More than 2,500 Georgians playing college football

Some people play golf.  Some people jog. Some play Halo.

Steve Slay? He counts football players.

Specifically college football players from Georgia.

Slay, a Tucker native and Florida resident,  sells industrial filtration systems by day. In his spare time he surfs the Internet trying to locate former Georgia high school players who are now playing college football across the country.

It’s a hobby, he says straightfaced.

Slay said his pastime started innocently enough. An avid Georgia high school football fan displaced by his job — at different times he has lived in Birmingham, Ala.,  Minneapolis, Minn., and currently Jacksonville, Fla. — Slay said several years ago he was simply curious about where some of Tucker’s players ended up going to college. That curiosity led to other curiosities such as “how many guys from Southwest DeKalb?” and how many guys from Valdosta and how many from Region 7-AAAA and so on.

“I’d always read about how well Georgia does on a national level as far as producing college players so I just started looking into it,” Slay said. “Everything I looked at piqued my curiosity even more.”

A self-professed “numbers guy,” Slay began to chart and grid his findings. Nowadays he can display then colorfully on a slick  Excel spreadsheet. Eventually he thought he should probably share the information and did so first with Georgia Varsity Sports Vent (gavsv.com) and now with Georgia High School Football Daily newsletter. We ran the GHSF Daily’s story about Slay’s latest findings Wednesday on the high school page. Not surprisingly, more than a few college recruiters have come calling.

I couldn’t resist calling Slay myself, first to find out how and why a person delves into something like this and then to find out more.

From Slay’s research we learn that there are 699 players from Georgia currently playing Division I football somewhere in America. The majority of those players come from schools in the state’s largest classification, Class AAAAA (273) and the fewest from the lowest (43).

Other revelations: The single school that has the most players on college rosters is Stephenson High with 32 (the Jaguars have a good shot of retaining that title next year as they currently boast anywhere from 12 to 16 D-1 prospects alone). Slay said Atlanta’s Westlake led the way last year with about 35.

Other schools with big numbers playing college ball: Tucker (29), Westlake (29), Buford (28) and — somewhat surprisingly — Blessed Trinity (21).

As for where those players end up, the answer is pretty much everywhere. Georgians are literally scattered on football rosters from coast-to-coast — and beyond. Kell graduate Spencer Smith plays defensive back for Hawaii.

According to Slay’s data, there are 224 Georgians playing in the SEC, led by 89 at UGA. You probably wouldn’t guess that the next most Georgians are at Vanderbilt with 22. Auburn (20), Kentucky (17), South Carolina (16), Ole Miss (14) and Tennessee (11) all reach double-figure Peach-Staters.

There are 147 Georgians in the ACC, with Georgia Tech’s 75 leading the way. The next three? Wake Forest (13), Duke (12) and Florida State (11).

You’d think UGA, being the state university and fielding a Division 1 program, would naturally have more in-state players on its roster than any other  stateschool. Think again. Little Shorter College topped the list with 128 players from Georgia. Clearly that includes a few walkons.

The Bulldogs are followed by LaGrange (91), Georgia Southern (87), Georgia Tech (75) and Savannah State (70). Georgia State, which hasn’t even started playing football yet, already has 51 Georgians on its roster.

But Slay did not limit his research just to Division 1. He includes every college that fields a football team in every division in America except for junior colleges, which is a LOT of colleges  His spreadsheet ends on Georgia Player No. 2,578 — Camden County’s Josh Myers, who plays defensive line at Youngstown State.

Slay complains that his data is incomplete. Rosters for a few obscure schools could not be located, he says. We’re gonna give him a pass.

So what conclusions can we draw from Mr. Slay’s hard work?

“There’s a whole lot of kids from Georgia playing ball,” Slay says with a laugh.

Didn’t we already know that?

9 comments Add your comment

GeoffDawg

September 24th, 2009
8:29 am

How many walkons do we have at UGA? Just surprised that we have 89 native Georgians given that there are only 85 scholarships avaialable and we obviously have a good number of out of state players like Joe Cox, AJ Green, Carlton Thomas, etc. already on the roster.

Chip Towers

September 24th, 2009
8:52 am

GeoffDawg: NCAA rules allow teams to carry 105 players, 85 scholarship players and 20 walkons. But many more walkons come out for the team before they pare down the rosters for the season. Mr. Slay pulls from the complete rosters, which don’t distinguish between scholarship and walkons.

Uga91

September 24th, 2009
10:16 am

One thing we can all agree on is the state of Georgia high school football is awesome. I often see list ranking Pennsylvania ahead of us but I can’t see it. Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, Ohio are the football states. Go Dawgs!!!

Please

September 24th, 2009
11:33 am

Thank you Mr Saly for sharing! Go Georgia keep up the good work .

alphabama

September 24th, 2009
1:54 pm

As a side bar to this story and comments…..

GA has a large number of kids playing college footbal because it is a large state population wise compared to other southeastern states sans FL. With that Said I submit the following data from the Wall Street Journal last December that supports GA does not produce the most NFL players as a per cent of population.

Among states that have more than 10 native sons playing in the National Football League, the top six producers by percentage of population are Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia
- WSJ 12/5/08

GA is big but not so bad!

gafootball

September 24th, 2009
3:17 pm

Some websites use to carry this data a few years ago for every state in the USA.

Georgia is consistently no. 4 on the list in the most total college football players. Georgia is usually no. 2 in the highest percentage of college football players by state (although the southern part of the state from warner robins to valdosta has a signifigantly higher percentage than the rest of the state).

Total players:
1. Florida
2. California
3. Texas
4. Georgia

Highest percentage by population:
1. Louisiana
2. Georgia
3. Florida
4. Mississippi

gafootball

September 24th, 2009
3:20 pm

Georgia also has highest ratio of college football players in a state to division 1A schools in the country. There is no reason UGA and GT should not both be perennial top 15 schools with that many football players in their backyard.

bank walker

September 25th, 2009
9:40 am

Alphabama, you have not a clue. We have twice the athletes as your state playing college ball, as well as per capita. Our football in Georgia, as well as Florida, is a step above what you guys are playing in Bammer.

Keith

September 25th, 2009
11:36 am

And my wife wonders why I want my sons to stay here and play football! If you are a solid player out here, you will get a look from SOME school.

Names to watch out for: Tyren Jones, Eddie Printz, Brian Porter