21 Celebs You Didn't Know Were College Athletes

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·6 min read
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1.Emma Watson

Emma Watson poses on red carpet

Actor Emma Watson is probably best known for her roles as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series and Belle in the live-action Disney adaption of Beauty and the Beast.

In 2010, Watson joined the Brown University field hockey team. So she majored in English literature in the classroom and majored in kicking ass on the field.

Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

2.Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington speaking at a panel

I probably can't list all of Denzel Washington's great movies, so I will leave it at saying he is one of the more recognizable faces in movies.

While attending college at Fordham University, Washington played basketball as a guard while he was earning a BA in drama and journalism.

Jim Spellman / Getty Images

3.John Goodman

John Goodman at a Freeform event

Known for roles from playing Dan in Roseanne to voicing Sully in Monsters, Inc., John Goodman has had quite the acting career.

Before he was a household name, he played college football at Southern Missouri State University as a lineman. His collegiate career never really happened due to injuries, so his focus went toward acting, and the rest is history.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

4.Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones at Emmys

Leslie Jones was an SNL darling as far as cast members. Her career as a comedian has even led her to hosting her own shows like Supermarket Sweep.

She went to Chapman University on a basketball scholarship. Picturing Jones in the paint on defense, that must have been pretty intimidating, especially if she was ready to roast your entire life.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

5.Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson at the Jungle Cruise premiere

Former wrestler turned Hollywood movie star Dwayne Johnson has found profitable success on the big screen.

Johnson played college football for the Miami Hurricanes and was on the 1991 national championship team. He went undrafted and tried the CFL, but his calling was in the wrestling ring, where he became "The Rock" for the millions...and millions of fans.

Phillip Faraone / Getty Images

6.Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves at Knock Knock premiere

I wouldn't have taken Keanu Reeves as a hockey player, but he played at De La Salle College as a goalie. I would hate to see what John Wick could do with an ice skate. Other than John Wick, Reeves has had a very successful acting career throughout his life, from Speed to The Matrix.

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

7.Joel McHale

Joel McHale joined the Washington Huskies football team in the '90s. Famous for shows like The Soup and Community, McHale built up quite the résumé in TV and movies.

Joel McHale joined the Washington Huskies football team in the '90s. Famous for shows like The Soup and Community, McHale built up quite the résumé in TV and movies.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

8.Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali smiles at a press event

In 1996, Mahershala Ali attended St. Mary's College (CA) on a basketball scholarship. He lost interest in a sports career and turned to theater.

Ali has been taking on the film industry by storm since the late 2010s, starring in Moonlight, Green Book (for both films, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), and is set to lead in Marvel's Blade.

Shannon Finney / Getty Images

9.2 Chainz

2 Chainz on stage with a microphone

2 Chainz (Tauheed Epps) played basketball for Alabama State University.

Best known for his solo rap career, which took of in 2012, under the name 2 Chainz, he has become one of the more recognizable names in the industry.

Paras Griffin / Getty Images

10.Jason Sudeikis

Jason Sudeikis holds two Emmy awards

Jason Sudeikis is best known for his time as part of the SNL cast, but he is also an ex-athlete. He played basketball at Fort Scott Community College.

Once leaving basketball behind, he turned to improv comedy, which turned into an SNL spot, which then turned into great work in both TV and film.

Rich Fury / Getty Images

11.Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks sings at Biden inauguration

Imagine this man throwing a javelin. Because that is exactly what he did at Oklahoma State University in the early '80s.

When he was done throwing javelins, he went on to have an amazing career in country music and is one of the top best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 170 million records.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

12.Ed O'Neill

Ed O'Neill at the Sundance Film Festival

You probably know him from Modern Family, but Ed O'Neill has had quite the career in athletics.

Before taking on hilarious dad roles, O'Neill played college football at Ohio University and Youngstown State (after transferring). He almost got a spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster in 1969, but was up against all-time great "Mean" Joe Greene at the same position.

Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

13.Terry Crews

Terry Crews at AGT red carpet

Best known for his roles in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Everybody Hates Chris, Crews was actually a defensive end for Western Michigan University. He actually bounced around the NFL for a bit before ultimately taking on roles in TV and movies.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

14.Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal smiles at a SAG event

Both monsters from Monsters, Inc. made the list!

Billy Crystal, a hardcore New York Yankee fan, made the baseball team at Marshall University, but never got the chance to play, and instead, attended Nassau Community College.

Vincent Sandoval / Getty Images

15.Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts speaks at a panel

A famous newscaster on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts was an impressive athlete in her early years.

Roberts attended Southeastern Louisiana University on a tennis scholarship and ended up playing for the women's basketball team.

Meg Oliphant / Getty Images

16.Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum in a tux

Channing Tatum attended Glenville State College to play football but eventually dropped out.

He has found success in acting and is probably most known for his roles in the Magic Mike series and the 21 Jump Street reboot.

Theo Wargo / Getty Images

17.Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair holds up WWE women's championship belt

Bianca Crawford (Belair) was a track star at the University of Tennessee, where she earned All-SEC and All-American. She was also on the SEC's academic honor roll in 2011 and 2012.

Now in the WWE, she is quickly becoming the biggest rising star in pro wrestling.

Jason Koerner / Getty Images

18.Carl Weathers

Carl Weathers poses on red carpet

Weathers played football as a defensive end for San Diego State University. He was good enough to make the NFL in 1970 as an undrafted free agent for the Oakland Raiders. Playing extras in movies eventually led to him becoming quite the star in the '80s.

The man's been involved in Star Wars, Predator, and Rocky...how can I not love him?

Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

19.Ellie Kemper

Ellie Kemper at Power of Purpose event

She was hilarious in Bridesmaids and has dabbled in voice acting in the 2010s, but Kemper was actually a field hockey champion at Princeton in 1998 before focusing on her acting career.

Although, she admits she was a bit of a benchwarmer, but a champ is a champ.

Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

20.Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart speaks at podium

Jon Stewart played soccer at William & Mary.

The comedian is best known as the O.G. of The Daily Show and has a new show on HBO debuting this fall. Most recently, he is known for his great advocacy for the 9/11 First Responders Bill.

Shannon Finney / Getty Images

21.Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker in black brimmed glasses

Forest Whitaker has had an impressive acting career, but who knows if it would have happened if he had played sports in college.

He was ready to play on a football scholarship at California State Polytechnic University, but due to a back injury, his major changed to music, and then to acting once he transferred to USC. He then went on to star in numerous films and win countless awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Paras Griffin / Getty Images

Any famous people you know about that played college sports not on this list? Comment below!