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An Unlikely Football Power: John Carroll University

When the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons meet in Houston on February 5th, one university will be represented more than the rest.

John Carroll University is a Jesuit university 20 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, OH.  About 3,800 strong, the Blue Streaks compete at the Division III level in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) and have many notable alums across all walks of life.  From political figures like Tim Russert, to business CEO’s like Jack Breen (Sherwin-Williams), James Myers (PETCO), and John Rooney (US Cellular), John Carroll has an alumni network loaded with success stories.  But their real success is in football.

Hall of Fame coach Don Shula (Miami Dolphins) was the first JCU alum to make a name for himself in the NFL and the network has only gotten bigger since then.  Future hall of fame linebacker London Fletcher (Rams, Bills, Redskins) was next in line and from there, the Blue Streaks started to take over the league.  In Super Bowl LI alone, there will be eight Blue Streaks fighting for the Lombardi Trophy, more than any other school:

Atlanta Falcons:

  • Jesse Ackerman ’02, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

New England Patriots:

  • Nick Caserio ’98, Director of Player Personnel
  • Josh McDaniels ’99, Offensive Coordinator
  • David Ziegler ’01, Director of Pro Personnel
  • Jerry Shuplinski ’99, Assistant Quarterbacks Coach
  • Nick Caley ’06, Coaching Assistant
  • Frank Ross ’10, Pro Scout
  • DJ Debick ’13, Scouting Assistant

2016 was one of the best years in the history of the John Carroll football.  After a Division III semifinal appearance and the first outright OAC Championship since 1989 this past season, it’s only fitting that a Blue Streak wins a Super Bowl ring.  Regardless of who wins on February 5th, the Lombardi Trophy will be coming back to Cleveland.



Other notable JCU alums currently in football:

  • David Caldwell: GM, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Tom Telesco: GM, Los Angeles Chargers
  • Greg Roman: Senior Offensive Assistant and Tight Ends Coach, Baltimore Ravens
  • Chris Polian: Director of Player Personnel, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Brian Polian: Special Teams Coordinator, University of Notre Dame
  • Tom Arth: Head Coach, University of Tennessee – Chattanooga
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