UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - At this week’s NFL Draft here in Cleveland, 259 players will be drafted into the league.
There will not be a player picked from John Carroll University, but the school will have as big of an impact on the draft as any other school.
The tiny school from University Heights is a pipeline into the player development world of the league.
Chargers GM Tom Telasco and Texans GM Nick Casserio went there.
So did David Ziegler, the director of Pro Personnel for the Patriots and Chris Polian who has the same job with Washington.
It is surprising that a Division III program has been able to place that many people into big-time positions.
“I think it really does stem from Don Shula,” said John Carroll head coach Rick Finotti. “You had that lore, that iconic figure hovering over John Carroll.”
Shula would return to John Carroll as much as he could, and would always spread the word about how it impacted his career.
People noticed. Bill Polian, a legendary NFL man in his own right, sent both of his sons to JCU.
The pipeline starts to feed itself. People with the talent and drive will flock there.
While they do not all major in the same thing, they are around the football team.
That’s where Finotti comes in. “I have them articulate in words and in writing what their objective is here and how they are going to work and we put them to work. We start with a little job, it might just be breaking down film.”
From the little things, the big things come.
Twelve percent of the players drafted this year will be either be picked by a GM from John Carroll, or by a front office that has a JCU grad with a heavy hand in the selection.
That’s an incredible record of success for this proud program.