Can You Play In The NFL Without Going To College?

The vast majority of NFL players play college football in order to get their foot in the door of the NFL. But are you able to play in the NFL without attending college at all?

Any player is able to enter the NFL so long as you have been out of high school for three years. Football players do not need to go to college in order to play in the NFL or enter the NFL draft.

The main reason the players attend colleges and play football is for the training and the education.

Like it or not division one colleges are the best place to develop yourself as a football player. This means if players are serious about their goals to reach the NFL their best path is to go to college.

In college, they will have state of the art facilities, the best coaches, nutritionists, and trainers in the United States.

This sort of treatment is not available outside of American colleges which is why football players all over the world will usually attend college to play football.

Additionally going to college as a football player is a great way to earn a free education. Only a small number of collegiate football players take the step to the NFL.

This means for many college football is the last football they will play. Many colleges throughout the United States give out scholarships to football players. These scholarships pay for the expenses of going to school.

For many talented athletes, football gives them the ability to attend a school they would not be able to if it weren’t for their scholarship.

How Do Players Get To The NFL Without Going To College?

Now that you know you can play in the NFL without playing college football you may be wondering what sorts of players take this path. After all the vast majority of players in the NFL attend a division one football program.

Multi-Sport Athletes

One of the most common paths to playing in the NFL without college football happens with multi-sport athletes.

During their athletic careers, some professionals decide to switch sports, every now and then this happens later in a player’s career. When this happens these players are often past the age of needing to play collegiate football.

Many pro sports do not follow the same path of attending college in order to further themselves in the sport. In many cases, an athlete will avoid going to college in order to improve their chances of going pro in their sport.

When these players decide to make to switch to football they will not have had any experience of playing football at the college level.

It wouldn’t make any sense for the NFL to ban these players due to them not attending college. Instead, these players are welcomed into the NFL, though without having the training of college football the odds are often stacked against them.

Foreign Players

Another common path for non-collegiate NFL players occurs when they come from a different part of the world. Football players in North America will usually attend college once they realize they have the talents to play football.

Some athletes that do not grow up in this part of the world do not realize their football talent until later in their life. For these players, the time to go to college has often passed once they start living in the United States.

This is sort of path is especially common with kickers and punters who realize their ability to play special teams in football late into their life. These positions can play well in their later years which often means there are plenty of late bloomers.

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