The NFL Playoffs kick off on Saturday as four Wild Card round matchups are scheduled for this weekend. We took a look at all 12 playoff teams' active rosters to find out which schools and conferences will be most represented by former student-athletes appearing in the NFL postseason.
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Sixteen schools have at least 10 former players on a playoff roster, led by LSU with 20 former Tigers playing in the postseason. In total, 173 schools are represented on the active rosters of the teams that made the playoffs this season.
|School||Number of former student-athletes in NFL Playoffs|
The SEC leads all conferences with 114 former student-athletes in this season's NFL Playoffs. Next is the Pac-12 (93), ACC, (91), Big Ten (89) and Big 12 (43). Those numbers reflect the current composition of each conference, not a school's conference affiliation when a former student-athlete may have attended. In total, 117 FBS schools are represented on the active rosters in this year's postseason.
The AAC leads the Group of Five schools with 42 former student-athletes from the conference's member institutions, followed by Conference USA (28), MAC (21), Mountain West (19) and Sun Belt (12).
Here's a breakdown of the top three most-represented schools.
Former Tigers appear on the active roster of 10 of the 12 playoff teams. The Buffalo Bills have the most LSU players with four: wide receiver Malachi Dupre, long snapper Reid Ferguson, cornerback Tre'Davious White and defensive tackle Kyle Williams. The first three players listed above are in their rookie or second season in the NFL. White, a rookie, has 53 total tackles, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one defensive touchdown this season.
Notable former LSU student-athletes appearing on playoff rosters include Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games this season, and Los Angeles Rams veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth.
If you're looking for former Trojans in the playoffs, look on the outside. USC has produced a number of receivers and defensive backs who will play in the postseason this winter. Wide receivers Marqise Lee (Jaguars), Nelson Agholor (Eagles), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers) and Robert Woods (Rams), as well as tight end Xavier Grimble (Steelers), could be matched up against their Trojan brethren – defensive backs Adoree' Jackson (Titans), Leon McQuay (Chiefs), Shareece Wright (Bills), Nickell Robey-Coleman (Rams) or Kevon Seymour (Panthers).
A Titans vs. Panthers matchup in the Super Bowl would feature the most former USC players of any possible matchup. Tennessee has three former Trojans (Jackson, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and backup quarterback Matt Cassell) and Carolina has four (Seymour, defensive end Wes Horton, tackle Matt Kalil and center Ryan Kalil).
There's something about Florida State and high-level defensive backs. Two of the eight cornerbacks named to the Pro Bowl this season are former Seminoles: Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Devonta Freeman is running ANGRY pic.twitter.com/TXb5WHRdeW— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 19, 2017
If last season's runners-up, the Atlanta Falcons, are going to make it back to the Super Bowl, you can bet that running back Devonta Freeman, who rushed for 2,255 yards in three seasons at Florida State, will be a difference-maker on offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, have four former Seminoles on their roster: linebacker Nigel Bradham, cornerback Ronald Darby, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan and cornerback Patrick Robinson.