Lori Schmidt

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The NFL in O-H-I-O

Ohio State football this week brought out four players who played their high school ball in Texas for reporters to interview.

"I always like to call myself a southern guy," said offensive lineman Demetrius Knox. "It's a completely different feel down there. Football? Ohio State is Ohio State, but even high school football down there is big. The whole city shuts down and everything." 

Indeed, Texas high schools had more players in the NFL on opening kickoff rosters (175) than all but Florida (211) and California (185).

Immediately behind those states were Georgia (123) and in fifth place, Ohio (76). 

The state of Ohio also had two of the most prolific high schools in terms of talent: Glenville and Pickerington. (Note: For their purposes, the NFL lists Pickerington North and Central as one program.)

Glennville: Ted Ginn (New Orleans), Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans), Justin Hardee (New Orleans), Frank Clark (Seattle), Willie Henry (Baltimore)

Pickerington: Brian Peters (Houston), Jake Butt (Denver), Pat Elflein (Minnesota), Taco Charlton (Dallas)

On top of that, 15 NFL players who appeared on their team's opening roster call Cincinnati their hometown. That's fourth most in the league behind Miami, FL (24); Houston, TX (20); Fort Lauderdale, FL (16). 

And, of course, no discussion of what the state of Ohio contributes to the NFL would be complete without a mention of the Buckeyes. With 36 players in the league, OSU was tied with the Miami Hurricanes as the fourth-most represented college team. 

Ohio State alum and Pickerington product Pat Elflein

The only teams with more were Alabama (44), LSU (40), Florida (37).

And no college had more defensive backs (10) while Ohio State, Florida and Missouri led the league in centers (3).

One final note? The Browns (average age of 25.19 years) and Bengals (25.38 years) were the two youngest teams in the NFL. 

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