Is it possible to have all the talent in the world and still not make it in professional sports? These five men would almost certainly say yes. They all showed they had what it took during their college ball years but none of them made it into the NFL.

Maurice Clarett, Ohio State


Maurice Clarett fought the NFL and the NFL won. Despite a truly incredible season at Ohio State as a freshman, he found himself fighting the NFL over their age restrictions to gain admittance to the league. He lost.

He did make it to the draft in 2005 and was even picked in the third round by the Denver Broncos. It was too late, though. By that point, he’d barely played ball in years—his contract ended up being canceled before he ever got to play a competitive game.

Tony Rice, Notre Dame

Athlon Sports

When you’re the only player in the history of Notre Dame to have thrown over 3,000 yards and rushed over 2,000, you’re going to expect an easy passage into the professional game. Sadly, for Tony Rice, it wasn’t meant to be.

His style of play had fallen out of favor in the NFL and he had to move to Canada to play football as a professional. He also spent some time in Europe, where this kind of football isn’t really played at all.

Collin Klein, Kansas State

Kansas City

Another absolute powerhouse at the college game was Collin Klein. His record at Kansas State was simply incredible. He threw nearly 5,000 yards and rushed nearly 2,500. He scored over 80 touchdowns, too! Still, he didn’t make the draft when he left school.

He was given a chance with the Houston Texans but they decided not to offer him a contract. Like Tony Rice, he ended up playing football over the border in Canada.

Charlie Ward, Florida State

Charlie Ward Website

Charlie Ward wasn’t denied entry to the NFL. Instead, he chose not to become a professional footballer. He could very well be the most embarrassingly over-talented American college sportsman of all time.

He could have played professional baseball, basketball, or football—despite his near 6,000 yards of throws and 49 touchdowns at college, it was basketball that called to him. He made $34 million playing for the New York Knicks for 11 years. It’s safe to say that he probably made the right decision.

Tommy Frazier, Nebraska

Wikimedia Commons

Tommy Frazier was straight up unlucky. He was a beast of a footballer who absolutely dominated the field on behalf of Nebraska. With nearly 2,000 rushing yards and 36 rushing touchdowns to his credit, Frazier was a shoo-in for the NFL.

However, disaster struck before he could go pro. Chron’s disease left him with a blood clot in his leg, ruling him out of the NFL. He also gave Canada a shot but his ill health forced him to retire just two weeks into his career there.