Week 1 of the NFL featured a combined 61 players from USC and UCLA. That's enough to make an entire 53-man squad (ignoring positional restrictions, of course) and then some. Overall, 3.59% (or about 1 in 28) of all NFL players on Week 1 rosters were either former Trojans or former Bruins.â†µ
USC leads the Pac-12 in NFL representation with 41 players. The most notable former Trojans include quarterback Matt Cassel, linebacker Clay Matthews, strong safety Troy Polamalu and quarterback Mark Sanchez. Former running back Reggie Bush also may be emerging as a big-time NFL player now that he has the starting job with the Miami Dolphins.â†µ
The Seattle Seahwaks lead the way with the most former Trojans on one team. Tight end Dominique Byrd, tight end Anthony McCoy, linebacker Malcolm Smith and wide receiver Steve Smith all play for the Seahawks, a team led by former USC coach Pete Carroll. Coincidence? Probably.â†µ
UCLA has 20 players on current NFL rosters, the fourth-most in the Pac-12 (behind USC, Cal and Oregon). The list of former Bruins is highlighted by Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and tight end Marcedes Lewis. The two played at UCLA during the same time, with Jones-Drew playing as a Bruin from 2004 to 2006 and Lewis playing as a Bruin from 2003 to 2006.â†µ
The Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans are tied for the most Bruins on any one team, standing at three players each (Jones-Drew, Lewis and linebacker Kyle Bosworth for the Jaguars; linebacker Akeem Ayers, defensive end Dave Ball and cornerback Alterraun Verner for the Titans). The two squads, in fact, played each other in Week 1, with Jones-Drew and the Jaguars emerging victorious over Ayers and the Titans.â†µ
The NFL is crawling with former Los Angeles players, apparently. There are a lot of Trojans and Bruins around the league already, and one has to wonder which current college players will join their brethren in the NFL over the next few years.