Best NFL players who did not go to college: Find out who is on the list
As the saying goes, there is being book-smart, and then there is being street-smart. For most athletes, going or even completing school is not always something vital unless they want to. That said, you will find some successful athletes who did not even complete their junior secondary education. NFL has seen some of the best players who did not go to college but have still managed to get a hold of massive wins to their names and accumulate lots of wealth.
Unlike NBA, where one ought to have some prior training beforehand, it is somewhat different in the national football league, as prior training is an option. However, it does not necessarily imply that every player should skip classes. In fact, three quatres of the greatest NFL players in the world went to college.
Top 10 NFL players who did not go to college
According to an in-depth analysis, SportsBrief has compiled a list of some of the best NFL players who did not go to college but still outshine those who did.
10. Lawrence Okoye
Although he never picked up a ball in college, Okoye still managed to reach the league heights when he played for the San Francisco 49ers for a short period. Even though he did not make it to the field and quit in 2017, he still managed to partake in a number of different practice squads.
9. Vince Papale
If Disney can make an entire movie about a particular NFL journey and then title it Invincible, then it would probably be safe to say that the journey began in quite an interesting way.
Certainly, this was the case for Vince Papale, who was working as a part-time bartender when he was first given a chance to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles. However, Vince waited to drop out of college instead of taking the role while still studying.
He made 41 appearances for the league before he stopped playing in 1978.
8. Antonio Gates
Unlike Vince Papale and Lawrence Okoye, who completely did not attend college, Antonio Gates did and played basketball but not football at any point during his college experience. As of January 2023, Antonio is among the best NFL players to make it to the league without ever playing in college.
He played from 2003 to 2018, recording over 116 touchdowns and 955 catches by the end of his career. He is one of the best NFL players who did not play in college.
7. Ray Seals
Another famous NFL player who did not attend NFL classes is Ray Seals, yet he still found his way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team between 1989 and 1993. There he played on the defensive end and a nose tackle.
After some time, he left for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1994 and later the Caroline Panthers, where he made appearances in 14 games.
6. Saverio Rocca
At the sixth position sits Saverio Rocca, who Philadelphia Eagles took a chance on despite having no background in college football. However, before moving to the United States of America, Saverio had played a slightly altered version of American football.
He played his first season at 34 and retired in 2013.
5. Efe Obada
Efe Obada is among the few players who still play in the NFL today. Playing in the defensive end, he has had a hugely successful career that did not start on any particular college pitch.
He garnered over 50 tackles to his name across 42 games, and just at 29 years old, he is yet to achieve more.
4. Rico Gathers
To date, Rico Gather's career is one of the shortest ever recorded in the national football league history. But even so, he managed to play in 15 games with three receptions for 45 yards and a record of two touchdowns.
He had displayed so many skills at the beginning of his career that he was expected to be the next Jason Witten for the Dallas Cowboys. However, the team replaced him and moved on.
3. Eric Swann
Eric is the third player on the list who did not attend college but played for the Arizona Cardinals when he first started out and then later for the Carolina Panthers in 2000 before retiring.
He finalized his career with a record of 126 appearances, 46.5 total sacks, six forced fumbles, and 386 solo tackles. Even though he no longer plays in the league, he is still regarded as one of the best athletes who did not attend college.
2. Michael Lewis
Most fans have, time and again, inquired if any NFL players did not go to college. By now, you can tell that there is a bunch of them. In Michael Lewis' case, he did attend college but never for a day got involved with football.
Instead, his passion by then was college basketball. That changed years later when he became the wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints from 2001 to 2007. He had made 76 appearances in the league before finally retiring.
1. Brian Banks
At the first position sits Brian Banks, who also never played American football in college. The only time he had begun displaying a keen interest in the sport, he was in jail over an alleged sexual assault crime.
However, even though the case was later dismissed, Brian had already lost his chance to join college and play football. But that was not the end for him, as Atlanta Falcons later took him and spent that entire summer season training him.
Even though a couple of NFL players did not go to college, it has not deterred the positive influence each of them has on the national football league. Besides, most of them often appear more skilled than those who have actually had college experience.
READ ALSO: Brothers in the NBA: Siblings who played in the NBA together
Sportbrief has recently reported about siblings who play in the National Basketball Association, NBA. The NBA has seen numerous siblings play the same sport and even on the same team.
Nothing is more refreshing than playing with your sibling and, even better, playing on the same team. Follow the link above to find some of the brothers who play in the NBA.