Most would agree that the odds of playing in the National Football League are slim, and that’s even after getting recognized as a hotshot collegiate star. Interestingly, the NFL boasts the highest percentage of college grads from any professional sports league.
Can a talented high school player avoid college and make the pros?
It’s tough. Only one in 50 NCAA players are NFL-drafted. High school athletes are at nine in 10,000 for getting to the pros.
Here are five top NFL players who skipped college:
- Ray Seals. The talented star said no to college and began his career in the Empire Football League. The defensive end was so impressive that he ended up with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Seals played for eight strong seasons professionally.
- Eric Swann. This fine athlete went to the Arizona Cardinals in the 1st round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He was initially going to attend North Carolina State University but was declared ineligible. Before making it, Swann played semi-pro with the Bay State Titans at $5 an hour.
- Sav Rocca. Rocca loved sports playing a different kind of ball for Australia’s football league. Scoring is achieved by kicking the pigskin through the four goal posts. At the late football rookie age of 36, punter Rocca was tapped in 2006 by the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Michael Lewis. The high school grad played arena and indoor football and also once drove a Budweiser truck. Lewis got recognized by the New Orleans Saints, and he never looked back. All-pro and a six-year career at age 30 weren’t easy, but Lewis defied the odds and won.
- Lawrence Okoye. He’s super smart but would rather be playing defensive lineman as he had with the Jets. Now, he’s with the Dolphins. Okoye is also an Olympic discus star and rugby standout, and when he’s done athletics, Oxford’s St Peter’s College has accepted him to study law there.