Blanchard is hardly the only professional athlete who attended a smaller, lesser-known institution. The athletes on this list are shining examples of why finding the appropriate fit academically, athletically, and socially is so vital. They represent the diversity of college sports and show that no matter where you go or what sport you play, there will be opportunities for greatness.
Here are 10 college athletes who went on to have successful careers in the NFL:
Lorenzo Brown - Running Back - Southern Mississippi
The son of former NFL running back Merril Brown, Lorenzo Brown started off his career at Southern Mississippi as one of the top running backs in school history. After appearing in 13 games over two seasons, he left school after failing to reach an agreement with the Golden Eagles on becoming their starting quarterback. After leaving Southern Mississippi, Brown spent time with the New York Jets and Chicago Bears of the NFL before joining his father's team, the Baltimore Ravens, as a backup running back.
Kenny Hilliard - Running Back - Connecticut
After playing three years of football at UConn, Kenny Hilliard decided to forgo his final season and turn pro. The all-time leading rusher at UConn was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 1998 NFL draft. He played four seasons with the Falcons, Oakland Raiders, and Denver Broncos before retiring.
Every elite institution seeks well-rounded student-athletes with great academic achievement, such as a high GPA, exceptional test scores, and tough high school courses on their transcripts. Some schools also prefer players who have demonstrated leadership abilities by taking on special projects within the community or on campus. Finally, some schools seek out specific skills that can't be found anywhere else on the roster, such as big-game experience or athletic talent at a different position.
All of these qualities are important, but what ultimately determines whether you get recruited by a college program is your ability to play basketball.
Most programs will send representatives from various departments to visit high school games to evaluate the player's overall skill set and determine his/her fit within their system. These people will include coaches, trainers, physical therapists, nutritionists, psychologists, and managers. They will also sometimes bring in former players and recruits themselves to give an inside look at what it takes to make it in the sport.
Often times teams will even contact other schools to see if they can steal players away from other programs. This is especially true for top-level programs when they come up against one another in the recruiting process. For example, if Duke wants to add a player to its roster, it will often call North Carolina to see if there is any interest in trading recruits.
Because of the demands of their sport, student athletes may be unable to pursue a certain college academic degree, leading to their desired job. As a result, it is difficult for them to choose a major that would give them with employment options outside of athletics. However, this situation can change if they decide to focus on education instead, allowing them to continue their career in sports management or coaching.
Student athletes can choose a major that is not related to sports. For example, an athlete who wants to become a doctor can do so by studying biology and physics at a four-year college or university. While most sports are considered team activities, this person could still go into competition against other students in dual-eligibility events such as basketball or baseball.
Some colleges have combined sports programs with traditional academic divisions (such as business or engineering) to create majors specifically designed for athletic students. For example, an athlete who wants to become a football coach can study kinesiology at a university that has a joint program with his or her preferred professional league. There, he or she could get training from experienced coaches while also getting a degree in the background of sports science.
Although college athletes cannot pick their major when they first enroll at a school, this restriction does not apply to graduate students.
Approximately 2% of high school players receive athletic scholarships to participate in college. NCAA student-athletes graduate at a greater rate than the general student body on average. Many factors influence whether an athlete decides to continue playing after high school including finances, career goals, and personal issues.
The number of women's sports has increased significantly since 1980 but the number of men's sports has stayed about the same. Women's basketball, softball, and soccer have the highest rates of participation among high school athletes.
Almost all major college athletics programs have scholarship programs for their athletes. A few large schools that do not offer any sort of financial aid are Harvard University, Stanford University, and Yale University. These schools allow certain students to play for them without paying anything. But they are not considered amateur teams because they can ask anyone to fill out a waiver form saying they will not be paid.
This means that college athletes are required to pay taxes on any income they make from playing sports. The amount of income that would cause these individuals to lose their amateur status cannot be determined simply by looking at it, instead, a tax attorney should be consulted.
Only around 2% of NCAA student-athletes go on to play professionally. In actuality, the majority of student-athletes rely on their studies to prepare them for life after college. Education is critical. There are about 460,000 NCAA student-athletes, with the majority becoming pro in fields other than sports. Only around 2% making it into the NFL, NBA, or MLB.
The odds may seem low, but there are several reasons why so many people don't realize how few athletes ever make it big time. First of all, the number of players who make it through college athletic programs is extremely high. It's estimated that out of every group of 100 students, 95 will graduate. That means that only 5 will fail to do so. Secondly, the number of athletes who choose to pursue sports careers is even higher than the number who actually play one. So, out of the total population of students at NCAA colleges and universities, only some of them will become athletes. Last but not least, the number who go on to make it big time is even lower because most athletes will never be able to support themselves through sports alone.
In conclusion, the odds of an athlete playing professional sports are very low. The number who make it through college educationally is high, but the number who go on to make a living at it is even lower.