The Southeastern Conference undoubtedly sits atop the college football world. The SEC has produced the last four BCS national championship squads and had a conference-high 59 players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, well above No. 2 finisher the Big Ten, which produced 34 NFL draftees.
However, the Big Ten, with its proclivity to produce smash-mouth football players who are already acclimated to playing in cold weather, has long served as a talent pipeline for the Steelers, particularly powerhouse programs Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, the latter producing fewer future Steelers in recent years.
Surprisingly, though, it is the Atlantic Coast Conference, an ongoing joke in major college football that is better known for its excellence in academics, men’s basketball and women’s soccer, which actually produced more 2010 Steelers than any other conference, including the Big Ten and SEC.
The 12-member ACC, which was supposed to become a football power after Florida State and Miami joined, has an abysmal 2-10 record in BCS bowl games. That mark is actually worse than it appears because FSU beat current ACC member Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, when the Hokies were in the Big East and had no business being in a national title game. The other victory was in the 2009 Orange Bowl, when VT upended commuter school Cincinnati. Unimpressive wins with asterisks on both accounts.
However, the Steelers’ front office and coaching staff, who have won Super Bowls in two of the past five seasons, evidently like ACC football, since a conference-high 13 players among the 66 presently under contract by the 2010 Steelers were produced by current ACC-member schools.
Including the 53-man roster, the eight players on the Steelers’ practice squad, suspended QB Ben Roethlisberger, rookie OL Chris Scot who is on the PUP list, and OT Willie Colon, S Tuff Harris and WR Limas Sweed — all of whom are on IR — here is the conference breakdown and school affiliation for the 2010 Steelers.
Note: Universities are classified under the conference they currently compete in for football, which is not necessarily the conference those schools were in when various Steelers were in college or the conference those schools will be part of for the future due to realignment in major college football.
ACC (13): Clemson: CB Crezdon Butler, DE Nick Eason, WR Tyler Grisham; FSU: CB Bryant McFadden, LB Lawrence Timmons; Georgia Tech: RB Jonathan Dwyer, ILB Keyaron Fox, North Carolina: OT Kyle Jolly, K Jeff Reed, SN Greg Warren; Virginia: ILB James Farrior, TE Heath Miller; Virginia Tech: OLB Jason Worilds.
Big Ten (10): Illinois: RB Reshard Mendenhall; Indiana: WR Antwaan Randle El; Michigan: ILB Larry Foote, OLB LaMarr Woodley; Michigan State: OT Flozell Adams; Minnesota: TE Matt Spaeth; Northwestern: OG Trai Essex; Ohio State: S Will Allen, OLB Thad Gibson; Purdue: TE Eugene Bright.
SEC (9): Alabama: CB/ST Anthony Madison; Florida: C Maurkice Pouncey, OT Max Starks; Georgia: WR Hines Ward; LSU: S Ryan Clark, DL Al Woods; Mississippi: WR Mike Wallace; Tennessee: OL Ramon Foster, OL Chris Scott.
Big 12 (6): Baylor: P Daniel Sepulveda; Missouri: DE Ziggy Hood; Texas: NT Casey Hampton, OT Tony Hills, OT Jonathan Scott, WR Limas Sweed.
C-USA (5): Marshall: QB Byron Leftwich, C Doug Legursky; SMU: WR Emmanuel Sanders; Tulane: RB Mewelde Moore; UTEP: S Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith.
Mountain West (5): BYU: NT Chris Hoke, DE Brett Keisel; UNLV: RB Frank Summers; Utah: OG Chris Kemoeatu, ILB Stevenson Sylvester.
MAC (4): Central Michigan: WR Antonio Brown; Eastern Michigan: QB Charlie Batch; Kent State: LB James Harrison; Miami (Ohio): QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Pac Ten (3): Oregon: QB Dennis Dixon; Oregon State: CB Keenan Lewis; USC: S Troy Polamalu.
Sun Belt (3): Arkansas State: TE David Johnson; La-Lafayette: CB Ike Taylor; Troy: DL Steven McLendon.
Big East (2): Louisville: CB William Gay; West Virginia: S Ryan Mundy.
DI Independents (1): Notre Dame: WR Arnaz Battle.
Others (5): Bowie State: RB Isaac Redman; Hofstra: OT Willie Colon; James Madison: OG/C Dorian Brooks; Montana: S Tuff Harris; Northern Colorado: DE Aaron Smith.
Wondering which individual schools produced the most current Steelers? Here you go:
1. Texas – 4
2. Clemson – 3
North Carolina – 3
3. BYU – 2
Florida – 2
FSU – 2
Georgia Tech – 2
LSU – 2
Marshall – 2
Michigan – 2
Ohio State – 2
Tennessee – 2
Utah – 2
Virginia – 2
15. 52 schools tied with 1 player each