Celebrities who were college athletes

From Emma Watson to Denzel Washington, these celebrities got involved in college athletics. Get to know some of these former collegiate rowers, football and basketball players.

Celebrities who were college athletes
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Celebrities who were college athletes

Emma Watson

While studying at Brown University, Actress Emma Watson joined the school’s field hockey club in 2010.

(Photo by Laurent Viteur/WireImage)

Terry Crews

Terry Crews won a football scholarship for Western Michigan University and played defensive end. The WMU Broncos won the 1988 Mid-American Conference Championship and Crews earned All-Conference honors. The ‘Brooklyn 99’ actor entered the 1991 NFL Draft was picked by the Los Angeles Rams.

(Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson had a promising collegiate career with multiple offers attended the University of Miami on a football scholarship. He was defensive tackle while on the Hurricanes national championship team in 1991. Johnson entered the NFL draft, but was went unselected due to an injury sustained in college. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in criminology and physiology. Johnson would go on to short stint on the Canadian Football league.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 23: Dwayne Johnson makes a special appearance at a screening of 'Fighting With My Family' at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station on February 23, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Uzo Aduba

Uzo Aduba attended Boston University and was a star athlete on the school’s track team. The “Orange Is The New Black” actress is one of BU’s top sprinters of all time, nearly breaking the 55m as an undergrad.

(Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

Channing Tatum

Actor Channing Tatum played football and ran track in high school. The ‘Magic Mike’ star was voted Most Athletic and earned a college football scholarship. Tatum enrolled in West Virginia’s Glenville State College, but later dropped out.

(Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine Innovators Awards)

2 Chainz

Rapper 2 Chainz enrolled at Alabama State on scholarship and played for the basketball team from 1995 to 1997. He left before graduating and later finished when transferring Virginia State.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Tommy Lee Jones

Actor Tommy Lee Jones was an offensive guard on Harvard’s undefeated 1968 football team. He was nominated to the All-Ivy League team. Jones also played on the Harvard polo team and graduated with an English degree in 1969.

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali is the only Division I player to win two Oscars in history. He won a scholarship to play at St. Mary’s College in 1992 and played guard until 1996.

(Photo credit John Rasimus / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Mark Harmon

NCIS Star Mark Harmon received offers from the UCLA and Oklahoma football programs. Harmon chose UCLA and led the team to an impressive upset over Nebraska in his very first game. As a senior, Harmon won the National Football Association Award for All-Round Excellence. He graduated with a degree in communications in 1974.

(Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)

Bradley Cooper

Actor Bradley Cooper transferred to Georgetown after a short stay at Villanova. He joined the Hoyas rowing team and graduated in 1997 with a degree in English.

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Denzel Washington

Academy Award winner Denzel Washington played basketball while studying drama and journalism at Fordham University. He played guard for two seasons on the junior varsity team. Washington graduated from Fordham in 1977.

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Jon Stewart

Comedian Jon Stewart initially enrolled as a chemistry student at the College of William & Mary. He also joined the school’s soccer team and was a “high energy” player. Stewart even scored the game-winning goal against UConn, which advanced the team to the NCAA tournament. Stewart graduated as a psychology major in 1984.

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation)

Ed O’Neill

He might have played former Polk High School quarterback Al Bundy on ‘Married With Children,’ but actor Ed O’Neill was a real life football athlete. He won a scholarship to play for Ohio State, but transferred after his sophomore year for allegedly feuding with his coach and focusing on partying rather than studies. O’Neill ended up as defensive lineman at Youngstown and eventually signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 1969.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/FilmMagic)

Burt Reynolds

Late actor Burt Reynolds enrolled at Florida State on a football scholarship. After a series of unfortunate injuries, including a car crash that resulted in the loss of his spleen and a loss to North Carolina State in 1957, Reynolds decided to give up the sport.

(Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Forest Whitaker

Actor Forest Whitaker won a scholarship to play football at Cal Poly Pomona in 1979. However, a back injury rendered the future Academy Award winner unfit to play. Whitaker changed his major to music, but would eventually transfer to USC and graduate as an acting major.

(Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)

Josh Duhamel

Actor Josh Duhamel played quarterback at Minot State University. He dropped out a few units shy of graduating, but completed his undergrad later in 2005.

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Joel McHale

Comedian Joel McHale was recruited to the University of Washington rowing team. He ended up on the football team, but never started in a game. McHale graduated with a history degree in 1995.

(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Tom Selleck

Actor Tom Selleck enrolled at USC on a basketball scholarship. He played forward for the Trojans from 1965 to 1967.

(Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images)


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