D-II Washburn steals Super Bowl show

A total of 106 players are on the active rosters of the Ravens and 49ers, and examining the alma maters of Super Bowl teams always produces interesting quirks. Here are three things to know…

Who’s number one?

Miami (FL) leads the way with five players on Super Bowl rosters, followed by Oregon, Ohio State, Texas, Marshall and Utah with four apiece. The Hurricanes shouldn’t be a surprising presence, as Miami was second among all schools with 37 players on NFL opening-day rosters.

The lone college with more players on opening-day squads was USC with 44, but the Trojans don’t have a single player in the Super Bowl for just the fifth time in 47 games.

Ichabod craze

The most unexpected find is Division II Washburn University, which features two players on Super Bowl rosters: Ravens starting cornerback Cary Williams and 49ers special-teams captain Michael Wilhoite, who played together for the Ichabods in 2006 and 2007. Located in Topeka, Kansas, Washburn sports an enrollment of 7,204 and has never had an alumnus play in the Super Bowl.

Multiple Players in Super Bowl
Non D-I Schools in Last 20 Seasons

This season, Washburn has the same number of Super Bowl players as traditional powers LSU (1), Notre Dame (1), Oklahoma (0) and USC combined. The Ichabods also match the total of recent BCS champions Alabama, Auburn and Florida.

This marks the fifth time in the last 20 years that two players from the same non-Division I program played in the Super Bowl.

The most recent occurrence was 11 years ago, when South Dakota State was still Division II and featured alumni Adam Vinatieri (Patriots) and Adam Timmerman (Rams) in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Blue Hen group

Neither starting quarterback, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick or Delaware’s Joe Flacco, attended a college in one of the BCS AQ conferences, which isn’t as rare as you might think. It last happened four years ago when Northern Iowa’s Kurt Warner faced Ben Roethlisberger from Miami (OH).

Flacco will join Rich Gannon as the second Blue Hen quarterback to start a Super Bowl, while notable schools like USC, Texas and Ohio State still haven’t produced one.