Keeping Score

C-USA Top 5: Bears' Marshall ranks as C-USA's top NFL player

Conference USA has a good representation among the better players in the NFL, but a handful of players stand apart as the best professionals to come out of the conference.

Brandon Marshall is a controversial figure, but there's no denying that the Central Florida product has become one of the best receivers in the NFL over the last decade.

Marshall had just one season in C-USA when UCF moved into the league in 2005, earning second-team all-conference that season.

In Marshall's eight seasons in the NFL, he has five seasons of at least 100 catches.

Those numbers put Marshall at the top of this C-USA Top 5, which ranks the best NFL players to come out of the league:

1. Brandon Marshall (UCF, 2002-05): A fourth-round selection in 2006, Marshall split much of his UCF career between safety and receiver. Once the Denver Broncos picked him up, it was apparent that his future was on the offensive side of the ball. Marshall has been to the Pro Bowl five times and was named first-team All-Pro in 2012.

2. Roddy White (UAB, 2001-2004): One of the most prolific receivers in the NFL, White has been to the Pro Bowl four times with the Atlanta Falcons. White has the Falcons' career record for receiving yards with 9,436. The Falcons selected White with the 27th overall pick in 2005.

3. Chris Johnson (East Carolina, 2004-07): The speedy Johnson had one of the better seasons for a running back in NFL history when he rushed for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009 for the Tennessee Titans. While he hasn't quite repeated that success, Johnson has eclipsed 1,000 yards in each of his six seasons in the NFL. Now a New York Jet, Johnson has reached the Pro Bowl three times and was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2009.

4. Matt Forte (Tulane, 2004-07): One of the steadier running backs in the NFL, Forte is a major threat as a runner and a receiver. He likely deserves more than the two Pro Bowl invitations that he's received. He has rushed for 929 yards or more and had at least 44 catches in each of his six seasons in the NFL.

5. Sam Madison (Louisville, 1993-96): He helped give the Miami Dolphins one of the better cornerback duos in the NFL when he was paired with Southern Miss product Patrick Surtain. Madison made the Pro Bowl four times and made 38 career interceptions in 12 NFL seasons.