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College programs with the most alums on NFL Week 1 rosters

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With Week 1 in the books, the 2015 NFL season -- the 96th in the history of the league -- is under way. For rookies, the long journey from 2015 NFL Draft hopeful in January to the NFL Scouting Combine in February to the National Football League Player Selection Meeting in Chicago in late April to training camps in August finally hit its zenith in September with news of earning a roster spot.


» The Brandt Report: Week 1 rookie grades


A good number of fresh faces hit the field during the NFL's opening weekend of play, many adding to an already impressive list of alums on NFL rosters for some colleges. Here are the top 10 colleges with the most alums on Week 1 rosters:

Pepsi Rookie of the Week nominees:

1. LSU


Total NFL players: 40
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Donnie Jones, P, Philadelphia Eagles (12 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Kwon Alexander, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (selected in Round 4)

The skinny: LSU stakes claim as "DB U", and for good reason. Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne and Eric Reid are among the most notable former Tigers current roaming defensive backfields in the NFL. Second-year wide receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry have already made their marks on the NFL, while second-year running back Jeremy Hill had more than 1,000 yards rushing as a rookie. With those three talents, plus Zach Mettenberger at quarterback, it's a marvel LSU didn't have a more prolific offensive attack in 2013. LSU also ranked No. 1 in 2014 with 38 players.

2. Miami (Fla.)


Total NFL players: 37
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts (13 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Ereck Flowers, OL, New York Giants (selected in Round 1)

The skinny: "The U" is notorious for churning out offensive skill position talent. As rookies Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett look to carry on that tradition, Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, Lamar Miller and Travis Benjamin have established themselves as bona fide playmakers. While LSU stakes claim to being "DB U," a strong case could be made that the real "DB U" is "The U." "Hard Knocks" MVP Vince Wilfork has been one of the league's top defensive linemen since entering the NFL in 2004. The Packers are hoping undrafted rookie LaDarius Gunter can develop like Sam Shields has since going undrafted in 2010.

3. USC


Total NFL players: 35
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals (13 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Leonard Williams, DL, New York Jets (selected in Round 1)

The skinny: After not having a first-round NFL draft selection since 2012, USC had two in 2015: Defensive tackle Leonard Williams to the New York Jets and wide receiver Nelson Agholor to the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that scholarship restrictions on the program have been lifted and it appears the Trojans are returning to national prominence, expect USC to produce first-round talent on an annual basis once again and vault further up lists such as these moving forward.


» Debate: Who is biggest challenger to Ohio State repeat?


4 (tie). Alabama


Total NFL players: 34
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: (tie) Roman Harper, S, Carolina Panthers; Evan Mathis, G, Denver Broncos; DeMeco Ryans, LB, Philadelphia Eagles (10 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders (selected in Round 1)

The skinny: Alabama has produced a tremendous list of all-time NFL greats. That tradition of producing high-level talent has picked up recently since the arrival of coach Nick Saban. Alabama has produced 10 first-round NFL draft picks in the past four years, with a high of four first-rounders in 2012. Among those first-rounders is one of the game's best wide receivers -- the Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones -- and a defensive tackle who just got a $100 million contract extension -- the Buffalo Bills' Marcell Dareus.

Check out the top 10 players from Georgia to play in the NFL.

4 (tie). Georgia


Total NFL players: 34
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: (tie) Chris Clemons, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars; Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (12 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams (selected in Round 1)

The skinny: The NFL's sack leader in 2014, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, was a third-round pick in 2011. That same year, wide receiver A.J. Green went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round. Green has posted 1,000-plus yards receiving in each of his four NFL seasons. Once Gurley gets to hit the field, he'll look to build on what is an impressive tradition of Bulldogs backs in the NFL, a list that includes Terrell Davis, Garrison Hearst, Rodney Hampton, Herschel Walker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi. Like Trippi, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was a No. 1 overall draft pick.

6 (tie). Florida


Total NFL players: 31
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Reggie Nelson, S, Cincinnati Bengals (nine seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins (selected in Round 3)

The skinny: Despite a recent run of mediocrity on the field, the Gators have produced four first-round picks in the last three NFL drafts: Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd in 2013, Dominique Easley in 2014 and Dante Fowler, Jr., in 2015. Unfortunately, the start of Fowler's NFL career was put on hold after suffering an ACL tear in his first practice as a pro.

