We Are . . . Still Linebacker U

1 of 2

I have been seeing some tweets from Ohio State fans claiming that Ohio State is the new Linebacker U. Many Ohio State fans, and even some current Ohio State players, have been claiming that Ohio State has 15 of their former players playing the linebacker position in the NFL. So I decided to set the record straight with some good old fashioned research. I researched every NFL team’s roster and depth chart. I looked at every single linebacker that is currently in the NFL, determined where they played college ball, and whether they start for their respective NFL team. The results are set forth below. But, here are some of the highlights.


1. The Penn State Nittany Lions 11[6] – The Nittany Lions are still Linebacker U. Penn State has the highest amount of linebackers on NFL rosters, with a total of 11. Second, and more importantly, Penn State also has the highest amount of linebackers starting for their respected NFL team. Those starters include: Navorro Bowman* (Starting ILB – San Francisco 49ers); Dan Connor* (Starting ILB – Dallas Cowboys); Tamba Hali* (Starting OLB – Kansas City Chiefs); Sean Lee* (Starting ILB – Dallas Cowboys); Paul Posluszny* (Starting MLB – Jacksonville Jaguars); Cameron Wake* (Starting OLB – Miami Dolphins). The non-starter linebackers from Penn State are: Aaron Maybin; Josh Hull; Tim Shaw; Nathan Stupar; and
Bryan Scott, who has moved up to linebacker from his safety position. With the highest amount of linebackers on NFL rosters and the highest amount of starters, Penn State is still the cream of the crop when it comes to producing NFL linebackers.

1. The Miami Hurricanes 11[6] – The Miami Hurricanes come in tied with Penn State for number 1. They too have 11 former players playing linebacker for NFL teams. Moreover, like Penn State, 6 of those are starting for their respective teams. The notables for the Hurricanes are: Jon Beason* (Starting OLB – Carolina Panthers); Ray Lewis* (Starting ILB – Baltimore Ravens); Colin McCarthy* (Starting MLB – Tennessee Titans); Darryl Sharpton* (Starting ILB – Houston Texans); Jonathan Vilma* (Starting MLB – New Orleans Saints); D.J. Williams (Starting OLB – Denver Broncos).

3. The USC Trojans 11[5] – The USC Trojans come in at number 3 with 11 former Trojans playing linebacker for NFL teams and 5 of them starting for their clubs. The Trojan linebackers starting for NFL teams are: Nick Perry* (Starting OLB – Green Bay Packers)’ Keith Rivers* (Starting OLB – New York Giants); Rey Maualuga* (Starting MLB – Cincinnati Bengals); Clay Matthews* (Starting OLB –Green Bay Packers); Brian Cushing* (Starting ILB – Houston Texans).

4. The Alabama Crimson Tide 8[5] – No surprise here. The Alabama crimson tide have produced some very impressive linebackers as of later. Having produced 8 linebackers on current NFL rosters, and 5 starters, the Crimson Tide come in at number 4. Here are the Crimson Tide on NFL rosters: Demeco Ryans* (Starting MLB – Philadelphia Eagles); Jerrell Harris; Donta Hightower* (Starting OLB – New England Patriots); Jarret Johnson* (Starting OLB – San Diego Chargers); Rolando McClain* (Starting MLB – Oakland Raiders); Courtney Upshaw* (Starting OLB –Baltimore Ravens); Alex Watkins; Chavis Williams.

5. The Texas Longhorns 8[3] – The longhorns round out the top 5 producing 8 linebackers on current NFL rosters and 3 starters. Here are the longhorn NFL linebackers: Sam Acho* (Starting OLB – Arizona Cardinals); Emmanuel Acho; Derrick Johnson* (Kansas City Chiefs); Eddie Jones; Sergio Kindle; Roddrick Muckelroy; Keenan Robinson; Brian Orakpo* (Starting OLB – Washington Redskins).

6. The Purdue Boilermakers 6[4] – Somewhat surprising is who comes in at number 6. The Purdue boilermakers come in at number 6 by having 6 former players playing linebacker on NFL rosters, 4 of which are starting in the NFL. The notables are Ryan Kerrigan* (Starting OLB – Washington Redskins); Rob Ninkovich* (Starting OLB – New England Patriots); Shaun Phillips* (Starting OLB – San Diego Chargers); and Anthony Spencer* (Starting OLB – Dallas Cowboys).

