Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson were two of 29 former Notre Dame players on NFL rosters to open the 2020 season, tied with Clemson and Oklahoma among all college football programs for the ninth-most players on NFL rosters. Four and a half months later, neither McClinchey nor Nelson are on rosters for conference championship weekend, nor are 26 of the other former Irish players. Equanimeous St. Brown, a third-year receiver for the Super Bowl odds favorite Green Bay Packers, is the lone Notre Dame alum still alive, giving the Irish one player on the four rosters of AFC and NFC Championship teams, tied with 62 other schools for 54th most in college football.
Notre Dame sits behind the usual suspects like Alabama, Clemson, and LSU. They also sit behind some down-ballot programs like Boston College and Maryland, along with some FCS and low-level Group of Five programs like North Dakota State and UConn. And behind Colorado State-Pueblo and Ferris State, two Division-II programs with two players apiece on conference championship rosters.
As of Monday, Jan. 18, St. Brown’s Packers’ teammate Malik Taylor is one of two Ferris State alums on an active roster for the four teams playing this weekend–the Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs. The other is Bills’ defensive tackle Justin Zimmer. CSU-Pueblo, meanwhile, is represented by Chiefs’ defensive tackle Mike Pennel and Bucs’ center Ryan Jensen, while a third, Los Angeles Rams’ defensive end Morgan Fox, played last weekend.
“It’s amazing to see where that program came from, being reestablished in 2008 to, in the last 12 years I think they’ve won 10 conference championships,” Jensen told The Pueblo Chieftain. “It’s been awesome to see not only that success, but seeing guys such as myself, Morgan and Mike make it in the NFL and do big things.”
In addition to Notre Dame, CSU Pueblo and Ferris State also rank above Florida State, Miami (FL), Texas, and several other notable FBS programs. Only 18 other college football programs have more than two players on this weekend’s active rosters.
Here’s the full list of college football teams with at least two players on AFC and NFC Championship rosters:
|Colorado State Pueblo||2|
|North Dakota State||2|
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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @adoughty88.