The City of Houston leads the way with 24 high school football players in the NFL

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According to the National Football League, playing high school football in the City of Houston can lead to playing on Sundays. On Kickoff Weekend, 24 players on NFL rosters played their high school ball at Houston-area high schools.

Baltimore Ravens backup middle linebacker Otaro Alaka, who played at Cy-Fair High School, said this about the Houston high school football scene, “There’s a lot of competition amongst the 5A and the 6A schools. Everyone from Houston knows that it’s stacked, and you take great pride in it. That Texas high school football in Houston – it’s just a hotbed for talent, and there’s going to continue to be a lot of talent that comes out of there every year.”

Behind Houston is Miami (19 players), followed by Fort Lauderdale, Florida (14), Tampa, Florida (14) and Detroit and New Orleans (12 each).

HOMETOWNS WITH MOST NFL PLAYERS

HometownNFL PlayersHometownNFL Players
Houston24New Orleans12
Miami19Atlanta11
Fort Lauderdale, FL14Philadelphia11
Tampa, FL14St. Louis10
Detroit12  
Statistics from the National Football League

While Houston edged Miami for the most NFL hometowns, Florida continued to lead the league in home states. More NFL players (194) graduated from high schools in Florida than any other state, according to 2020 NFL Kickoff Weekend rosters. Texas (192) finished a close second.

STATES WITH MOST NFL PLAYERS

StateNFL PlayersStateNFL Players
Florida194North Carolina59
Texas192New Jersey57
California170Illinois53
Georgia134Tennessee45
Ohio71Michigan44
Alabama60Virginia44
Pennsylvania60South Carolina39
Louisiana59Maryland39
From the NFL

Fort Lauderdale’s Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, with 11 individuals, again tops the list of high schools with the most NFL players. The school, which also produced Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, has led the nation in players on NFL Kickoff rosters for eight of the past nine seasons (2012, 2014-20). It tied for the lead in 2013.

HIGH SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST NFL PLAYERS

High School, City, StateNumberNFL Players
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School;Ft. Lauderdale, FL11Damon Arnette, LV; Geno Atkins, CIN; Giovani Bernard, CIN; Joey Bosa, LAC; Nick Bosa, SF; Phillip Dorsett, SEA; Bobby Hart, CIN; Lamarcus Joyner, LV; Brandon Linder, JAX; James White, NE; Sam Young, LV
Allen High School; Allen, TX6Bobby Evans, LAR; Jalen Guyton, LAC; Greg Little, CAR; Kyler Murray, ARI; Cedric Ogbuehi, SEA; Jonathan Williams, DET
Deerfield Beach High School; Deefield Beach, FL6Jerry Jeudy, DEN; James Pierre, PIT; Jason Pierre-Paul, TB; Brandon Powell, ATL; Riley Ridley, CHI; Jason Strowbridge, MIA
Cass Technical High School; Detroit, MI5Delano Hill, SEA; Jourdan Lewis, DAL; Michael Onwenu, NE; Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE; Del’Shawn Phillips, BUF
Dematha Catholic High School; Hyattsville, MD5Ja’Whaun Bentley, NE; John Lovett, GB; Anthony McFarland, PIT; Rodney McLeod, PHI; Chase Young, WAS
IMG Academy; Bradenton, FL5Hjalte Froholdt, NE; K.J. Hamler, DEN; K.J. Osborn, MIN; Cesar Ruiz, NO; Tyree St. Louis, LAC
Lakewood High School; St. Petersburg, FL5Dante Fowler, ATL; Shaquill Griffin, SEA; Austin Reiter, KC; Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB; Isaiah Wynn, NE
Long Beach Polytechnic High School;Long Beach, CA5Jayon Brown, TEN; Jurrell Casey, DEN; DeSean Jackson, PHI; Marcedes Lewis, GB; JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
North Shore High School; Houston, TX5Dorance Armstrong, DAL; K’Lavon Chaisson, JAX; Emeke Egbule, LAC; Trey Hopkins, CIN; Jamal Perry, MIA
Stephenson High School; Stone Mountain, GA5Mike Davis, CAR; Bruce Irvin, SEA; Preston Smith, GB; Montez Sweat, WAS; D.J. Wonnum, MIN

Thirteen high schools had four players each on NFL Kickoff Weekend rosters this year:

High School; City, StateNFL PlayersHigh School; City, StateNFL Players
Desoto High School; Desoto, TX4Peachtree Ridge High School; Suwanee, GA4
Glenville High School; Cleveland4Pickerington High School; Pickerington, OH4
Grant High School; Sacramento4Saint Louis High School; Honolulu4
Immokalee High School; Immokalee, FL4Tucker High School; Tucker, GA4
Lawrence Elkins High School; Sugar Land, TX4Westlake High School; Austin, TX4
Norcross High School; Norcross, GA4West Monroe High School; Monroe, LA4
Norland High School; Miami4  

Overall, NFL players hail from high schools in 46 states and the District of Columbia, seven countries – Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Estonia, Germany and the United States – and a U.S. territory (American Samoa). The totals are based on the 1,730 players on Kickoff Weekend rosters.

NFL PLAYERS PER CAPITA:  Georgia, with one NFL player for every 73,952 residents, leads the list of NFL players per capita. Louisiana (one in 78,162) and Alabama (one in 82,409) round out the top three. The national average is one NFL player per 179,399 U.S. residents.

STATES WITH MOST NFL PLAYERS PER CAPITA

StatePopulation *NFL PlayersNFL Players Per Capita
 Georgia9,687,6531341 NFL player per 72,296 people
 Louisiana4,533,372591 NFL player per 76,837 people
 Alabama4,779,736601 NFL player per 79,662 people
 Mississippi2,967,297351 NFL player per 84,780 people
 Florida18,801,3101941 NFL player per 96,914 people
 District of Columbia601,72361 NFL player per 100,287 people
 Delaware897,93481 NFL player per 112,242 people
 South Carolina4,625,364391 NFL player per 118,599 people
 Hawaii1,360,301111 NFL player per 123,664 people
 Texas25,145,5611921 NFL player per 130,966 people
 Utah2,763,885201 NFL player per 138,194 people
 Tennessee6,346,105451 NFL player per 141,025 people
United States308,745,5381,7111 NFL player per 180,447 people

                        *Based on most recent published U.S. Census Data (2010)

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.