Where did the rock play football ? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might be one of the world’s biggest celebrities. Whether from his time in WWE, his near-countless endeavors on the silver screen, the NBC sitcom about his life, or even through his social media, The Rock is everywhere. And that includes being in Boulder this week for the Colorado vs. Colorado State rivalry game in college football.
With College GameDay in town, Dwayne Johnson was the guest picker. Throughout the ESPN broadcast, he was exceptionally chummy with Colorado head coach Deion Sanders, and seemed to show a ton of love to the fans in Boulder.
Most people are aware that, before he reached his current ridiculous level of fame, though, The Rock did play college football. With him being the guest picker on GameDay and on the sidelines for the Rocky Mountain Showdown too, however, fans were wondering about where Johnson actually played during his college football career.
Did Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson play college football at Colorado?
Despite showing up in Boulder for GameDay, Johnson did not play for the Colorado Buffaloes in his career. His inclusion in much of the Buffs’ festivities throughout the weekend of their big in-state rivalry game appears to be nothing more than him being in the area — he appeared on WWE SmackDown on Friday night — and his celebrity status only further putting Colorado on the map.
Where did Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson play college football?
Dwayne Johnson played college football for the Miami Hurricanes from 1991-94. He did see the field a bit for The U, but started just one of the 37 games he played in during his career. That, no doubt, was due to the historic talent at Miami at the time, not the least of which was Warren Sapp. All told, The Rock — before he was The Rock — garnered 4.5 sacks and 77 total tackles in his collegiate football career.
After his college career concluded, Johnson was signed to the Calgary Stampeders practice squad in the CFL. He was cut before the start of the 1995 season. He soon after began his career in professional wrestling.
Where Did Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Play Football?
Johnson’s life as a kid has been well-documented to this point. The Rock is from Hawaii, where had no issue getting into scraps and was tested by his family and peers often due to his lineage.
When your father and grandfather are wrestlers, others are quick to test your skills. Because of the genes in his family, this also meant Johnson inherited the size most didn’t at that time. Johnson did not play football until he got to high school when he would attend Freedom High in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
He credits his desire to play due to a bathroom run-in with teacher/coach Jody Cwik. Johnson was an imposing figure, and it was easy to tell football would be a good idea for him. By the time he was a junior in high school, The Rock stood at 6’4″ and 230 pounds. Realizing it could be his way to higher education, Johnson took his opportunity seriously and attacked it with the same ferocity he has become known for in all his other endeavors.
Johnson received many scholarship offers including from Penn State, UCLA, Clemson, Florida State, and dozens of other top programs. Eventually, he decided on the University of Miami and accepted a full-ride scholarship to play at “The U.”
Was ‘The Rock’ good at football?
Johnson only played two years as a defensive tackle at Freedom High School in Pennsylvania, but that was enough to earn him serious interest from major college football programs. Johnson ultimately accepted a full scholarship from the University of Miami and began his college football career in 1991.
Johnson was primarily a reserve during his Miami career, recording 77 tackles and four sacks in four seasons. He played behind future Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp and was recruited by defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, so Johnson was closely connected with major names during his time with the Hurricanes, which began with a national championship his freshman year.
Orgeron told ESPN in 2012 Johnson “could have been an all-conference, perhaps an all-American,” if Sapp wasn’t ahead of him. In today’s transfer portal era, it may have been easier for Johnson to find that playing time.
Dwayne Johnson’s CFL career
Before launching his wrestling career, Johnson attempted to turn professional in football and signed with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders.
The stint didn’t last too long. Johnson was released two months into the 1995 season. His history of getting buried on the depth chart of great teams continued: Calgary finished 15-3 that year.
Did Dwayne Johnson play in the NFL?
Despite Orgeron’s high hopes for Johnson, an unsuccessful stint in the CFL is not usually a pathway to the NFL.
After dealing with multiple injuries and a lack of playing time at Miami, he went undrafted in 1995 and did not find another professional contract after his deal with the Stampeders.
Now, Johnson is operating a league that could give former college football standouts and NFL role players a second chance.
While the goal is to turn the XFL into a permanent spring football league, it’s not far-fetched to believe this is personal for Johnson, whose league will give chances to players that might not have gotten a fair shot at other times in their careers.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s NFL career
Dwayne Johnson came from a family of wrestlers and football was never his first choice. But he got into the sport at Freedom High in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“The Rock” was already 6’4″ and 230 pounds in high school. He made an impression during the time to get scholarship offers from various universities.
He chose the University of Miami for a full-ride scholarship.
While there, “The Rock” was already establishing a name for himself on the dominant 1991 Miami Hurricanes team. Even as a freshman, he impressed the coaches, with defensive coordinator and current LSU head coach Ed Orgeron saying Dwayne Johnson could be an All-American.
But just as things were looking up, he injured his shoulder that paved the way for someone else to take his place as a defensive end. A former tight end by the name of Warren Sapp took on his responsibilities.
Warren Sapp would go on to have a legendary college and NFL career and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. The emergence of Sapp limited Dwayne Johnson’s involvement in the team.
As a result, Johnson missed his chance in the NFL and went undrafted. He was signed by the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League as a linebacker, only to be let go after one game.
The only way “The Rock” can lay claim to being a former NFL player is in the TV Series “Ballers.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Ballers
While his real-life ambition to play in the NFL never materialized, Dwayne Johnson has established himself as a wrestling entertainer and an actor. In his professional acting profession, he plays the role of a retired NFL player in the series “Ballers.”
It recounts the story of his character who has retired from the NFL and is now a financial manager for other NFL players. While that is the closest “The Rock” will ever get to being an NFL player, through the show, he can vicariously live out the dream that he once had.
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