(Stacker) – While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of its general athletics program, there are some for which football is more than merely a sport—it’s akin almost to a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to that school’s culture as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively scout and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously applied to by matriculating seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the collegiate level.

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Among the most notable college football empires are Notre Dame, the universities of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State—the list goes on and on.

But for every touchstone football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and cherished players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” himself, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Or Mississippi Valley State, which yielded 3-time Super Bowl champion and #1 Player in NFL History, as voted by the NFL Network, ‘49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal to professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. With the 2022 NFL draft set to take place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks from the New Mexico State Aggies using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Bobby Humphery (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 9, #247 overall in 1983
– Drafted by: NY Jets
– Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Siddeeq Shabazz (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 7, #246 overall in 2003
– Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Sean Manuel (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 7, #239 overall in 1996
– Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#17. Jeremy Harris (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 7, #208 overall in 2013
– Drafted by: Jacksonville Jaguars
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Jonte Green (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #196 overall in 2012
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#15. Leo Barker (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 7, #177 overall in 1984
– Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
– Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Troy Sienkiewicz (G)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #177 overall in 1995
– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#13. Jason Huntley (RB)
– Draft pick: Round 5, #172 overall in 2020
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#12. Kerry Locklin (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #145 overall in 1982
– Drafted by: Los Angeles Rams
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Joey Jackson (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 6, #139 overall in 1972
– Drafted by: NY Jets
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#10. Aaron Laing (TE)
– Draft pick: Round 5, #137 overall in 1994
– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#9. Jaleel Scott (WR)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #132 overall in 2018
– Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#8. Davon House (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #131 overall in 2011
– Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Cliff Olander (QB)
– Draft pick: Round 5, #128 overall in 1977
– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#6. Andy Dorris (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #93 overall in 1973
– Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
– Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Po James (RB)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #92 overall in 1972
– Drafted by: Philadelphia Eagles
– Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Joe Campbell (DE)
– Draft pick: Round 4, #91 overall in 1988
– Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
– Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#3. Duriel Harris (WR)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #80 overall in 1976
– Drafted by: Miami Dolphins
– Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Fredd Young (LB)
– Draft pick: Round 3, #76 overall in 1984
– Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
– Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (4 Pro Bowls)

#1. Walt Williams (DB)
– Draft pick: Round 2, #42 overall in 1977
– Drafted by: Detroit Lions
– Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)