John Carroll has produced more than 20 current NFL coaches, scouts, and executives in the National Football League. The connection between JCU and the NFL was highlighted recently in ‘The Athletic.’ From more well-known campus figures such as Don Shula and Josh McDaniels to JCU grads coaching at the high school and college levels, author Greg Auman’s feature story on JCU’s NFL pipeline runs deep with members of the Blue Streak community.
An excerpt from the article reads:
The Blue Streaks — an observer in the 1920s said “they’re tearing around like a blue streak” — now play in Don Shula Stadium, built in 2003 and named after the 1951 graduate, whose legacy has been passed on through generations of coaches. In 1994, when he was honored at a basketball game on campus, one of the students asked to show him around was defensive lineman Greg Roman, now 48 and last year’s NFL Assistant Coach of the Year as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator.
“I was one of his helpers when he was there, so that was pretty neat,” Roman said. “I’ve had interactions with Don, and he was always great to talk to, very interested in hearing about my time at John Carroll, how I got into coaching. There were values that were instilled in us: hard work, humility, the Jesuit thinking, outside the box and seeing things from all angles, service, trying to help others do better. All those things are wrapped up into a ball.”
The largest concentration of John Carroll alums in the NFL is in New England, where offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler were all teammates with the Blue Streaks in the late 1990s.
Caserio played quarterback, McDaniels started as a quarterback and moved to receiver, and Ziegler was a kick returner on the same teams. New England also has tight ends coach Nick Caley, a 2006 grad; midwest scout D.J. Debick, a 2013 grad; and scouting assistant Alex Brooks, who worked as a JCU assistant in 2018.
“You’re very proud of the guys that have come out of John Carroll and really made a career for themselves in the National Football League,” McDaniels said Tuesday. “That’s not easy to do. There’s a lot of hard work and grunt work required to get your foot in the door and then try to swim upstream and get to a position where you have an opportunity to really impact a team. There’s been a lot of guys that have been able to do that. … We obviously have a lot of them here, which is a unique situation for us to be able to work together and take on the challenges of an NFL season.”
Recent John Carroll Football players and staff have made a noticeable impact in NFL circles, with Rams first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley leading the charge for a new wave of Blue Streaks in the NFL. Auman secured interviews with many of JCU’s high-profile NFL connections -- their quotes can be found throughout the article.
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