Seven players are on the active roster for either the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles heading into Super Bowl LII who were both unranked recruits coming out of high school and undrafted free agents coming out of college.
Those three were all small-school players who went overlooked in both the recruiting process and the NFL Draft process, but stuck with it and earned spots on arguably the best-run franchise in the NFL.
Butler, who played college ball at Division 2 West Alabama, burst onto the NFL scene in Super Bowl XLIX, intercepting a Russell Wilson pass at the goal line with 20 seconds on the clock to seal the victory.
Hogan was a star lacrosse player at Penn State before transferring to Monmouth, an FCS school, to play football to finish out his collegiate athletic career. He bounced around multiple NFL teams for a couple years before sticking with the Bills from 2012-2015 and signing with the Patriots in 2016. He had four catches for 57 yards in the Super Bowl LI victory last year.
While James Harrison is too old for conventional recruiting rankings, the fact that he was a walk-on at Kent State tells you all you need to know about his recruitment. Teams were worried about his height coming out of college and he went undrafted. He's gone on to have an incredible career for the Pittsburgh Steelers with a pair each of first- and second-team All-Pro nods. He's looking for his third Super Bowl championship this year after signing with Patriots.
Other unranked recruits and undrafted free agents on Super Bowl active rosters include New England's Pro Bowl fullback James Develin (Brown), New England offensive lineman Cole Croston (Iowa), New England punter Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech), and Philadelphia long snapper Rick Lovato (Old Dominion).
Here's the full list:
|NE||James Harrison||LB||Kent State|
|NE||Ryan Allen||P||Louisiana Tech|
|NE||Chris Hogan||WR||Monmouth (N.J.)|
|NE||Malcolm Butler||CB||West Alabama|
|PHI||Rick Lovato||LS||Old Dominion|