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Lack of Quality OSU players in the NFL?

nikolajz1's picture
March 18, 2014 at 2:35pm

I was trying to come up with a list of the best Ohio State players at each position in the NFL last night and was having a ton of difficulty. What explains the almost complete lack of All-Pros and Pro Bowlers from Ohio State? Lots of top classes and first round draft picks in the Tressel era but it seems like not too many ended up making it big. Thoughts on why?

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buckeyeEddie27's picture

The last few drafts have been kinda lean on Buckeyes but there are PLENTY of guys out there contributing to their teams in big ways.

Keep Digging.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Also are you looking for "quality guys" like your title says or are you looking for Pro Bowlers and All Pros like you say in your post?

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

+2 HS
jeremytwoface's picture
Apparently, it's not easy to make it in the NFL


And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

+6 HS
BassDropper's picture

To be fair, I do see where the OP is coming from. However, I think there is a superstar in this draft class from Ohio State. I think Shazier is a going to be on the same level as Vonn Miller and Clay Matthews. I also think Hyde will be a very good pro.


+6 HS
cplunk's picture

The NFL is a different game. It really is. It's just that simple. College success just does not correlate to NFL success in the way the casual fan thinks it does. There are some skills that create success in college that are also well suited to creating success in the NFL, but the required NFL skillset is just far more narrow. Many of the greatest college players in history were not good pros.

Who would you say have been the dominant teams during the recent years of the BCS? Alabama and LSU, right? Maybe Florida. The SEC has been dominant. Now take a look at the 2013 pro bowl roster and go through name by name. You'll see that a large number of players come from small schools, schools that aren't particularly good at football, and schools you've never heard.

Dominant Alabama? Only two players- Eddie Lacy, Evan Mathis

Annual champ contender LSU? Only two players. Kyle Williams, Patrick Peterson

Florida? Only one player. Joe Haden

Florida has the same number of players as Coastal Carolina, Central Michigan, Iowa, and Washington, to name a few. 

If you get bored sometime, go through NFL starting rosters. You'll see vast numbers of players from lower level power conference teams, small conferences, and non-D1 schools. If college success really correlated to pro success, you'd expect to see large numbers of players from the "power" schools, but you just don't. Sure, those schools have more players than other schools- (in 2013, Miami- not a great current football school- had 58, along with LSU and USC. Ohio State had 51. Georgia had 50. Nobody else had more than 50. California had 49, btw, while Rutgers had 39 (as many as Texas A&M and South Carolina, only three less than Oregon).

To me it doesn't make sense that people start with the assumption that a good football program in college would produce good NFL players. That assumption is false. A good football program will produce more players with a chance to be good NFL players, but the chance is very, very small. The All Pro team is 1/32nd of the NFL. It is the top 3.1% of players. Three point one percent. That is miniscule!

I am completely unconcerned by the number of NFL all-pros that attended OSU. 

+8 HS
cplunk's picture

A few links:



And, to assuage your fears, here is the all time list of NFL production by school (although it is a few years old). OSU has the third most NFL'ers, and has put more in the Hall of Fame than any school but Notre Dame, USC, Alabama, and Pitt (yes, Pitt).



+1 HS
chirobuck's picture

I don't think the OP is thinking in historical context I'm pretty sure hes referring to the NFL right now and the recent superstars


^ best post ever ^

CowCat's picture

Interesting read. Who wudda thunk that California ranked 5th?

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

chirobuck's picture

you really have to make the distinction between quality players and all pro type players, it is true OSU has not had many superstars in the NFL lately but they have had a good amount of solid guys......I do think that will change though soon, not just starting with this draft class but it just seems the overall talent and athleticism that Urban is bringing in is going up


^ best post ever ^

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I'm good with Tress' legacy and the Buckeyes under him in the NFL. While I agree there may not be any true superstars, a good many of the ones who've made it have turned several years of solid play.

