As summer winds down, 32 training camps across the National Football League (NFL) are underway preparing for another rigorous season in search of a Super Bowl victory.
But from where do all these players hail? BeenVerified analyzed the hometowns and high schools that have produced more than 26,000 NFL players since 1920. We examined specific information based on cities, states, high schools and key positions to determine our findings.
The top states producing professional football players are Texas, California and Florida. However, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama send more athletes to the NFL when factored by population.
Historically, the hometown that has produced the most players is the largest city in the Midwest: Chicago. Unless they are quarterbacks or wide receivers, then Los Angeles reigns supreme. Meanwhile, no high school has produced more NFL players than Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia.
For this study, we examined the hometowns and graduating high schools of nearly 27,000 players since 1920, as well as the current summer roster of more than 2,800 active players before the August roster cuts (see methodology for more details).
Here are the top hometowns and high schools that have produced NFL players, as well as the top NFL hometowns and high schools in each state.
Top NFL hometowns map
Top hometowns for 2022 NFL players: key takeaways
There are 98 hometowns that produced at least five current NFL players. Houston and Miami are the top hometowns, producing 38 athletes apiece, followed by Atlanta (34 players). Fort Lauderdale—the smallest city in the top five with a population of 185,000—has 29 native sons playing this year, followed by Detroit and Philadephia (28 each).
Nationwide, Texas has the most hometowns (13) of the 98 that have produced at least five current NFL players, followed by California and Florida (11 each). Georgia has nine hometowns with five or more current players despite a population of only 10.5 million—half the size of Florida and about a quarter the size of California.
It’s worth noting the only city outside the United States that has produced more than five players is Lagos, Nigeria, which has six current players in the NFL.
Texas, California and Florida hometowns produced the most current NFL players. With 298 current players, Texas ranks ahead of both California (288) and Florida (271). Ranking fourth is Georgia with 213 players, followed by Ohio (117) and Louisiana (110). All other states gave birth to fewer than 100 players.
The New England region scores low for NFL players’ birthplace. The region may be home to the New England Patriots—who, with six Super Bowl titles, are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most from any team—but produced relatively few current players. Four states ranking bottom are Maine (2), New Hampshire (2), Rhode Island and Vermont (1 each). Massachusetts, where the Patriots are based, ranks 26th with 23 current NFL players, and Connecticut ranks 28th with 17 players.
Top hometowns for NFL players since 1920: key takeaways
- Chicago and Los Angeles are the top historic hometowns for NFL players. Since 1920, there have been 491 future NFL players born in Chicago, followed by Los Angeles with 461. Houston is a distant third with 341 players, followed by Miami (310) and Detroit (271). All told, 28 US cities are hometowns to at least 100 NFL players apiece.
- Top states for NFL hometowns are Texas and California. Historically, far more NFL players are from Texas (2,614) and California (2,602) than any other state. The next highest states have significantly fewer players: Florida (1,690), Ohio (1,559), Pennsylvania (1,502), Illinois (1,162) and Georgia (1,020). No other state has more than 1,000. The state that ranks last is Vermont, with 10 NFL players all-time.
- Per capita, Washington, D.C., and southern states produce the most NFL players. In terms of the ratio of players by population, the District of Columbia ranked highest with 31.5 NFL athletes per 100,000 people. Ranking second is Mississippi (28.06 players), followed by Louisiana (27.61), Alabama (21.54), Florida (19), Texas (18.95) and Georgia (18.26).
The bottom three states per capita are located in the New England region: Vermont has produced 2.1 NFL players per 100,000 population, followed by Maine (2.65) and New Hampshire (2.86).
