Colleges With Most Players in Pro Football Hall of Fame
You'll find an interesting but not surprising statistic that comes up when looking at the college football programs with the most Pro Football Hall of Famers — it's very similar to the list of colleges with the most national championships.
Funny how that works, right?
Since the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first class of inductees in 1963, the same colleges seem to continue popping up over and over again when it comes to deciding who gets a bust in Canton, Ohio, and who doesn't.
Here's a look at the colleges with the most players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the caveat that only inductees who actually played football at those colleges could be included on the list, which excludes some Hall of Famers who have been inducted in the "contributor" category.
10. UCLA — 6 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Stadium: Rose Bowl (capacity 80,186)
National championships: 1 (1954)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: QB Bob Waterfield, E Tom Fears, ATH Jimmy Johnson, QB Troy Aikman, OT Jonathan Ogden, S Kenny Easley
Bottom line: Former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman technically counts on the Pro Football Hall of Fame list for two colleges — he started his career at Oklahoma and finished at UCLA.
Hall of Fame safety Kenny Easley, a three-time All-American at UCLA, made it to Canton even though he only played seven seasons in the NFL, all with the Seattle Seahawks. Easley was a five-time NFL All-Pro and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984, but after a trade to the Arizona Cardinals in 1988, he discovered he had a rare kidney disease brought on by taking 15 to 20 Advils per day with the Seahawks for an ankle injury. Easley was forced to retire and eventually needed a new kidney. He sued the Seahawks and eventually settled out of court.
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10. Penn State — 6 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (cap. 106, 572)
National championships: 2 (1982, 1986)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: OG Mike Michalske, ATH Lenny Moore, LB Jack Ham, RB Franco Harris, OG Mike Munchak, LB Dave Robinson
Bottom line: If you were lucky enough to see Penn State play in the late 1960s, you were watching a pair of future Pro Football Hall of Famers with linebacker Jack Ham and running back Franco Harris, who would also team up in the NFL to win four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the first two seasons Ham and Harris played together for the Nittany Lions, they were unbeatable — literally — going 22-0 over the 1968 and 1969 seasons and winning the Orange Bowl each year.
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10. Oregon — 6 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Stadium: Autzen Stadium (cap. 54,000)
National championships: None
Pro Football Hall of Famers: QB Norm Van Brocklin, RB Alphonse Leemans, QB Dan Fouts, S Mel Renfro, LB Dave Wilcox, OL Gary Zimmerman
Bottom line: The only team on this list without a national championship, the Oregon Ducks have come agonizingly close in the last 20 years, losing to Auburn in the BCS Championship Game following the 2010 season and losing to Ohio State in the CFP Championship Game following the 2014 season.
The Ducks have a pair of quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame with 1950s star Norm Van Brocklin, who led two different teams to NFL championships, and Dan Fouts, who was the first NFL quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
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10. LSU — 6 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Stadium: Tiger Stadium (cap. 102, 321)
National championships: 4 (1958, 2003, 2007, 2019)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: HB Steve Van Buren, QB Y.A. Tittle, FB Jim Taylor, C Kevin Mawae, S Johnny Robinson, OG Alan Faneca
Bottom line: Life has been pretty good for LSU fans over the last 20 years, with three national championships since 2003 with three different coaches. But the university went 43 years without a former player making the Pro Football Hall of Fame after legendary Green Bay Packers fullback Jim Taylor was inducted in 1976.
LSU ended its Hall of Fame drought with two players inducted in 2019 — center Kevin Mawae and safety Johnny Robinson — and then another player in 2021 with offensive guard Alan Faneca. Out of the six LSU players in the Hall of Fame, only Robinson won a national championship.
Does LSU currently have any Hall of Fame candidates in the NFL? Defensive back Patrick Peterson is the first name that comes to mind.
10. Illinois — 6 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Champaign, Illinois
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (cap. 60,670)
National championships: 5 (1914, 1919, 1923, 1927, 1951)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: HB Red Grange, E George Halas, Hugh "Shorty" Ray, LB Ray Nitschke, LB Dick Butkus, HB Bobby Mitchell
Bottom line: Illinois hasn't been good at football for a very, very long time. The school hasn't won a Big Ten championship and only recently ended a 10-year streak of losing seasons with an 8-5 record in 2022.
