Ranking The Detroit Lions’ 5 Greatest College Football Factories

Ranking The Detroit Lions' 5 Greatest College Football Factories

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have made plenty of great picks over their many years in the NFL Draft. From Joe Schmidt to Calvin Johnson and even Herman Moore, plenty of legends have played in Detroit, but which colleges have produced the best Lions players?

Here now are the five college football factories that have produced the greatest Detroit Lions.

5. Colorado State Rams

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5. Colorado State Rams

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Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams have produced two Pro Bowl defensive backs who helped Detroit win multiple World Championships in the 1950s. Both Jim David and Jack Christiansen became Pro Bowl players and champions for Detroit, and Christiansen would go on to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Christiansen and David are ranked fourth and fifth on Detroit's all-time interceptions list.

4. Oklahoma Sooners

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4. Oklahoma Sooners

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The Sooners have produced two Heisman Trophy running backs who would become productive players in Detroit. Both Steve Owens and Billy Sims would go on to have stellar careers even after Sims suffered a career-ending injury in only his fifth season. Sims is ranked second on Detroit's all-time rushing list and Owens is ranked 14th.

3. Texas Longhorns

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3. Texas Longhorns

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The Longhorns have produced three Pro Bowl players and two of Detroit's greatest defensive linemen ever. Although wide receiver Roy Williams was an overrated player when he was a Lion, he did make one Pro Bowl, and both defensive tackles Doug English and Shaun Rogers would become stars in Detroit. English made four Pro Bowls and Rogers would make two as Lions.

2. Oklahoma State

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2. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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The Cowboys would give Detroit the best player in franchise history in Barry Sanders and two solid players in Brandon Pettigrew and Leonard Thompson. Sanders is without question one of the top five running backs who ever played, and both Pettigrew and Thompson were solid players during their times with Detroit.

1. Tennessee Volunteers

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1. Tennessee Volunteers Helmet

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The Volunteers have produced the most successful Lions and four went on to become Pro Bowl players for Detroit. Running back Tom Tracy helped Detroit win the 1957 World Championship, and linebackers Paul Naumoff and Mike Cofer would each make a Pro Bowl appearance. Defensive end Darris McCord would make one Pro Bowl and offensive guard John Gordy would make three.


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