5 Athletes Who Proved It’s Never Too Late to Play College Sports | 2aDays

5 Athletes Who Proved It’s Never Too Late to Play College Sports

The college recruiting process can be tough. Not every high school athlete receives an offer, but that’s not a reason to give up. Some of the greatest athletes of all time were overlooked in high school. These guys could have called it quits but instead kept on working towards achieving their goals. They are a testament to the power of determination, hard work, and a persevering attitude. To provide you with motivation to always keep chasing your dreams, we have compiled a list of athletes who went unnoticed in high school but went on to achieve greatness.

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson
Before he became an NFL Pro Bowler, Jordy Nelson was a high school quarterback from Riley, Kansas. His dream was to play college football at the highest level, but by the end of his senior year he had not received a single DI offer. This did not stop Nelson from pursuing his dream. He enrolled at Kansas State University and walked onto the football team as a defensive back. Eventually he was moved to wide receiver and played well enough to be named a Consensus All-American, First-Team All-Big 12, and an NFL draft pick.

Related: 5 Best Walk-Ons in College Football History

Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner
Yankees veteran Brett Gardner was not recruited by a single college team. He thought of giving up on playing college ball, but his father urged him to walk on at the College of Charleston. Unfortunately, he failed to make the team his freshman year. This did not dissuade Gardner. He refused to give up and made it onto the Charleston practice squad. Eventually Gardner made the starting roster and from there he became a star. He led his team to two NCAA tournament appearances and became a third round MLB draft pick. 

Related: Rate your Coaches, Facilities and Campus Visits

Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard
Former MLB slugger Ryan Howard received zero interest from any major college programs. Undeterred, Howard chose to walk on at Missouri State University and prove his doubters wrong. He finished his collegiate career with 50 home runs, 183 RBI’s, and a .335 batting average. Following college, Howard was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and became an MLB All Star, NL MVP, and World Series Champion.

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace is one the most dominant defensive players the NBA has ever seen. However, he was not always so highly touted. He began his collegiate career at Cuyahoga Community College. Wallace dominated at Cuyahoga, and following his freshman season, he transferred to Virginia Union University. During his career at Virginia Union, Wallace led his team to two Division II Final Fours and was named a First-Team All-American. After graduating, he signed with the Washington Wizards and went on to become an NBA All Star.

Related: 3 Basketball Underdogs Who Surprised Us All

Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen
Coming out of high school, Scottie Pippen was an undersized player without any scholarship offers. Fortunately, his high school coach convinced Central Arkansas‘ Coach Don Dyer to take Pippen as a walk-on manager. Dyer saw potential in Pippen and eventually brought him onto his team. This was a decision he would never regret. Pippen blossomed at UCA and was named a two time NAIA All-American. He was later drafted by the Chicago Bulls and teamed up with Michael Jordan to create one of the greatest duos in NBA history. 

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