Illinois also hasn't had a player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 40 years, since halfback Bobby Mitchell in 1983, but can claim two of the greatest NFL linebackers of all time with Ray Nitschke and Dick Butkus, who both defined the position in the 1960s.
8. Minnesota — 7 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Stadium: Huntington Bank Stadium (cap. 50,805)
National championships: 7 (1904, 1934-36, 1940, 1941, 1960)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: FB Bronco Nagurski, DT Leo Nomellini, DE/LB Bobby Bell, HC Bud Grant, TE Charlie Sanders, DE Carl Eller, HC Tony Dungy
Bottom line: No player in Minnesota history can hold a torch to former defensive end/linebacker Bobby Bell, a two-time All-American who could have dominated in any era — at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, he was essentially the Will Anderson Jr. of the 1960s.
Bell was a two-time All-American for the Gophers and won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman in 1962 before playing 12 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he won a Super Bowl in 1969 and was eventually named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary Team.
8. Syracuse — 7 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Syracuse, New York
Stadium: JMA Wireless Dome (cap. 49,250)
National championships: 1 (1959)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: RB Jim Brown, C Jim Ringo, FB Larry Csonka, TE John Mackey, WR Art Monk, RB Floyd Little, WR Marvin Harrison
Bottom line: The thing that sticks out the most about Syracuse's seven Pro Football Hall of Famers is that all seven are from the offensive side of the ball.
There is a notable, current candidate who could end that streak — defensive end Dwight Freeney missed induction in his first year of eligibility in 2023. Freeney, undersized at 6-foot and 265 pounds, played 16 seasons in the NFL and had his best years with the Indianapolis Colts, where he won a Super Bowl, was a four-time NFL All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler. Freeney finished his career with 125.5 sacks and was named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team.
7. Alabama — 8 Hall of Famers
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium (cap. 101,821)
National championships: 18 (1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: E Don Hutson, QB Bart Starr, QB Joe Namath, OL John Hannah, C Dwight Stephenson, TE Ozzie Newsome, DE/LB Derrick Thomas, QB Ken Stabler
Bottom line: Few colleges could match the Pro Football Hall of Famers from Alabama in the trenches — two of the meanest, nastiest offensive linemen of all time with John Hannah and Dwight Stephenson and arguably the greatest pass rusher of all time with the late Derrick Thomas.
The Crimson Tide also has a trio of legendary quarterbacks — Bart Starr, "Broadway" Joe Namath and Kenny "The Snake" Stabler — who made their way to Canton, with each winning at least one Super Bowl in their NFL careers.
If you're looking for the next Alabama player who might make his way to the Hall of Fame, it's likely wide receiver Julio Jones, a five-time NFL All-Pro who has 13,629 career receiving yards and 63 touchdowns.
4. Miami — 9 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Coral Gables, Florida
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium (cap. 65,326)
National championships: 5 (1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 2001)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: C Jim Otto, LB Ted Hendricks, QB Jim Kelly, WR Michael irvin, DT Cortez Kennedy, DT Warren Sapp, LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed, RB Edgerrin James
Bottom line: What's really incredible about Miami having nine players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is that the Hurricanes didn't have their first player inducted until the Hall of Fame's third decade of existence when center Jim Otto was part of the 1980 class.
Miami has seen a run on Hall of Famers recently, with four in the last decade, including three defensive players with defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed as well as running back Edgerrin James making it in 2020.
4. Ohio State — 9 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Stadium: Ohio Stadium (cap. 102,780)
National championships: 8 (1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: OT Jim Parker, K Lou Groza, E Dante Lavelli, DT Bill Willis, Sid Gillman, WR Paul Warfield, CB Dick LeBeau, WR Cris Carter, OT Orlando Pace
Bottom line: Ohio State has nine players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but its most famous player of all time — two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin — was never a serious candidate to make it into Canton.
The Buckeyes went almost 30 years without a Hall of Famer after wide receiver Paul Warfield was inducted in 1983 until defensive back and longtime NFL assistant coach Dick LeBeau was finally inducted in 2010.
