We’ve spent a lot of time over the last week going inside the number of NFL players on rosters the opening week of the season. Today, let’s take a long look at high schools of active NFL players to see where most got their start on the gridiron.

Not surprisingly, we find that the Southeast is still the place where football players are bred, and the Northeast is the least, at least when it comes to HS-to-NFL talent.

  • Which state has the best high school football? Well, based on number of players sent to the NFL, it’s California, with 277 players in the league (based on Opening Week rosters). Florida is No. 2 with 255 players, while Texas is third with 242.
  • No other state has more than two hundred. Georgia is fourth with 125, while Ohio is fifth with 101.
  • The top six schools (California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Louisiana) produced 1,078 of the 2,186 active NFL players, or 49.3 percent. The remaining 44 states produced 1,086.
  • Top six states in NFL players per capita: Louisiana (returning champions), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia. All SEC states.
  • You could probably win a lot of bets by asking people to guess which state produced the sixth-most players, just outside the top five. Though the Northeast isn’t necessarily known for football, it’s New Jersey with 71.
  • More on the lack of talent in the Northeast: New York is the third-most populous state, but is just 18th in the total number of NFL players with 40. It’s also seventh from the bottom in per capita NFL players.
  • Only one state has no NFL players. It’s Vermont.
  • North Dakota, New Mexico and Rhode Island have only one each. That’s as many as each of the countries of Ghana and Estonia have produced, and half as many as Germany and Great Britain.
  • Pennsylvania has a reputation for its high school football, and has produced a fair share of Hall of Fame quarterbacks, from Montana to Marino, but it’s barely in the top 10 with 65 players.
  • The Bayou State, Louisiana, is 25th in population, but sixth in NFL players (78).
  • Massachusetts is the 14th-most populous state, but has only produced 15 NFL players. That’s No. 32 among the states.
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