15 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Played Sports In College
When growing up you have an idea of what you want to be in life. The career you want seems to be so vivid. As you get older that most likely changes to something else, more than once. This is the same for celebrities. Not all of them planned on being actors. Some of them had dreams of being athletes. Many of the celebrities that you see on the television and movie screens were once on the fields and courts. College is where they made the decision leave sports alone. Whether is was because of an injury, or lack of enthusiasm, the following celebrities left their athletic aspirations at the collegiate level.
Steve Carell Steve Carell is a comedic actor and a good one at that. He was the star of the television show The Office and the Anchorman movies. It could be hard to believe that funny man Steve Carell was once a very serious hockey player. Carell played goalie and had an opportunity to play at the Division-I level, but instead opted to play for a Division-III school at Denison University. He has said that he realized in high school he had to either commit to hockey full-time as a potential career or simply keep playing for the fun of it. He still plays in a recreational league in Orange County, California.
Rick Ross The rapper Rick Ross has a larger than life persona. He has often referred to himself as the Boss. It is a fitting title considering that he is the CEO of Maybach Music Group and owner of a chain of Wing Stops. Before building an empire made of records and chicken wings, Ross was a football player. He earned a football scholarship to Albany State University. He only lasted a single season at Albany State University before leaving school.
Josh Duhamel Before appearing in All My Children and Transformers, Josh Duhamel was a quarterback at his high school in North Dakota. Duhamel earned a scholarship to play football at nearby Minot State University. While in college he began modeling and acting. He studied biology and intended to go on to dental school after graduation. A sudden move to northern California changed all of that.
Billy Baldwin Billy Baldwin is one of the Baldwin fellas and is known for acting as well as his siblings. The star of Backdraft, was also a member of Binghamton University’s wrestling team. After a standout prep career on Long Island, Baldwin went on to a wrestling career at New York University. Baldwin has long left the mat, but still has love for the sport. Baldwin helped to save NYU’s wrestling team and has also been involved in trying to bring wrestling back to the Olympics.
Joel McHale Joel McHale, was the star of Community and is the host of The Soup. What many people may not suspect is that he was an all around athlete. He was recruited to the University of Washington for the school’s rowing team, but decided to try out for the football team instead. McHale tried out as a walk-on and made the team as a tight end. He only played one season, but that was the year the team went to the Rose Bowl.
2 Chainz Tauheed Epps, better known as 2 Chainz one of the biggest rappers on the scene. He is also one of the tallest. 2 Chainz stands at 6′ 5″. He put that height to good use when he was in college. After winning to Georgia state championships in high school, he was heavily recruited by Division I schools. He ultimately ended up going to Alabama State. He was on the team for only one season before he jumped head first into the music industry.
John Goodman John Goodman has been able to play many different role, a husband and family man on Rosanne, a traveling blues player in The Blues Brothers, and Babe Ruth in The Babe. Goodman was also a great football player as well. He earned an athletic scholarship to Southwest Missouri State. Goodman would have landed in the NFL if injuries did not get in his way.
Burt Reynolds Burt Reynolds is the star of countless classic movies that include Deliverance, Boogie Nights, White Lightning and both the original and remake of The Longest Yard. His football playing skills wasn’t him just acting. Reynolds had plenty of real-life experience mixing it up on the football field. He was a running back at Florida State University. A great player, Reynolds would have his football career derailed by injuries.
Phil Robertson Phil Robertson has long been a Louisiana resident. That is not hard to believe. What may be difficult for some to believe is that he was not always a duck hunting expert. Robertson was once the starting quarterback at Louisiana Tech in the 1960’s. While Robertson currently sports long hair and a long beard, he played college football with a crew cut and a clean-shaven face. He was known for his strong arm, throwing for 2,237 career yards and tossing 12 touchdowns from 1965 to 1967, but he elected not to play his senior year, clearing the way for future NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
Jon Stewart Believe it or not but Jon Stewart also has an athletic background. Long before taking on the hosting duties of The Daily Show, Stewart was a member of William and Mary’s collegiate soccer team. Stewart often downplays his abilities, but he racked up 10 goals and 12 assists during his three years on the team. His comedic skills were also a talent that he used in the locker room according to his former coach.
Denzel Washington Denzel Washington has had a long and storied film career that has included a number of roles in which he portrayed characters involved in athletics. In one of his most memorable roles, Washington acted opposite NBA star Ray Allen in Spike Lee’s He Got Game. Playing basketball is nothing new for Washington. He played on the collegiate level at Fordham University under soon to be NBA coach P.J. Carlesimo. According to a teammate, Patrick O’Connell, Washington “was a tremendous athlete, extremely fast and quick. He could jump. He was quicker than the ball. He had a nice handle, but not great. He was physical. He could take contact, go to the basket and finish. He shot his jump shot from the top of his head, it was kind of funky. But he was tough and could flat-out play defense.”
Mark Harmon Mark Harmon doesn’t is famous for playing Special Agent Gibbs on the television show NCIS. On the show he is the leader of hit squad. Harmon was also the leader of the UCLA football team as their quarterback in the 70’s. He didn’t win a Heisman like his father, but he led UCLA to one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history, as UCLA defeated two-time champ Nebraska to snap the Cornhuskers’ 32-game winning streak in 1972.
Tommy Lee Jones It may be hard to imagine Tommy Lee Jones as a young guy, but he once was. Jones is known for his performances in Lincoln, The Fugitive, and No Country For Old Men. Tommy Lee Jones has been a Hollywood leading man for the better part of five decades. Before his acting career took off, Jones was a jack of all trades at Harvard University. He played on the offensive line while studying English literature and rooming with future Vice President Al Gore. He earned All-Ivy League honors for his skills on the football field, but opted to pursuing an acting career in acting rather than trying for the NFL.
Suge Knight Controversial rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight has a reputation for being a hard-nosed negotiator. Stories have been whispered that he literally pushed people around to get what he wanted. Before becoming a menacing music executive Suge Knight pushed people around on the football field. He played defensive end at UNLV, lettering for two seasons in 1985 and 1986 before briefly playing in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams.
Ed O’Neill Ed O’Neil is famous for playing Al Bundy on the show Married With Children. He now plays Jay Pritchett on the show Modern Family. His acting career came second to his athletic career. O’Neill earned a scholarship to Ohio University before transferring to Youngstown State. A defensive end, O’Neill was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was eventually cut during training camp, which some how led him to acting.