Top NFL hometowns for 2022 players*
*Hometowns with five or more current players
|Rank||Hometown||No. of players|
|3||Fort Lauderdale, FL||29|
|5||New Orleans, LA||26|
|9||Baton Rouge, LA||17|
|9||San Diego, CA||17|
|10||Los Angeles, CA||16|
|11||St. Louis, MO||15|
|12||Long Beach, CA||14|
|13||Las Vegas, NV||13|
|16||Fort Worth, TX||10|
|16||San Antonio, TX||10|
|17||St. Petersburg, FL||9|
|18||Kansas City, MO||8|
|18||Salt Lake City, UT||8|
|19||Fort Myers, FL||7|
|19||Rock Hill, SC||7|
|20||Little Rock, AR||6|
|20||San Jose, CA||6|
|21||Green Bay, WI||5|
|21||Pembroke Pines, FL||5|
|21||Powder Springs, GA||5|
|21||West Palm Beach, FL||5|
Top hometown states for 2022 NFL players
|Rank||Hometown state/district||No. of players|
|32||District of Columbia||12|
Top NFL player hometowns since 1920
|Rank||Hometown||No. of players|
|2||Los Angeles, CA||461|
|7||New Orleans, LA||235|
|12||St. Louis, MO||186|
|14||New York, NY||169|
|15||San Diego, CA||150|
|20||San Francisco, CA||125|
|22||Baton Rouge, LA||104|
|23||San Antonio, TX||103|
|24||Fort Worth, TX||101|
Top NFL hometown states by population since 1920
Here we rank the top NFL hometown states per 100,000 population.
|Rank||Hometown state or region||No. of players||Players Per 100K Population|
|1||District of Columbia||201||31.50|
Top NFL hometown in each state*
*Ranked by % of state NFL players who came from top hometown
Each state within the United States has a city that has born more NFL athletes than any other city within its state borders. We delved in to see which cities had the highest concentration of NFL athletes within their respective states.
|State||Top hometown||No. of players born in top city||No. of players born in state||% of state’s players born in top hometown|
|District of Columbia||Washington||200||201||99.50%|
|Utah||Salt Lake City||55||150||36.67%|
|New York||New York||169||894||18.90%|
|South Dakota||Sioux Falls||8||59||13.56%|
Top NFL high schools map
While a significant percentage of all-time NFL talent tends to hail from Texas, Florida and California, the high schools that have seen the most alumni matriculate to the NFL are based all over the United States. States like Ohio, Maryland, Louisiana, Kentucky and Virginia represent schools that rank in the top 10 of players who made the NFL.
“Our analysis shows that Midwest schools were top producers of future NFLers in the 1920s through 1950s, but by the 1960s the center of gravity moved to high schools in the Sunbelt states,” said Julianne Ohlander, a data analyst with BeenVerified.
“We also observe a recent trend toward private schools producing more NFL players,” she added. “While only seven of the top 36 all-time NFL high schools were private schools, the top schools for the 2022 NFL roster has 14 private schools.”
Top high schools for 2022 NFL players
IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, graduated the most current NFL players. IMG Academy has 19 alumni among current NFL players, followed by two other Florida schools: St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale has 16 alumni and American Heritage-Plantation in Plantation has 12 players.
Of the 24 high schools that have five or more players among the current NFL roster, 14 are private schools.
Texas, Florida and California high schools dominate. Of the 24 schools that produced at least five current NFL players, five schools are located in Texas, while four are based in both Florida and California. Of the NFL players listed as active in July, 336 came from Texas high schools followed by Florida (293), California (285), Georgia (232), Ohio (117) and Louisiana (103).
Top high schools since 1920
For top all-time high schools, we only included players who have played one regular season game. While many players attended more than one high school, we counted only the high school where the player graduated.
- The top all-time NFL high school is Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. The school tops this leaderboard, having graduated 63 NFL players. Long Beach Polytechnic in Long Beach, California, is second (59), followed by St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale (42), Miami Northwestern (36) and Susan Miller Dorsey in Los Angeles (35).
Of the top 36 high schools to produce the most NFL players all time, 29 are public schools while seven are private institutions.
- High schools in California have graduated the most NFL players. Californian high schools sent 3,116 players to the NFL, which is over 15% more than second place Texas (2,709). Florida high schools ranked third with 1,833 NFL players, followed by Ohio (1,563), Pennsylvania (1,446), Illinois (1,064) and Georgia (1,052).
- Texas has the most alma maters of future NFL players. There are 822 different high schools in Texas that have produced NFL players, followed by California (771 high schools), Pennsylvania (502) and Ohio (462).