Not going to presume I could ever list them all, but off the top of my head (players Tressel recruited):


AJ Hawk, Donte Whitner, Nick Mangold, Santonio Holmes, Rob Sims, Teddy Ginn, Malcolm Jenkins, James Laurinaitis, Brian Hartline, Alex Boone, Kurt Coleman, Doug Worthington, Cam Heyward, Chimdi Chekwa, Brian Rolle, Big Hank and Terrelle Pryor.

I know there have been quite a few others (Beanie, Simon) that played, were drafted, made practice squads, etc...just tried to list those who are still active.

I always thought while Tress built some fine teams, Cooper seemed to churn out studs (who also seemed to crush me every November/bowl season) to the NFL. I think we'll see some Buckeyes who played under Urban shine in the pros very soon - I agree Shazier and Hyde look poised to do very well on Sundays.




+4 HS
2014nationalchamps's picture

yes, coop did produce/recruit bigger nfl studs. Gallaway, Glenn, George, Pace, etc. Tons of great ones from OSU. Tressel for some reason didn't.

O-H-I-O  for life

stubbzzz's picture

Do you think Coop's players where slightly more athletic then Tressel's for the most part?  Obviously, Tress had a few super athletes, but I mean on average.

BuckeyeDale's picture


Ohio Ohio State's site lists 35, and while I'd agree they're not ALL HOF candidates, there are a lot of solid performers there.  Personally, I'm not a big NoFunLeague fan, so I don't care nor follow that as much.  I do know that all those Buckeyes contributed a lot in Columbus, and that's what I do care about.




BuckeyeinSavannah's picture

Imagine the team that would make.  

Jeremypreemo81's picture

It would probably sound better if it didnt start off saying " Lack of quality"  as some of the posters have said previously Cooper and JT have sent many solid players to the NFL.  Some better than others but nonethelss still solid.  In the late 90's early 2000's OSU was always "reloading" due to the early entries.  The last 2-4 years havent been as great but OSU is still well represented in the League

SweetBabyJames's picture

every year in the nfl there are different break out players...every year is something newer and younger....look at running backs...don't be surprised if carlos hyde doesnt have a 5 year career...he could also have a 10 year career...its a crap shoot...

calvin johnson.tom brady. kaepernick.flacco.matt ryan.chris johnson.wes welker. derelle rivas....who knew all these guys were going to be great nfl players?...no one...its all random...it doesnt matter what college you went to...calvin johnson is going to out jump anyone in the nfl wether he we to USC or the SCLSU mud dogs...

my point is....it doesnt matter what school you go to....being a  great NFL player is based on a variety of things and  NONE of those things is "what college you went to"


and ohio state has more NFL players than 95+ percent of colleges in the NCAA

Seattle Linga's picture

One reason I love NFL football so much is that when you watch them introduce players, there is always a player that has made it to the NFL from a college that we have never heard of, and most of the time it's a head scratcher. Starting at Left Guard is:

Jimmy-Joe Schmidt Lab from Poughkeepsie Technical Institute. 

+1 HS
buckeyes1934's picture

The Coop/Tress argument is actually pretty fascinating. This may sound weird, but it's the truth. Cooper was ahead of his time, and built his OSU teams to be like how SEC teams are now. His teams were always super athletic, but wern't always built to win consistently in the Big 10. That's why he would be exposed every once in a while against teams that could pound them up front. If you watch bowl games today between the Big 10 and SEC, you'll notice that the Big 10 teams can hang with far superior SEC teams because they can slow the game down and run the football (i.e. Iowa this year against LSU). Tress recognized that right away and built his teams to be tougher up front, but not always the fastest up front. Tress has produced many NFL d-linemen, but his biggest success , Will Smith, was Cooper's recruit. Cooper and Tress always produced great skill guys, but the big guys up front is where the two differed.

Knarcisi's picture

Jenkins, Hawk, Laurinitis, Mangold, Hartline, Whitner, Heyward, Boone are all more than solid.

At the end of their careers or recently retired are Pickett, Winfield, Gamble, Clements. 

There are lots more. We don't have a half dozen perennial all pros, but we are represented across rosters with very good players.