September 26, 2010
The two biggest states in America are also the two biggest producers of NFL talent. A recent study on which states have the most former high school football players in the NFL revealed, unsurprisingly, that California and Texas are the best producers of talent, with Florida close behind.
The most impressive showing is by Louisiana, which ranked 25th in total population but has the sixth-most high school players in the NFL. The Pelican State has the highest per-capita rate of NFL players (1 in 65,720) followed by Mississippi (1 in 76,883) and Hawaii (1 in 80,769). By comparison, California's rate is 1 in 175,163.
There's an obvious correlation between high total populations and high NFL player totals. Seven of the top 10 biggest states also are in the top 10 of the list above. Somewhat surprisingly, New York is the biggest exception. The third-most populous state isn't represented well in the NFL, failing to appear in the top 15 of talent production. A lot of that is due to the fact that 40 percent of residents live in New York City, an area not known to produce football stars. But it's a big state and it's surprising that there isn't enough high school talent to compete with, say, New Jersey.
Woodland Hills High School in Pittsburgh has six alums in the NFL, tops in the league. The school has produced a diverse spread of players too. They range from speedy receiver (Steve Breaston(notes)) to bruising fullback (Lousaka Polite(notes)) to finesse, "Dancing With The Stars" veterans (Jason Taylor(notes)) and everything in between (Ryan Mundy(notes), S; Rob Gonkowski, TE; Shawntae Spencer(notes), CB).
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