Through the end of the 2015 NFL season, Pennsylvania ranks 4th in the number of players produced by any state. There have been 1,396 players from the Keystone State play professional football since 1920, and that number will grow this season as recent draft picks and undrafted signees appear in games during the 2016 season.
|Rk||State||# of Pros
|# Active||# of HOF|
Of those nearly 1,400 players, at least 778 have been drafted into the NFL. Another 67 were drafted into the AFL; many AFL draftees were also picked by NFL teams, meaning there are several players who were picked twice. All of this data comes from Pro Football Reference, an incredible resource for a variety of statistics, including listings of the high schools attended by players throughout history. I went through the pages of each of the listed Pennsylvania high schools and created a spreadsheet of players drafted into both the NFL and AFL. You can view the lists of drafted players from Pennsylvania high schools here:
Note: Each player’s name links to his PFR page, if available.
Here’s where you come in:
While PFR is one of (if not the) best websites for historical football data anywhere, its listings of player high schools is far from perfect. The most time-consuming part of this project was finding and correcting the high schools each player attended. Most commonly, the error was a typo or misspelling of a school name (here’s the full list of high schools). For example, East Pennsboro is listed twice – once for Mickey Shuler and once for Mickey Shuler, Jr. – because one entry lists the high school location as Enola and one has the location as East Pennsboro. Both are referring to the same school, of course. High schools themselves contained errors, too: former linebacker Micheal Barrow’s profile shows that he attended Homestead High School, which he did…except he graduated from the one outside of Miami, not the now-closed Homestead High School outside of Pittsburgh.
I’ve corrected these errors as completely as possible, but there are two issues that I’ll need your help addressing:
- Further corrections of high schools attended by draftees or any other incorrect information about that player
- Finding drafted players who do not have a PFR page
Point 2 is the biggest hurdle in making these lists 100% complete. Players only show up for a high school if they have a PFR page, and a player only has a PFR page if he appeared in at least one NFL game. There are surely countless Pennsylvania high school graduates who were drafted and did not appear in an NFL game and therefore do not have a PFR page. These are the players who are missing from the lists I’ve compiled. Many of these players are late-round picks or were chosen in the early days of the draft when it wasn’t uncommon for a player to be selected and choose not to pursue professional football (even if he was a high-round pick). Here’s the page for the 1945 NFL Draft; all of the players without a linked name do not have a PFR page and therefore do not have a high school shown on the website. Undoubtedly, at least a few of these players are Pennsylvania natives who need to be included in the NFL and AFL Draftee lists.
So, what can you do to help?
If you’re aware of a player from a high school who was drafted but isn’t included on one of the lists I’ve put together, send me his name, the approximate year he was drafted and any other vital information that may help find him. You can comment on this post, tweet at me (@pa_fb_history) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. After using all of the info provided by PFR, a community-based research effort is the best way to make these lists as complete as possible.