Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen scrambles against Boise State.
Photo by Steve Conner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Group of Five Players Who Are Current NFL Stars

The current stars in the NFL include some players who started their college careers at smaller Group of Five programs.

Group of Five schools may not be the flashiest programs, but some of the best players in the NFL today have come from these smaller programs.

Everybody likes a dream team starting lineup, so we here at FanBuzz decided to put one together — using just NFL players who came out of the current Group of Five schools within the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision ranks. Think of it: Top NFL talent from schools currently in the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West and Sun Belt all put together.

And, boy oh boy, would this team rock if it actually existed. Five All-Pro players dot the roster, and six total players on the list were selected to last season's Pro Bowl — which nearly leads the NFL, just one player behind the largest contingent of any NFL team (Indianapolis had seven).

Can you envision Wyoming QB product Josh Allen throwing darts to wide receiver Davante Adams out of Fresno State? How about an offensive line with two Pro Bowlers — Joel Bitonio (Nevada) and Dion Dawkins (Temple), along with All-Rookie Team selection Tyler Smith (Tulsa) — carving out a canyon-sized space worth of running room for a 1,100-yard-plus rushing season for Aaron Jones (UTEP)? Tackling machines such as Bobby Wagner (Utah State) and Kevin Byard (Middle Tennessee) anchor the defense, along with sack machine Pro Bowler Trey Hendrickson (Florida Atlantic).

This starting lineup is a perfect blend of aged wisdom and hungry youth, like a refined wine and a newly formulated high-octane, caffeine-loaded energy drink line that'll knock your socks off. Four first-year players on the list made the NFL All-Rookie team last year and will be expected to only improve on that effort — yet out of the 26 players listed below, only three of them were first-round draft picks. Clearly, NFL teams were a tad bit tentative, with three of the offensive/defensive players — Andrew Wylie (Kansas City), Teair Tart (FIU) and Tashaun Gipson (Wyoming) — going undrafted altogether. None of the four special teams' standouts were drafted at all.

So let's take a look at who would make up this team. I think we all know that this group could easily make up a playoff-caliber franchise, if only one team could snag them all now. Isn't it fun to think about?

Note: Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner played last year with the Los Angeles Rams for one season but is back with the Seattle Seahawks, where he began his career.

The 2023 All-NFL Group of Five Team

Former Fresno State wide receiver Davante Adams.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Based on 2022 stats/accolades


QB Josh Allen BUFFALO Wyoming 4,283  pass yds, 35 TDs
OL Andrew Wylie KANSAS CITY East. Mich. Started all 17 games
OL Joel Bitonio (*, $) CLEVELAND Nevada First Team All-Pro
OL Robert Hunt MIAMI Louisiana Started all 17 games
OL Tyler Smith (&) DALLAS Tulsa All-Rookie team, 17 starts
OL Dion Dawkins ($) BUFFALO Temple Pro Bowler
TE Tyler Higbee L.A. RAMS West. Ky. 72 catches, 620 yds
RB Aaron Jones GREEN BAY UTEP 1,121 rush yds, 2 TDs
WR Davante Adams (*, $) LAS VEGAS Fresno St. 1,516 rec. yds, 14 TDs
WR Diontae Johnson PITTSBURGH Toledo 86 catches, 882 yds
WR Zay Jones JACKSONVILLE East Carolina 823 rec yds, 5 TDs


DE DeMarcus Lawrence DALLAS Boise St. 87 tackles, 6 sacks
DE Trey Hendrickson ($) CINCINNATI FAU 42 tackles, 8 sacks
DT Larry Ogunjobi PITTSBURGH Charlotte 48 tackles, 7 TFLs
DT Teair Tart TENNESSEE FIU 34 tackles, 6 PDs
LB Demario Davis NEW ORLEANS Arkansas St. 165 tackles, 6.5 sacks
LB Haason Reddick (*) PHILADELPHIA Temple 63 tackles, 16 sacks
LB Bobby Wagner (*, $) SEATTLE Utah St. 199 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 INTs
CB L'Jarius Sneed KANSAS CITY La. Tech 108 tackles, 3 INTs
S Tashaun Gipson SAN FRANCISCO Wyoming 79 tackles, 5 INTs
S Kevin Byard ($) TENNESSEE Middle Tenn. 147 tackles, 5 INTs
CB Tariq Woolen (&) SEATTLE UTSA 63 tackles, 6 INTs


K Younghoe Koo ATLANTA Ga. Southern 32 FGs, long 54
LS Patrick Scales CHICAGO Utah St.
P Ryan Stonehouse (&) TENNESSEE Colorado St. 53.1 yds per punt
ST Jeremy Reaves (*) WASHINGTON So. Alabama 17 ST tackles

*- All-Pro First or Second team selection

$- Pro Bowl selection for NFC or AFC

&- All Rookie team