Bragging rights over which state, city or high school produces the most football talent has long been a hotbed topic.
The 2021 NFL season began last week and the sheer numbers favored the Sunshine State in all three categories.
According to a press release from the league, Florida had the highest number of players on NFL rosters in Week 1, while Miami was the city with the most and Bradenton’s IMG Academy was the high school with the most.
A total of 19 players from Miami were on NFL rosters in the first week, which was one more than Houston. Northwestern High and Norland High contributed the majority of Miami players, with six and four, respectively.
“It challenged you because everyone was talented,” said Northwestern alumnus Teddy Bridgewater, in the news release, on how playing football in Florida prepared him for the NFL. “Every neighborhood, you go out and play sandlot football, you go play organized football and the talent level is there. In high school you’re going against some of the best athletes in the country. I think that prepared me for where I am today.”
Meanwhile, Bradenton’s private IMG Academy led all Florida high schools with 12 players on Week 1 NFL rosters. That was one more than state power Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
The 12 IMG Academy alums are: Andre Cisco (Jaguars), Grant Delpit (Browns), Robert Hainsey (Bucs), KJ Hamler (Broncos), Tony Jones (Saints), Joshua Kaindoh (Chiefs), Tyler Mabry (Seahawks), Tre’ McKitty (Chargers), Kellen Mond (Vikings), Greg Newsome (Browns), K.J. Osborn (Vikings) and Cesar Ruiz (Saints).
In total, Florida reigned with 192 players on NFL Week 1 rosters. That was three better than second-place Texas and California was third with 168.
However, Florida did not rank tops in NFL players per capita. That honor belonged to Louisiana at one NFL player per 68.496 people. Four states and the District of Columbia ranked ahead of Florida in the category. The Sunshine State produced one NFL player per 112,178 people, which was still nearly 70,000 better than the average.