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29 Baby Names Inspired By College Football Legends & Legacies

I’m talking Bear Bryant and the Notre Dame Leprechaun.

College football is more than just a weekly sporting event. For so many families, it’s an absolute pillar of tradition and joy and meaning. It’s a game of heart, steeped in customs, and honestly, it’s a wonder college football baby names aren’t topping the charts. Whether you’re naming your baby after your favorite college football quarterback or the city where your own alma mater’s football stadium stands, these baby names inspired by college football are a must to consider.

Look, nobody’s suggesting you name your baby Uga or Aggie (although that last one is really cute for a kid named Agatha), but there is a lot of baby name inspiration to be found in college football. For one thing, those college football coaches have some really unique names (looking at you, Dabo Swinney), and for another, some of your favorite college football players have become absolute legends over the years. All of football holds some history and tradition, but there’s something inherently special about a Saturday game day, and these baby names hold some of that magic, too. There are even some gender-neutral options available if you want more wiggle room in your baby names, and this list has everything from baby names inspired by college football mascots to some that just go straight for the championship coaches. But no matter what you name your baby, prepare yourself for those Saturday game days to get a little more chaotic — and a whole lot sweeter. (Even if your team doesn’t win.)



Bennett is a baby name that pays tribute to Stetson Bennett, the UGA quarterback responsible for securing two back-to-back championships after a 41-year drought. Stetson’s an equally good baby name, but I really love Bennett as an homage to The Dawgs. The name Bennett means “blessed, well-spoken” and has a cute nickname with Ben or Benny.



Tim Tebow is arguably one of the most well-known college football players of all time and has left quite a legacy in the sport. Tim is short for Timothy and means “God’s honor,” which tracks given Tebow’s outspoken Christian beliefs.



Lane is a really great gender neutral name for your little college football fan, especially if you’re rooting for Ole Miss. Lane Kiffin has been a college football coach for a long time, but has been head coach of the Rebels since 2020. Give your kiddo the name Lane if you’re a Mississippi fan or if you just like the meaning of the name Lane — “a small roadway or path.”



Joe Burrow may be quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals now, but before he was drafted, he was a lot of fun to watch on Saturday as quarterback of LSU. Burrow won the Heisman Trophy in 2019 and holds some pretty great college football stats. You can obviously go with the name Joseph if you want, but Joe (or Jo) could be a fun baby name on its own. The name also means “God will add.”



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Like Stetson Bennett, the name Kirby holds a lot of meaning for University of Georgia fans. Kirby Smart has been head coach of UGA since 2016 and now holds two back-to-back championships for the school from 2021 and 2022. Kirby can be a great gender neutral name, too, and it means “church settlement,” which gives it some major old English vibes.



Kyler Murray played for the University of Oklahoma and won the Heisman Trophy in 2018, throwing 40 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He’s pretty bad*ss on the field and is now the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Try the baby name Kyler on for size for your own little college football fan, as it’s great for both boys and girls and means “archer.”



Nick Saban is one of those names that just rings through college football fandoms. He’s been head coach of Alabama since 2007 and has earned six national titles for the school since then. He’s a pretty big deal and the name Nick won’t go unnoticed by other college football fans. You can go for Nicholas if you want, but Nick holds its own pretty well and means “victory of the people” — an apt description for Nick Saban.



OK, so this one is a really fun choice. Ralphie is a pretty unique little guy’s name, and it’s also the name of the live mascot for the Colorado Buffaloes. Ralphie the Buffalo is an institution in college football, and whether you’re a Colorado fan or not, this is a great choice for your own little family mascot. The name Ralphie means “a courageous counselor.”



The name Peyton on its own really needs no further introduction when you’re talking about college football. Peyton Manning was quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers in the ‘90s and went on to have an incredible career with the Indianapolis Colts (and later, the Denver Broncos). He’s another college football legend, and giving your baby his name will definitely tip off fellow football fans. Peyton is gender-neutral and means “fighting man’s estate.”



Go deep on your college football fandom with another nod to UGA. Sanford Stadium is where the Georgia Bulldogs play, and you can give your little one the name Sanford as a sweet tribute. Sanford is an old English name that literally means “sandy ford,” but obviously you want that college football connection to shine through instead.



The University of Alabama literally has a statue of this man and he even appears in Forrest Gump as a college football icon — the man is Bear Bryant. Formally his name is Paul, but he’s known as Bear and for being one of the best college football coaches of all time. Be sure to decorate the nursery in lots of red and white and maybe make sure your little Bear has some houndstooth on their coming home outfit.



