Most NCAA college football players are heavily recruited from the time they are in grade 10. There’s a reason why National Signing Day is a big thing in the United States. Sure, it’s a dumb big thing. But it’s still a thing. Only a small fraction of college players will ever make it as a regular pro in the NFL.
Even more unlikely is that some random kid will walk-on to his college team as an unknown and then rise to the ranks of the NFL. However, it does happen. It’s hard to believe that between the thousands of scouts from the NFL and big NCAA programs, that these players would slip through the cracks. Yet every single one of them made their college team by walking on during open tryouts. Then managed to impress enough to crack an NFL roster.
Here are 10 NFL players who walked on in college and made it all the way to “the show.”
10. Logan Mankins, G – Retired
Seven-time NFL Pro Bowl offensive guard Logan Mankins is something of an athletic freak of nature, if you listen to former Fresno State teammate Tyler Clutts. “Yeah, (Mankins) is as country strong as any person that I’ve ever gone against. He grew up in the mountains outside of Central Valley. He’s soft-spoken and doesn’t say a whole lot, but leads by example. He plays hard and plays nasty, everything that you want out of an offensive lineman,” Clutts said recently. Mankins played football at a small California school before walking on with the Bulldogs in 2000. He became a four-year starter there and was chosen in the first round, 32nd overall, by New England in 2005. He played in New England until 2013 and was then traded to Tampa Bay. He retired in 2016.