Countdown to kickoff: 40

Mark Ingram is one of 40 former Alabama players currently in the NFL. Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire

From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 40 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.

When University of Alabama coach Nick Saban pitches his football program, there are several points he can make to recruits. Two national titles in three seasons, two SEC title game appearances, the allure of being part of yet another top-5 recruiting class.

But the number he can really push to recruits is 40. As in, the total number of Alabama players currently playing in the NFL.

When you walk through the Mal Moore Athletic Facility, there's a room dedicated to just that. On the walls, there are images of former UA players like Mark Ingram and Marcell Dareus. When coaches sit down and talk with recruits, they can bring up an NFL player for nearly every position.

Wide receiver? Julio Jones played at UA. Quarterback? John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy played the position at UA. Defensive back? Dre Kirkpatrick and Javier Arenas both starred at UA. Linebacker? Well, you get the point.

(In case you didn't: Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Jarrell Harris, Jarret Johnson, Rolando McClain, DeMeco Ryans, Alex Watkins and Chavis Williams all played linebacker in Tuscaloosa before going off to careers in the NFL.)