22 Notable People Who Were Athletes In College

Published on 11/22/2016
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College athletics have a lot of glamour and marketing surrounding the field but it is also a notorious place where future leaders and celebrities gain the necessary skills and experience to later go on and become extraordinary. We dug deep and found 22 notable people who went to achieve some pretty amazing things, and yes we excluded pro athletes because that’s just cheating.

Prince William

The future King of England used to play water polo at St. Andrews. I wonder if that’s how he dazzled his wife, Kate Middleton. I mean, it’s not like the man is a plumber.

Prince William

Prince William

Dwayne Johnson

All right, so we’re cheating here, a lot of people know this. Before Dwayne Johnson became a huge actor in Hollywood, he was a wrestler in WrestleMania (I love The Rock forever!), and before that, he was a defensive tackle for the University of Miami when they took the national championship in 1991. Sadly, an injury ended his football career but I don’t think we need to send him any chocolate gift baskets over the matter.

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Dwayne Johnson

Ronald Reagan

While everyone knows the former president was an actor, most don’t know that he played football for Eureka College. Oh yeah, he also was a model for art classes at his college. Is there anything the former president didn’t do? Maybe he once tried his hand at being a locksmith?

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Gerald Ford

Before he became the 38th president of the United States, he was a center and linebacker for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He was actually a college athlete when Michigan teams claimed back-to-back undefeated seasons and national titles in 1932 and 1933. Not bad for a future president.

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford

Burt Reynolds

Long before he graced the screen in Smokey and the Bandit, Reynolds was an incredible running-back for Florida State University. In fact, he was so talented that he was picked up by the Baltimore Colts. Sadly, a car accident ended that opportunity.

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

Barack Obama

Oh, Barack Obama, how we love you. The current president sure does love his basketball but it’s actually less documented that he played college hoops at Occidental College.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

John Kennedy

So many future presidents on this list. Most people know that JFK loved to play on the football field so much so that he played back when he attended Harvard University.

John Kennedy

John Kennedy

Dean Cain

Ironic that the man who go on to play ‘Superman’ was a crazy talented college footballer. When he graduated from high school, he had dozens of offers from colleges, but he finally chose Princeton. Wow, what a school to choose too. In one season, he got 11 interceptions and he even went on date supermodel, Brooke Shields. Here’s a fun fact, when he was in high school, he played football with Rob Lowe and Charlie Sheen. Very interesting.

Dean Cain

Dean Cain

John Stewart

The hilarious comedian and former host of The Daily Show was well known for serving up some screamers on the soccer field. It’s reported that he scored 10 goals while playing soccer for the College of William and Mary. Okay so he’s no David Beckman but who is?

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

Tom Selleck

This super famous actor, forever in our hearts as Richard from Friends, used to play basketball for the USC Trojans.

Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck

Ed O’Neill

Before he turned his attention to TV sitcoms, most notoriously on Married With Children, as the funnyman Al Bundy, O’Neil was a star defensive lineman at Youngstown State and Ohio University. He actually was so impressive that he got a tryout with the Steelers. Hollywood is glad he chose to go a different direction.

Ed Oneill

Ed O’Neill

Richard Nixon

Right, so his presidency is not something to gloat about but back in the day, he was a seriously feisty linebacker while studying at Whittier College.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

Forest Whitaker

Before Forest Whitaker would on to become “The Butler,” he actually played football for Cal Poly Pomona. Sadly though, he had to leave the sport when he suffered a bad back injury. Whatever the circumstance, we sure do love anything he’s starring in.

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker

John Wayne

Good ol’ John Wayne, played football back in college. And no, he didn’t play for Duke, he played football for the USC Trojans.

John Wayne

John Wayne

Matthew Fox

That’s right, this Lost character played college football. He was a wide receiver at Columbia University and during his time there, the team went 0-30. Crazy, right?

Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox

Nick Nolte

Actor and former model, Nick Nolte, was a college athlete at Eastern Arizona College. Although I think we can all agree that no one would want to clash with him at a game, actually no one wants to clash with him anywhere.

Nick Nolte

Nick Nolte

Jimmy Carter

Before Jimmy Carter became president, he was a peanut farmer. And before that, he played baseball and even ran cross country for the Navy. Not bad at all, former Mr. President, not bad at all.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Tommy Lee Jones

The incredibly talented actor and filmmaker was once the offensive guard at Harvard. In fact, his team went undefeated in 1968.

Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones

Dwight Eisenhower

Former general and former president of the United States, used to play football for the Army. Color me impressed.

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

Teddy Roosevelt

I was surprised to learn that former president, Teddy Roosevelt, used to box when he was studying at Harvard.

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Kirk Douglas

Before Douglas became a movie star, he actually wrestled at St. Lawrence University. Very interesting, I didn’t see that side of him.

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas

George H.W. Bush

This former president was more than just politics. He was a left-handed first baseman and even more impressive, the elder Bush was key in getting Yale to baseball’s College World Series in 1948.

George H W Bush

George H W Bush

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