Building NFL Rosters: Florida, California, Texas lead way
Over the last two weeks, Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney have broken down each NFL roster by star ranking. Today, we finish with a look at the top three states that have produced the most NFL players: Florida, California and Texas.
RELATED: The states that produce the least, most NFL players
ROSTER BREAKDOWNS: AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West | NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
1. FLORIDA (192 players)
Overview: The state of Florida has produced more current NFL players than any other state and that’s not particularly surprising since the talent is so rich there and basically every major program in college football recruits the state. That’s one reason that it’s so surprising that Florida State and Miami are struggling so much, but that could be because Alabama, Ohio State and everybody else is picking away at elite players there.
The list is long and impressive: Sony Michel, Byron Cowart, Leonard Williams, Devin Bush, Joey Bosa, Amari Cooper, Nelson Agholor, Khalil Mack, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Ridley and Nick Bosa are just some of the guys from the state who left to play their college ball.
Many also stayed and had big impacts at Florida, Florida State and Miami but too many have left and it’s hurt the level of play, especially in Tallahassee and Coral Gables.
Farrell’s take: I don’t care what anyone says, Florida is still the best state for talent in the country. It used to be that California, because it is so much bigger, always had more players in the NFL, so this number for Florida is especially impressive. From five-stars like Nick Bosa and Ridley to two-stars like Khalil Mack, the list of NFL standouts is beyond impressive. Alabama and Clemson have won national titles because of some key players from Florida and of course the same can be said for Ohio State. Recruiting Florida is key for every major program.
2. CALIFORNIA (176)
Overview: Some of the biggest names on offense and some up-and-coming stars on that side of the ball played their high school football in California and should continue to be household names for years.
Former four-star Jared Goff led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl last season. Former five-star JuJu Smith-Schuster is the top receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers even though he was arguably a better safety in high school than receiver. Another former five-star, Joe Mixon, should continue to have a big career in Cincinnati.
The entire AFC East is made of former California quarterbacks in Tom Brady (New England), Josh Allen (Buffalo), Josh Rosen (Miami) and Sam Darnold (NY Jets). Let’s also not forget Aaron Rodgers is from California and has done pretty nicely for himself in the NFL as well.
It feels like there is an abundance of offensive skill players in the league from California but also a decent amount of defensive stars as well, whether it’s former five-stars Shaq Thompson in Carolina or Adoree’ Jackson in Tennessee among many others.
Farrell’s take: California used to be the king, but that’s no longer the case and Texas isn’t far behind. That doesn’t mean that California is down in talent and it still continues to churn out the best NFL quarterbacks. USC was a juggernaut because of the talent Pete Carroll was able to recruit in the state and Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and others spot recruited the state to add components to title teams. There have been many five-star busts, especially at wide receiver, but a lot of that could be poor coaching at USC and UCLA.
3. TEXAS (164)
Overview: The first thing that stands out when reviewing this expansive list is the impressive mix of veterans and young players throughout the league from Texas, but more than anything it’s the number of high-level quarterbacks who have come from that state.
Start with Drew Brees and then go to Patrick Mahomes, Matthew Stafford, Baker Mayfield, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Kyler Murray and many more. California is considered the state for quarterbacks, but Texas is certainly leaving its mark maybe not in quantity but surely in players who have found huge success in college and then the NFL.
The state is filled with elite players across the board, but some others that stand out for the NFL include rookie Ed Oliver, linebacker Von Miller, defensive back Jamal Adams, defensive back Aqib Talib, wide receiver Mike Evans, defensive lineman Mario Edwards, running back Adrian Peterson and a whole host of others.
Farrell’s take: There was a lull of talent at the end of the Mack Brown era at Texas, but before that and since then, the talent is back. Ohio State utilized Texas talent to help win a national title while Alabama stole A’Shawn Robinson. Peterson remains the best Texas player I’ve ever seen and now Oklahoma uses the state to make playoff push after playoff push. The Longhorns are on their way back as well because of the talent.