We’re well into the college football season, and if you’ve turned on a game at any point to watch college kids battle against one another on the gridiron, there’s a good chance you’ve watched at least one future country music star play.

I don’t know how the statistics actually shape up, but it seems like there’s a good chance of college football players turning into country music artists. The list below supports the fact that the likelihood of becoming a country star is increased if you’ve been involved in college football in some capacity.

Maybe being under the lights on the football field indirectly helped these artists and their stage presences?

We’ll have to conduct an intensive study here at Whiskey Riff to get down to the bottom of the country music-college football correlation, but until then, let’s go through and see where some well-known country artists played college ball.

1. Riley Green – Jacksonville State University

Riley Green was a three-star recruit coming out of high school, and joined Jacksonville State University to play quarterback from 2007 to 2009. He played the most during his junior year, getting two starts and throwing for over 600 yards and four touchdowns.

Of course, he eventually pursued country music instead of playing football, and that seemed to work out pretty well for the “There Was This Girl” singer.

2. Koe Wetzel- Tarleton State University

Before Koe Wetzel was rocking the stage as a country music artist, he was doing his best to rock the opposing team’s quarterback. Wetzel lined up as a linebacker for Tarleton State University.

At 6’1″ and 200 pounds, Koe was certainly a scrappy defensive player, but at one point he started focusing on country music instead of football, which ultimately was the right call.

3. Chase Rice – University of North Carolina

The “Ready Set Roll” singer was rolling out for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 2005 to 2008 as a linebacker. Chase Rice’s size and strength led him to be an imposing force, especially during his senior year at Carolina.

It was only a lingering ankle injury that kept Rice from jumping to the next level, though his subsequent career in country music certainly worked out – and he also served as a pit crew member for 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson along the way.

4. Sam Hunt – University of Alabama at Birmingham

Possibly the best football player on this list, Sam Hunt put on a helmet and pads for two different colleges during his football career. Hunt first played with Middle Tennessee State before transferring and really coming into form at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Hunt acted a dual threat quarterback, and had some pretty impressive numbers throughout his college career that ended up leading to a tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. That ended up not working out, though I’d say his country music career did.

5. Lee Brice – Clemson

Lee Brice attended Clemson University on a football scholarship, where he played long snapper on the special teams. But after an arm injury ended his football career early, he decided to focus on music instead…although he’s still a die-hard Tigers fan.

6. Trace Adkins – Louisiana Tech University

At 6’6″, it should come as no surprise that Trace Adkins was an athlete. In his prime, Adkins was a menacing figure out on the football field, which led to an impressive high school football career.

He didn’t get any offers to play college football, but that didn’t stop Adkins from continuing his football career. The country star walked-on at Louisiana Tech University as an offensive lineman, and his football playing career would have been promising if not for a knee injury that ended his run as an athlete.

7. Toby Keith – Oklahoma City Drillers

Toby never played in college, but after finding himself unemployed after a decline in the oil industry, the Big Dog Daddy played defensive end for the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers.

8. Garth Brooks – Oklahoma State University (Javelin)

And finally, it wouldn’t be a country music listicle without involving country superstar Garth Brooks. Before he was selling out stadiums (and hiding the bodies) as a country music artist, Garth was a stellar thrower of the pigskin…and by pigskin I mean javelin.

Though Brooks played football in high school, and often talks about his love for the sport, it was track and field that earned Garth a scholarship at Oklahoma State. Did Brooks at one point probably say “Boomer Sooner?” Just like the location of the bodies, we may never know.


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