Top high schools for 2022 NFL players*
*High schools that graduated five or more current players
|Rank||Graduating high school||City and state||No. of players|
|1||IMG Academy||Bradenton, Fla.||19|
|2||St. Thomas Aquinas||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||16|
|3||American Heritage-Plantation||Plantation, Fla.||12|
|5||Junipero Serra||San Mateo, Calif.||8|
|5||Mater Dei||Santa Ana, Calif.||8|
|5||Miami Northwestern Senior||Miami||8|
|6||Bishop Gorman||Las Vegas||7|
|6||Long Beach Polytechnic||Long Beach, Calif.||7|
|7||DeMatha Catholic||Hyattsville, Md.||6|
|7||Greater Atlanta Christian School||Norcross, Ga.||6|
|7||Westlake Academy||Westlake, Texas||6|
|8||Archbishop Wood||Warminster, Pa.||5|
|8||Central Catholic||Portland, Ore.||5|
|8||Fork Union Military Academy||Fork Union, Va.||5|
|8||Lake Travis||Travis County, Texas||5|
|8||Our Lady of Good Counsel||Olney, Md.||5|
|8||St. Augustine||New Orleans||5|
|8||Stephenson||Stone Mountain, Ga.||5|
Top states by high schools for 2022 NFL players
|Rank||High school state||No. of players|
|33||District of Columbia||12|
Top all-time NFL high schools*
*Schools that have graduated 20 or more NFL players
|Rank||High school||City and state||No. of players|
|1||Fork Union Military Academy||Fork Union, Va.||63|
|2||Long Beach Polytechnic||Long Beach, Calif.||59|
|3||St. Thomas Aquinas||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||42|
|4||Miami Northwestern Senior||Miami||36|
|5||Susan Miller Dorsey Senior||Los Angeles||35|
|6||St. Augustine||New Orleans, LA||33|
|7||DeMatha Catholic||Hyattsville, Md.||31|
|8||Hargrave Military Academy||Chatham, Va.||30|
|9||Louisville Male||Louisville, Ky.||28|
|11||Evanston Township||Evanston, Ill.||25|
|12||Junipero Serra||Gardena, Calif.||24|
|12||William M. Raines||Jacksonville, Fla.||24|
|13||Miami Carol City Senior||Miami Gardens, Fla.||23|
|14||Dillard||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||22|
|14||Glades Central||Belle Glade, Fla.||22|
|14||South Oak Cliff||Dallas||22|
|15||The Kiski School||Saltsburg, Pa.||21|
|15||Warren G. Harding||Warren, Ohio||21|
|16||Booker T. Washington||Tulsa, Okla.||20|
|16||Miami Southridge Senior||Miami||20|
|16||Santa Monica||Santa Monica, Calif.||20|
Top NFL-producing states by high schools
Ranked by number of players
|Rank||State||No. of high schools (unique)||No. of players|
|37||District of Columbia||27||123|
Top high school in each state*
*Ranked by % of NFL players each state has produced since 1920.
Here are the top high schools in each state that have alumni who joined the NFL, ranked by the total percentage of players from the state who turned pro.
|State||Top high school, City||No. of players||Percent of NFL players from top high school|
|Vermont||Vermont Academy, Saxtons River||2||33.3%|
|New Hampshire||Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter||11||24.4%|
|North Dakota||Central, Fargo||5||19.2%|
|Alaska||Lathrop, Fairbanks Service, Anchorage||2 each||18.2%|
|New Mexico||Carlsbad, Carlsbad||7||16.3%|
|Hawaii||Saint Louis, Honolulu||18||14.4%|
|Maine||Hebron Academy, Hebron||3||13.0%|
|District of Columbia||H.D. Woodson, Washington, DC||14||11.4%|
|Rhode Island||Bishop Hendricken, Warwick Central, Providence||4 each||10.5%|
|Wyoming||Central, Cheyenne, WY East, Cheyenne Greybull, Greybull||3 each||10.3%|
|Montana||Bozeman, Bozeman Butte, Butte Great Falls, Great Falls||7 each||10.1%|
|Virginia||Fork Union Military Academy, Fork Union||63||10.0%|
|Nevada||Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas||8||9.6%|
|Maryland||DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville||31||9.0%|
|South Dakota||Central, Aberdeen Washington, Sioux Falls||4 each||7.8%|
|Arkansas||Little Rock Central, Little Rock||18||6.6%|
|West Virginia||Charleston, Charleston||11||6.5%|
|Oregon||Jefferson, Portland Jesuit, Beaverton||11 each||5.2%|
|Utah||Bingham, South Jordan Highland, Salt Lake City Logan, Logan||9 each||5.2%|
|Arizona||South Mountain, Phoenix||13||4.9%|
