High-Profile Small-School Stars in the NFL Today

They may not come from big-time schools in major NCAA conferences, but their NFL contributions cannot go unnoticed. Productive players from small schools are proof-positive of the old adage, "If you can play, the NFL will find you."

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver-kick returner Jacoby Jones, who was drafted in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans, is a good example. The Lane College product led the NFL with three total kickoff-return touchdowns in 2012 and was named to his first Pro Bowl.

"I was a late bloomer," says Jones, who registered a 108-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII, the longest KR-TD in NFL postseason history. "I had no scholarships out of high school. I was always the guy who was overlooked. I walked on at Lane, and I just took off. I was determined."

Here's some of the most productive and high-profile small-school stars in the NFL today:

Player, Team College Career Highlight
Source: NFL
DE Jared Allen, VikingsIdaho StateFive-time All-Star; has six consecutive 10-sack seasons
WR Miles Austin, CowboysMonmouthTwo-time All-Star; had 1,000 receiving yards in 2009 and 2010
WR Victor Cruz, New York GiantsMassachusettsSet Giants season record with 1,536 receiving yards in 2011
WR Marques Colston, SaintsHofstraOnly Saint to record six career 1,000-yard seasons
LB Zak DeOssie, New York GiantsBrownTwo-time All-Star as long snapper
G Jahri Evans, SaintsBloomsburgFour-time All-Star; has started all 112 career games
WR Pierre Garcon, WashingtonMount UnionLed team in receiving yards (633) last season
FB Jerome Felton, VikingsFurmanNamed to 2013 Pro Bowl
CB Cortland Finnegan, RamsSamfordNamed to 2009 Pro Bowl; 16 interceptions from 2008-12
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, TitansHarvardPassed for 3,000 yards in each of past three seasons with the Bills
QB Joe Flacco, RavensDelawareSuper Bowl XLVII MVP; has club record 102 career TD passes
LB London Fletcher, WashingtonJohn CarrollPlayed in 240 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL
RB Chris Ivory, New York JetsTiffinRushed for 1,307 yards & eight TDs in 24 games with Saints
WR Vincent Jackson, BucanneersNorthern ColoradoThree-time All-Star; had career-high 1,384 rec. yards last year
WR Jacoby Jones, RavensLaneNamed to 2013 Pro Bowl; had three 105+ yard KR-TDs in 2012
FB John Kuhn, PackersShippensburgNamed to 2012 Pro Bowl
DE Robert Mathis, ColtsAlabama A&MFour-time All-Star; has 91.5 career sacks
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, BroncosTennessee StateNamed to 2010 Pro Bowl; has 16 career INTs in five seasons
QB Tony Romo, CowboysEastern IllinoisThree-time All-Star; has four 4,000-yard seasons
T Michael Roos, TitansEastern WashingtonNamed to 2009 Pro Bowl; has started 127 career games
K Adam Vinatieri, ColtsSouth Dakota StateTwo-time All-Star; has four Super Bowl victories
WR Nate Washington, TitansTiffinLed Titans in receiving yards in each of past two seasons
CB Lardarius Webb, RavensNicholls StateRegistered team-high five interceptions in 2011


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High-Profile Small-School Stars in the NFL Today