Benny Beaver is the mascot for the Oregon State Beavers and makes for a pretty great baby name. (Benny, that is, not Beaver.) Benny can be short for Benjamin or Benito, but I love it on its own.



The University of Michigan Wolverines are also known as Big Blue and when they have home field advantage, that means they’re playing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The baby name Ann is such a sweet tribute to this city, and it also means “grace” or “graciousness.”



The name Deion means a whole lot to college football. Nicknamed “Primetime,” Deion Sanders played cornerback/defensive back for the Florida State Seminoles in the ‘80s and was (is!) an absolute legend. Now coaching for the University of Colorado, Deion is a college football institution (much like Ralphie the buffalo) and is just a great sports icon. The name Deion also means “follower of Dionysus” — and Dionysus is the god of pleasure in Greek mythology.



Georgia Tech’s mascot Buzz deserves a spot here on this list, too. Located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia Tech is a college football institution, and so is the yellowjacket mascot Buzz. It’s a pretty unique option for your little one, but a nice tie to football.



Johnny Manziel, also known as Johnny Football, didn’t really have a stellar NFL career, but he was a huge college football icon. Heisman Trophy winner and record-breaker, Johnny’s time at Texas A&M is the stuff of legends. Bring some of that energy to your baby with the name Johnny, which means “God is gracious.”



Goldy (or Goldie) is the sweetest baby name and is making a comeback, but I especially love it if you’re a fan of the University of Minnesota. The school’s mascot is Goldy the Golden Gopher, and it is just the cutest little nod to college football.



Here’s a deep cut: Theodore W. Drake was a sports artist in the ‘60s who designed The Leprechaun, the University of Notre Dame’s mascot. The Leprechaun is an absolute icon of college football, and naming your baby Theodore is such a sweet way to honor that legacy. The name Theodore also means “gift of God” or “divine gift.”



Woody Hayes was head coach of Ohio State from 1951 to 1978 and had a pretty spectacular career. Give your little one the nickname Woody (Hayes is also cute) as tribute to the coach with five national championships under his belt and 13 Big Ten conference championships.



Knox has become a very popular baby name in recent years, but is it because everyone’s giving their kid an ode to the University of Tennessee? Probably not. Located in Knoxville, the Volunteers are known for a whole lot of orange and a lot of rivalries, so it’s definitely a fun name to give your own little Volunteer.



Like Knox, this name pays tribute to a city represented well by its team. In this case, the name Austin pays homage to the University of Texas and the Longhorns football team.



Cam Newton may have had a pretty great NFL career with the Panthers, but before that, he was an Auburn University quarterback on Saturdays. The name Cam can be short for Cameron, but I love it on its own — it has a really great spunky quality.



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Oh you know where we’re going with this one. The University of Oklahoma’s fight song is “Boomer Sooner,” which is where this fun name comes from, but you could also name a kid Boomer after the blue-eyed horse mascot for the Oklahoma Sooners.



It’s just not ESPN College Gameday until you see Lee Corso. Give your baby the name Lee as a thank you to Lee Corso and all of his college football analysis on Saturdays.



Owen Field, also known as The Palace on the Prairie, is where the University of Oklahoma plays and is also great baby name inspiration. Owen means “noble born” or “young warrior,” so it has a lot of strength and tradition weaved into it outside of football.



Like Lee Corso, how do you even know who to root for if Kirk Herbstreit isn’t giving you all the info? (Just kidding. You know who to vote for.) Herbstreit has been on College GameDay forever and played for Ohio State in the early ‘90s, so his name is pretty synonymous with college football. The name Kirk also means “church,” so if you think of the football fields on a Saturday afternoon as your own version of a pew, this name has even more meaning.



The Rose Bowl is the 16th largest stadium in the world and is the home stadium of UCLA. Give your baby the name Rose in tribute to this iconic field and the Rose Bowl Game played every New Year’s Day.



Kyle Field is where the Texas A&M Aggies play, and it’s a great place to get some baby name inspiration. Kyle means “narrow” or “trust” and feels like a strong, steadfast choice for your little football fan.



Lou Holtz used to play and coach college football, and then became a college football analyst on CBS. He’s known for his predictions for seasons and rankings, so give your little fan the name Lou as an ode to this college football icon.

College football is a huge pillar of so many families — it can become just as much a part of your identity as anything else. So why not name your little one after your favorite college football moments and fandoms? These college football baby names offer a lot of inspiration for your future quaterback. (Or tight end. Or wide receiver. Or offensive lineman. Or just future college football fan.)