|Connecticut||Milford Academy, Milford Stamford, Stamford||10 each||4.6%|
|Oklahoma||Booker T. Washington, Tulsa||20||4.5%|
|Wisconsin||Green Bay West, Green Bay||17||3.9%|
|Missouri||Hazelwood East, St. Louis||15||3.9%|
|Louisiana||St. Augustine, New Orleans||33||3.7%|
|South Carolina||Orangeburg-Wilkinson, Orangeburg||13||3.1%|
|Washington||Gonzaga Prep, Spokane||12||3.0%|
|Mississippi||Moss Point, Moss Point||18||3.0%|
|Michigan||Cass Tech, Detroit||19||2.5%|
|Florida||St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale||42||2.3%|
|California||Long Beach Polytechnic, Long Beach||59||1.9%|
|North Carolina||E.E. Smith, Fayetteville T.W. Andrews, High Point||11 each||1.8%|
|New York||Erasmus Hall, Brooklyn||13||1.7%|
|New Jersey||Bergen Catholic, Oradell Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey Passaic, Passaic||11 each||1.5%|
|Pennsylvania||Kiski School, Saltsburg||21||1.5%|
|Texas||Ball, Galveston Longview, Longview||25 each||0.9%|
Top hometowns by position: key takeaways
- Top hometown for quarterbacks is Los Angeles. The southern California city has produced 22 NFL quarterbacks since 1920, followed by Pittsburgh and Dallas (15 each), Chicago (13) and San Antonio (12). Of the 28 cities that produced at least five NFL quarterbacks, five cities are in California and Texas, although California edges Texas 45-44. Ohio has three cities, totaling 23 signal callers.
- Los Angeles is also the top hometown for wide receivers. A whopping 70 NFL wide receivers hailed from Los Angeles, followed by Miami (54), Houston (50), New Orleans (37) and Dallas (35). Of the 41 cities that produced at least 10 wide receivers, eight are in Florida, and four in California, Texas and Louisiana.
- Chicago has produced the most running backs. Looking at hometowns that have produced the most running backs—including half backs, tail backs and fullbacks—Chicago is the hometown to 76 future NFL players, followed by Los Angeles (66), Houston (51), Dallas (34), Pittsburgh (32) Columbus, Ohio, and New Orleans (31 each).
Out of 50 cities that produced at least 10 NFL running backs all-time, six cities are in California—the most of any state. California has produced 136 running backs, which is also the most of any state. Florida ranks second with five cities and Texas and Ohio have four cities each.
Top NFL hometowns for quarterbacks
|Rank||City and state||No. of quarterbacks|
|9||Green Bay, Wis.||5|
Top NFL hometowns for wide receivers
Ranked hometowns who produced 10 or more NFL wide receivers.
|Rank||City and state||No. of wide receivers|
|13||Fort Worth, Texas||17|
|14||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||15|
|17||Baton Rouge, La.||12|
|18||Little Rock, Ark.||11|
|18||St. Petersburg, Fla.||11|
Top NFL hometowns for running backs
Ranked hometowns who produced 10 or more NFL running backs.
|Rank||City and state||No. of running backs|
|11||Baton Rouge, La.||25|
|20||Little Rock, Ark.||15|
|22||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||13|
|25||Fort Worth, Texas||10|
|25||Long Beach, Calif.||10|
BeenVerified analyzed historic data from 26,724 National Football League players from Pro Football Reference, as well as 2,837 who were listed as current active players as of July 20, 2022. We checked information on hometowns and highs schools against the record and corrected/replaced data where appropriate.
For top all-time high schools, we only included players who have played at least one regular season game. In the event a player attended more than one high school, we only counted the school from which they graduated.
Birthplace cities are based on geographical boundaries and incorporations at the time of the athlete’s birth; some cities and towns no longer exist.
BeenVerified’s mission is to help people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives. BeenVerified and our associated websites curate dozens of public data sources and proprietary data sets to give people easy and affordable access to billions of public records, including a people search tool.