When the NFL released a list of hometowns that produced the most active NFL players heading into the 2015 season, No. 1 and No. 2 were separated by just 30 miles.
Miami topped the list with 31 and nearby Fort Lauderdale followed with 20. Not even accounted for in those numbers were several other players to come out of neighboring cities in Miami-Dade and Broward County—plus Palm Beach County to the north. The numbers are astronomical when taking into consideration the entire tri-county area that comprises just that southern tip of the Atlantic coast of the Sunshine State.
Quite simply: South Florida produces football talent.
As Larry Blustein, who has covered and promoted prospects in the area for 45 years, puts it: “From Palm Beach down to Key West is probably the most solid 200 miles [for recruiting] you’ll ever find.”
Here’s a quick look at some of the top professional football players in recent memory to come out of South Florida: Teddy Bridgewater, Isaac Bruce, Antonio Brown, Amari Cooper, Kelvin Benjamin, Elvis Dumervil, Frank Gore, Al Harris, T.Y. Hilton, Steve Hutchinson, Michael Irvin, Andre Johnson, Chad Johnson, Willis McGahee, Mike McKenzie, Bryant McKinnie, Lamar Miller, Dan Morgan, Santana Moss, Antrel Rolle, Samari Rolle, Asante Samuel, Sean Taylor, Stephen Tulloch, Jonathan Vilma.