If you’ve recently run out of ways to brag about old alma mater, Pro Football Reference has just the tool for you: a database of high schools for the 22,000+ NFL players in the site’s database.
It’s not perfect as there are some duplicate schools and typos that need to be cleaned up, but it’s still awesome if you’re a nerd who wants to know where the best players come from (And if there was any doubt, I’ve proved I fall into that category with previous pieces on the recruiting of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and John Cooper at Ohio State for Buckeye Sports Bulletin).
The Tigers have won the most in the series between the schools, but the Bulldogs can brag about more NFL players according to PFR.
McKinley’s list is an illustrious one counting 30 players, including former Ohio State standouts Mike Doss, Kenny Peterson and Jack Dugger as well as Browns Hall of Famer Marion Motley. The high school’s history with the league dates back to the 1920s, and at least one Bulldog has played in the league in every decade of its existence. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, of course, considering the league was born in Canton in 1920.
Massillon comes next with 21 NFL alumni*, including Ohio State All-American Chris Spielman and Notre Dame star Harry Stuhldreher, one of the famed “Four Horsemen.”
While McKinley has sent five players to the league since the turn of the century, Shawn Crable is the only Tiger to play in the NFL since Spielman’s career ended in 1997.
As for the bigger cities, Cincinnati leads the way with 148 NFL alumni followed by Cleveland’s 143. Columbus has 92 while Toledo has 67* and Dayton 64* and Akron 63*.
*Further research revealed a Andy Alleman listed as attending, “Akron Washington”, which seems to be an error. I added him to Massillon’s total and removed him from Akron. I also found a player listed as attending “Toledo St. Xavier,” but that appears it should be Louisville St. Xavier, and I removed Centerville and Huber Heights Wayne from the Dayton count.