7. The Nebraska Cornhuskers 7[3] – Coming in tied at number 7 is the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska has 7 former players on NFL rosters and 3 of them starting for NFL teams. Here, are the notables: Stewart Bradley (Formerly Started with the Eagles); David Lavonte* (Starting OLB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Barrett Ruud* (Starting MLB – Seattle Seahawks); Scott Shanle* (Starting OLB – New Orleans Saints).

7. The Ohio State Buckeyes 7[3] – While the Buckeyes are nowhere near dethroning the Nittany Lions as Linebacker U. They are producing their fair share of NFL linebackers. They, like Nebraska, have produced 7 NFL linebackers and 3 starters. Here is the Ohio State Linebackers currently on NFL rosters: Bobby Carpenter, Larry Grant, AJ Hawk* (Starting ILB – Green Bay Packers), James Laurinaitis* (Starting MLB – St. Louis Rams), Brian Rolle*(Starting OLB – Philadelphia Eagles), Austin Spitler, Andrew Sweat.

7. The Georgia Bulldogs 7[3] – The Georgia Bulldogs come in tied at number 7. Here are their NFL players: Rennie Curran; Thomas Davis; Akeem Dent* (Starting MLB – Atlanta Falcons);
Dannel Ellerbe; Darryl Gamble; Justin Houston* (Starting OLB – Kansas City Chiefs);Will Witherspoon* (Starting OLB – Tennessee Titans).

9. The Boston College Eagles 6[3] – The Boston College Eagles slip into the top 10 producing 6 NFL linebackers, 3 of which are starting for their respective teams. The BC linebackers in the NFL are: Alex Albright; Jo-Lonn Dunbar* (Starting OLB – St. Louis Rams); Rob Francois; Mark Herzlich; Mathias Kiwanuka* (Starting OLB – New York Giants); Luke Kuechly* (Starting MLB – Carolina Panthers);

9. The California Golden Bears 6[3] – The Cal Bears are tied with Boston College at number 9, producing 6 linebackers on NFL rosters and 3 starters. The notable Cal NFL linebackers are: Desmond Bishop* (Starting ILB – Green Bay Packers); Scott Fujita* (Starting OLB – Cleveland Browns); Mychal Kendricks* (Starting OLB – Philadelphia Eagles).

10. The Iowa Hawkeyes 6[2] – Another Big Ten team rounds out the top 10 with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The notables for the Hawkeyes are: Pat Angerer* (Starting ILB – Indianapolis Colts); Chad Greenway* (Starting OLB – Minnesota Vikings).

10. The Auburn Tigers 6[2] – The Auburn Tigers are tied at number 10 with the following linebackers in the NFL. Josh Bynes; Antonio Coleman; Karlos Dansby* (Starting ILB – Miami Dolphins); Will Herring; Quentin Groves; Takeo Spikes* (Starting ILB – San Diego Chargers).

10. The Florida State Seminoles 7[1] – Tied for number 10 is the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminole NFL linebackers are: Mister Alexander; Nigel Bradham; Geno Hayes; Brandon Hicks; Lawrence Timmons* (Starting ILB – Pittsburgh Steelers); Dekoda Watson; .Markus White.


1. The Big Ten 50[25] – The Big Ten has produced the most starting NFL linebackers and the second most total linebackers. As Penn State is Linebacker U, the Big Ten is the preeminent Linebacker Conference.

2. The ACC 55[20] – The ACC has produced the most NFL linebackers, but have produced 5 less starters than the Big Ten. This includes prospective members Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

3. The SEC 46[20] – The SEC comes in closely behind the Big Ten with 46 former linebackers on NFL rosters and 20 of those starting in the NFL. However, these numbers reflect all 14 SEC teams, including prospective members Texas A&M and Missouri.

4. The Pac-12 25[10] – The Pac-12 produced 25 linebackers in the NFL and 10 starters.

5. The Big 12 27[5] – The Big 12 has only produced 27 NFL linebackers and only 5 starters. This figure includes TCU and West Virginia.

6. The Big East (Including Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist, and Temple) 18[2] – The newly reconstructed Big East Conference comes in last of the automatic qualifying conferences with 18 NFL linebackers and a measly 2 starting in the NFL.