Ohio State has two players currently in the NFL who could potentially be Hall of Famers one day, with brothers Nick Bosa and Joey Bosa, who are both still in the prime of their careers and have both been two of the NFL's best players since joining the league.
4. Michigan — 9 Hall of Famers (Tie)
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Stadium: Michigan Stadium (cap. 107,601)
National championships: 11 (1901-04, 1918, 1923, 1932, 1933, 1947, 1948, 1997)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: OT Dan Dierdorf, DE Len Ford, QB Benny Friedman, E Bill Hewitt, ATH Elroy Hirsch, OG Steve Hutchinson, CB Ty Law, OG Tom Mack, CB Charles Woodson
Bottom line: Michigan will jump into double digits for Hall of Famers when quarterback Tom Brady is eligible for the first time in 2028, when he'll join former college teammate and Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson, who was inducted in 2021.
The Wolverines have seen a run on Hall of Famers in recent years, with former players going into Canton in three consecutive classes with cornerback Ty Law (2019), offensive lineman Steve Hutchison (2020) and Woodson (2021).
3. Pittsburgh — 10 Hall of Famers
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Acrisure Stadium (cap. 68,400)
National championships: 9 (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1976)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: LB Joe Schmidt, TE Mike Ditka, RB Tony Dorsett, QB Dan Marino, OG Russ Grimm, LB Rickey Jackson, RB Curtis Martin, DE Chris Doleman, OT Jimbo Covert, CB Darrelle Revis
Bottom line: Pittsburgh's 1980 team was truly something to behold, featuring four future Pro Football Hall of Famers with quarterback Dan Marino, LB Rickey Jackson and offensive linemen Russ Grimm and Jimbo Covert. That team went 11-1 and capped the season with a Gator Bowl win — their only loss was at No. 11 Florida State.
Pittsburgh has two first-ballot Hall of Famers coming down the pipeline with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who will be eligible in 2026, and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, who is still playing.
2. Notre Dame — 11 Hall of Famers
Location: South Bend, Indiana
Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium (cap. 77,622)
National championships: 11 (1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1988)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: RB Curly Lambeau, C George Trafton, OL/DL Wayne Millner, OL/LB George Connor, RB Paul Hornung, DL Alan Page, QB Joe Montana, LB Nick Buoniconti, TE Dave Casper, RB Jerome Bettis, WR Tim Brown
Bottom line: It's no surprise to see Notre Dame, the most famous college football program in history, with so many Pro Football Hall of Famers. It's also worth pointing out that, while the positions of the Irish Hall of Famers are spread pretty evenly on both sides of the ball, only one quarterback, Joe Montana, has made it to Canton.
Notre Dame has one current NFL player who is an absolute lock to be in the Hall of Fame once his career ends. We're talking about Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Zack Martin, who will be in his 10th season in 2023, is already an eight-time NFL All-Pro and was named to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade team.
1. USC — 14 Hall of Famers
Location: Los Angeles, California
Stadium: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (cap. 77,500)
National championships: 11 (1928, 1931, 1932, 1939, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1978, 2003, 2004)
Pro Football Hall of Famers: HB Frank Gifford, OT Ron Mix, E Red Badgro, RB O.J. Simpson, DB Willie Wood, OT Anthony Munoz, DB Ronnie Lott, WR Lynn Swann, OT Ron Yary, RB Marcus Allen, OL Bruce Matthews, LB Junior Seau, S Troy Polamalu, OT Tony Boselli
Bottom line: USC is at the top of the mountain when it comes to producing Pro Football Hall of Famers — no surprise, considering the Trojans have put more quarterbacks (17) and wide receivers (40) in the NFL than any other college.
USC has had at least one player inducted into the Hall of Fame for six consecutive decades dating back to its first inductee, running back Frank Gifford in 1977, through its latest inductee with offensive tackle Tony Boselli in 2022.
Of USC's eight Heisman Trophy winners, two have been inducted into the Hall of Fame — running backs O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen. Quarterback Caleb Wiliams, the 2022 Heisman winner, is projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.