Every year a handful of Division 2 football players get drafted into the league. Following the draft, plenty of Division II players are invited to NFL training camps for a shot to compete for a roster spot.
You will be surprised at how many Division II football players were on the active 53-man roster as of opening day last season. At the start of last season, there were 49 players on active rosters and an additional 17 on practice squads.
Here are the Top 10 Division II Players in the NFL:
- Tyreek Hill, WR, West Alabama
- Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota State
- Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern
- Deonte Harris, WR, Assumption
- John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State University
- Austin Ekeler, RB, Western Colorado
- Malcolm Butler, CB, West Alabama
- Delanie Walker, TE, Central Missouri
- Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western
- Tyrell Williams, WR, Western Oregon University
There is one player on this list that really stands out to me. It is New Orleans Saints Kick/Punt Returner Deonte Harris. This kid grinded all training camp proving he was worthy of a roster spot on the 53-man roster.
The 5-foot-6, 170-pound special-team threat out of Assumption College was undrafted in 2019. He signed with the Saints, and did not disappoint. He finished his rookie season as the NFL leader in punt returns, combined returns and punt return yards which landed him a spot on the Pro Bowl Roster.
Harris finished his rookie campaign with 982 return yards including a 53-yard punt return touchdown. The First Team All-Pro was one of four players in the NFL with a punt return touchdown.
This just shows to everyone that Division 2 players can play at the next level if given a chance to prove themselves to NFL coaches.