Check out the top 10 players from Florida State to play in the NFL.

6 (tie). Florida State


Total NFL players: 31
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Sebastian Janikowski, K, Oakland Raiders (16 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (selected in Round 1)

The skinny: Winston's NFL career didn't get off to the best of starts, as the Buccaneers were dump trucked by a Tennessee Titans team led by the player selected right after Winston, Marcus Mariota, who had a debut for the ages. Winston was the third FSU QB selected in the first round in the past five years, and the track record isn't promising -- Christian Ponder didn't pan out with the Minnesota Vikings and EJ Manuel is relegated to backup duty with the Buffalo Bills.

8. Oklahoma


Total NFL players: 30
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Chris Chester, G, Atlanta Falcons (10 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Jordan Phillips, DT, Miami Dolphins (selected in Round 2)

The skinny: Two of the NFL's best running backs were Sooners. Last year's rushing champion, DeMarco Murray, was a third-round pick in 2011. Adrian Peterson, who became the seventh player to rush for 2,000-plus yards in a single season in 2012, was a first-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2007. Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, is getting a fresh start this season with coach Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles.

Check out the top 10 players from Notre Dame to play in the NFL.

9. Notre Dame


Total NFL players: 29
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Justin Tuck, DE, Oakland Raiders (11 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Kyle Brindza, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (undrafted)

The skinny: Notre Dame had only one player selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, and that came in the seventh round. Notre Dame is expected to send more top-level talent to the NFL in the very near future. While the 2015 NFL Draft was a disappointment, Notre Dame did have eight players drafted in 2014. That 2014 draft included Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin, who earned a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie.

10. Clemson


Total NFL players: 28
Longest-tenured NFL veteran: Charlie Whitehurst, QB, Tennessee Titans (10 seasons)
Most promising NFL rookie: Vic Beasley, LB, Atlanta Falcons (selected in Round 1)

The skinny: While Houston Texans third-year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins looks like a star in the making, the Buffalo Bills hope the career of second-year receiver Sammy Watkins trends in the same direction. Clemson had two defensive players selected in the first round this year -- Beasley to the Atlanta Falcons and Stephone Anthony to the New Orleans Saints -- and each figure prominently into their respective teams' plans for 2015.

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Fun facts:


» A total of 251 colleges were represented on Kickoff Weekend rosters.

» If you go by conference, the SEC has the most NFL players with 309. The ACC is next with 239 players, followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 (221 apiece), Big 12 (134) and AAC (96). This is based on a college's current conference affiliation. For example, all players who went to Utah are classified as Pac-12 and all players who went to Maryland and Rutgers are classified as Big Ten (etc). It should come as no surprise to anybody who follows college football and how it relates to the NFL draft that the SEC has the most players.

» When breaking down the rosters by draft round, the first round has 261 players, second round with 204, third round with 201, fourth round with 169, fifth round with 139, sixth round with 124 and seventh round with 111. There are 486 players who went undrafted currently in the NFL. The large number of undrafted players currently on NFL rosters underscores how important that period immediately following the conclusion of the draft is for teams.

» The non-Power 5 conference school (plus Notre Dame) with the most players currently in the NFL? This one might surprise you. It's not Boise State, Fresno State, Central Florida, or any of the powerhouses of the MAC. It's Connecticut. UConn had 17 players players on 53-man Week 1 NFL rosters. That's impressive stuff for a program that hasn't won more than five games in a season since 2010 -- including a dismal 2-10 campaign in 2014. Coming out of that two-win season, UConn produced a first-round draft pick in 2015, cornerback Byron Jones. In the past three drafts, UConn had nine players drafted. That's more than high-profile traditional powers such as Texas (5), Auburn (7), Michigan (7), Tennessee (7) and Miami (8).

» A school that hasn't fielded a football team since 1974 has a player currently playing in the NFL. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which shut down its football program in 1975, boasts Kansas City Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris. Harris played basketball and club football at UW-Milwaukee.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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