found a home in Pittsburgh as the backup to Ben Roethlisberger.

THE REST

Daniel Baldridge, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars

Omar Brown, S, Baltimore Ravens

Vinny Curry, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

Mario Harvey, LB, Indianapolis Colts

Delvin Johnson, DT, Washington Redskins

Johnny Jones, DT, Green Bay Packers

Doug Legursky, C-G, Pittsburgh Steelers

Albert McClellan, DE, Baltimore Ravens

Lee Smith, TE, Buffalo Bills

C.J. Spillman, S, San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Hattman is a Marshall University graduate and continues to be a big supporter of Thundering Herd football.

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