Utah has a long list of names who have moved on to the NFL from their days up on The Hill. Here is a look at the top 10 NFL players who came from the U.
10. Luther Elliss, Defensive End
Luther Elliss played for the Detroit Lions from 1995 through 2003 where he accumulated 324 tackles and 27 sacks. His performance in Detroit made him a much beloved player and earned him the nickname "Pass Rushing Luther." Elliss was released by Detroit part way through the 2003 season before playing out his final year in Denver. Elliss capped his career off registering 2 sacks in eight games for the Broncos. Elliss finished his career with 331 tackles, 29 sacks and 7 fumble recoveries. He was a two time Pro Bowler, being selected in 1999 and 2000.
9. Jamal Anderson, Running Back
Jamal Anderson played eight seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, amassing 5,336 rushing yards and catching 156 passes for 1,654 yards before tearing his ACL in 2001 in what turned out to be a career ending injury. 1998 was his best season, in which he rushed for 1,846 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl. He led the NFC in rushing that year, and was named first team all NFC, first team All-pro and earned a pro bowl berth. Anderson is probably remembered best, however for his famous touchdown dance the "Dirty Bird."
8. Bob Trumpy, Tight End
7. Jordan Gross, Offensive Tackle
Gross was selected with the eighth overall pick of the 2003 draft, making him the highest selected player ever from Utah in the NFL Draft, until Alex Smith was selected first overall two years later. Gross anchored an offensive line that went to the Superbowl his rookie year, starting every single game and only allowing 3 sacks on the season, earning him All-Rookie honors. Gross went on to play for ten years for the Panthers, playing both right tackle and left tackle during his NFL career. Gross finished his career in 2013 as a 3 time pro bowler with a first team All-Pro selection in 2008.
6. Manny Fernandez, Defensive Tackle/Defensive End
Fernandez played for the Miami Dolphins for eight seasons, appearing in three super bowls and winning two. He was a member of the Miami Dolphins team that finished 17-0. Fernandez was widely considered to have deserved MVP honors in Superbowl VII after recording 17 tackles and a sack from the nose tackle position, but instead the award was given to teammate Jake Scott. Fernandez was a second team all-pro in 1970 and 1973 and the NFL's unsung player of the year in 1973. He was all AFC in 1971 and second team all AFC in 1972 and 1973. Fernandez finished his career with 35 sacks and as a 2- time Super Bowl champion.
5. Mac Speedie, Wide Receiver
Speedie was drafted in the 1942 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. However, due to World War II, he did not play until 1946 when he signed with the Cleveland Browns. He led the league in yards per catch with 23.5 in 1946 and was named All-League. He also helped the Browns win the championship game for the All-American Football conference that season. He was the league leader in receptions and receiving yards in 1947 as the Browns repeated as AAFC champions. His 1,146 receiving yards that season ranked as the second best statistical season by a receiver in history at that time. Speedie was named first team All-Pro, as he and quarterback Otto Graham made a lethal combination during an era where passing was still somewhat of a novelty. Speedie was named All-pro in two more consecutive seasons in '48 and '49, and helped the Browns to four consecutive AAFC championships before being absorbed by the NFL in 1950. Speedie made two pro bowls in the NFL, and was named first team All-Pro in 1951 as he helped the Browns to two consecutive NFL championship games in '51 and '52 before departing for the CFL in 1953. He finished his career as a two time Pro Bowl selection ('50, '52), 6 time first team All-Pro ('46, '47, '48, '49, '50, '52) and was named to the 1940's all decade
4. Eric Weddle, Safety
Weddle was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2007 draft. The Chargers traded four draft picks to the Chicago Bears in order to move up and select Weddle. Their heavy investment paid off as Weddle moved into the starting lineup in his second season and became one of the best safeties in the league. In his fifth year in the league, Weddle won defensive player of the year in 2011. He led the league with seven interceptions that season and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Still an active player in the NFL, Weddle has a chance to improve upon his already impressive NFL career. He currently has 772 tackles, 6 sacks, 19 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles and three touchdowns in his career. He is a 3 time pro bowler (2011, 2013, 2014) a 3 time second-team all pro (2010, 2012, 2013)
3. Roy Jefferson, Wide Receiver
Roy Jefferson was selected with the 18th overall pick of the 1965 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was a second round pick at the time. In 1968, Jefferson's third season, he led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,074. The following year he was named first team all-pro with 1,079 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, becoming the Steelers first receiver to have consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Jefferson spent the 1970 season with the Baltimore Colts helping them win Super Bowl V. In 1971, the Redskins traded a first round pick for him and Jefferson would go on to finish his career in Washington D.C.
2. Steve Smith
Smith was selected in the third round of the 2001 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. Though undersized at 5-9 195lbs. Smith has become one of the most productive receivers in the modern NFL. He helped the 2003 Carolina Panthers advance to the Super Bowl XXXVIII. In 2005 he won the receiver's "triple Crown" finishing first in the league in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and receptions. He was also comeback player of the year that season coming back from a severe broken leg he suffered during the 2004 season. He is a member of the 10,000 yard receiving club, a 3 time All Pro ('01, '05, '08) and a 5 time Pro Bowler
1. Larry Wilson, Safety
Wilson was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960 NFL Draft. Due to his small stature (6', 190 lbs.) Wilson was not drafted until the seventh round. Due to his versatility he was one of the first players to be utilized as a
That wraps up the top 10 Utes to play in the NFL.
Are there any players you think should have been included that weren't on the list? Let us know in the comments.