Every year, schools come to Florida to sign football talent, a lot of it in the person of blue-chip prospects.
It’s part of the reason that when I make my predictions for Super Bowls, I don’t need deep statistical analysis or to track playoff records. This year, I thought the Eagles would beat the Patriots. I just needed to look at the rosters.
I use the “Bowden Rule” when it comes to picking who to root for when I don’t have a dog in the fight: I root for the team with the most Seminoles. I took it a step further in the Super Bowl: Even though there were four former Seminoles on the Eagles’ roster, I looked at who had the most players from the state of Florida. The Eagles. And they won.
Three FSU alums who play for the Eagles – linebacker Nigel Bradham, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan and cornerback Patrick Robinson – also are former Florida high school stars. (The fourth ex-’Nole is cornerback Ronald Darby, who is from Maryland.) Bradham is from Crawfordville, which is close to Tallahassee. Jernigan is from Lake City, which most people in Florida know only as the city where Interstates 75 and 10 intersect. Robinson is from Miami.
There were two former Florida Gators on the Eagles’ roster and one on injured reserve. Tight end Trey Burton threw a TD pass for the Eagles, showing off the skills he used as a dual-threat quarterback at Venice High. Backup defensive back Jaylen Watkins is from Fort Myers. Kicker Caleb Sturgis, who is on IR, is from St. Augustine.
Two other former Florida high schoolers also had an impact for the Eagles on Sunday. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who went to USC, is from Tampa. And running back LeGarrette Blount, who attended Oregon, is from Perry. Blount, who was playing in his third Super Bowl, led the Eagles in rushing and scored a TD.
One of New England’s touchdowns was scored by running back James White, who is from Fort Lauderdale. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett played extensively after Brandin Cooks was injured; he and White were high school teammates at Saint Thomas Aquinas. Backup defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois is from Miami. But the Eagles had more Floridians than the Pats.
Sunday was further proof that Florida produces numerous talented players – and they come from everywhere in the state. From big cities such as Miami and Tampa – and from smaller towns like Lake City or Perry. They come from areas that have beautiful beaches, like Venice, or from areas best-known for the filming of Tarzan, at Wakulla Springs near Crawfordville.
Article First Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/eagles-florida-connection-super-bowl/