Every year there are great athletes from small colleges or lower divisions that make it to the pros. Here are “10 Small College Athletes Who Made The Big Time”.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, offensive tackle Ben Bartch was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 4th round with the 116th overall pick. While he was among hundreds of players drafted by NFL clubs, Bartch was notable for his alma mater, St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, an NCAA Division III school. While it’s not all that rare, Bartch is just the latest athlete to prove that playing for a small school doesn’t mean you can’t play in the big leagues. Here are 10 more athletes who turned small school competition into a spot in the big time.
• Dave Krieg, Football, Milton College (NAIA)
Though he went undrafted in the 1980 NFL draft, Krieg signed as a free agent quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks. That signing turned into a 19 season NFL career where Krieg played 213 NFL games while passing for over 38,000 yards and 261 touchdowns.
• Andrew Rock, Track and Field, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse (DIII)
As a sprinter competing for UW LaCrosse, Rock was a nine-time national champion and was named an All American 17 times. After his college career, Rock made the US Olympic team, winning gold in the 4×400 relay at the 2004 Olympics. He followed his Olympic performance with a silver medal in the 2005 World Outdoor Track Championship.
• London Fletcher, Football, John Carroll University (DIII)
A two-sport athlete (basketball and football) at John Carroll, Fletcher signed as a free agent linebacker with the then-St. Louis Rams in 1998. Fletcher led the Rams defense in tackles in 1999 and won a Super with the team the same year. Fletcher ended his 16-year career as one of only five NFL players to play in over 250 consecutive games and his 215 consecutive starts rank sixth all-time.
• Terry Porter, Basketball, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (NAIA)
After a distinguished college career at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Porter was drafted 24th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1985 NBA draft. Porter’s NBA career spanned 17 seasons and he remains Portland’s all-time assists leader. The team retired his #30 jersey in 2008.
• Ken Anderson, Football, Augustana College, (DIII)
Though originally recruited to Augustana as a basketball player, Anderson was drafted 67th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1971 NFL draft. During his 16-year NFL career with the Bengals, Anderson threw for 200 touchdowns, over 32,000 yards, and was named the league MVP in 1981.
• Jack Sikma, Basketball, Illinois Wesleyan (DIII)
Drafted 8th overall by the Seattle Supersonics in the 1977 NBA draft. Sikma was an integral part of Seattle’s NBA championship team in 1979. During his 13-year NBA career, Sikma was also named an NBA All-Star seven times and his no. 43 was retired by the Supersonics. Sikma was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.