Failed College Stars

Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette is one of the most iconic college basketball players of the past decade. As a point guard for Brigham Young University from 2007-2011, Fredette was the center of attention in the 2011 college basketball season after leading his team to a sweet sixteen run in the NCAA tournament that year. Jimmer averaged 28.9 points a game in his senior year at BYU and also led the nation in three-pointers averaging over 3 triples a game. Fredette was also awarded the John R. Wooden award given to the most valuable player in college basketball, along with several other awards honoring his success at Brigham Young. After his senior year, Jimmer entered the NBA draft and was selected 10th overall by the Sacramento Kings (courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks) behind only star guards such as Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, and Kemba Walker. Jimmer started his career on the subpar 2011-2012 Sacramento Kings where he was less successful than his infamous run at BYU. In 2014, Fredette was waived from the Kings and the BYU alum played for the Bulls, Pelicans, and Knicks from 2014-2016 before eventually ending his NBA career. Jimmer is currently dominating the Chinese league on the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks, but is not very well known compared his fame in college. Jimmer Fredette was one of the best college basketball players of his time and was adored by college basketball fans but his career was short-lived after failing in the NBA and settling on a team in the Chinese League.

Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough was one of the most dominant college basketball players of the 2000s. During his playing career, Hansbrough was one of the major faces of college basketball and was a significant player all four years.The North Carolina alum was a National All American all four years of his career and lead the Tarheels to a national championship in 2008. In addition, Hansbrough was the first Tar Heel freshman to lead the team in scoring and rebounding and was ACC Freshman of the year in 2006. Coming out of college Hansbrough was a top prospect and had the size and skill to become a quality NBA center. He was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 13th pick in the 2009 draft.  However, Hansbrough had significantly less success in the NBA, as he only averaged 6 points per game and never lived up to his high draft pick. During his career, he played four seasons for the Pacers before joining the Toronto Raptors in 2013. After two seasons with the Raptors, he joined the Charlotte Hornets for the 2015–16 season. However, Hansbrough is currently out of the NBA and his playing professional basketball in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Guangzhou Long-Lions.


Robert Griffin the Third, or RG3, had a very successful career as a quarterback Baylor and was often considered the best college football player of his time. In his senior year at Baylor University,  Griffin was one of the leaders in both passing and rushing for quarterbacks across the nation. Griffin led Baylor to an unexpected 10-3 record in his 2011 senior season and also lead his team to a 67-56 win over the Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl. Griffin also won the 2011 Heisman trophy, an award given to the most valuable college football player every year. Griffin declared for the 2012 NFL draft after graduating from Baylor and was selected second overall by the Washington Redskins and had a very successful rookie year. Critics thought Griffin III was very overrated entering the year but Griffin proved them wrong throwing for 3,200 yards as well scoring 27 total touchdowns. Griffin peaked after this year, however, after completing only 60% of his passes and throwing 12 interceptions in year two for the Redskins. In the following years, Griffin was plagued by injuries before being released by the Redskins and being sent to the Browns. Cleveland had high hopes for the former Heisman winner but he again fell to an injury in the first week of the season and never came back to start an NFL game. Today, Griffin is a free agent who no team seems to be interested in. Griffin is a perfect example of a dominant college athlete who failed at the top level.

Tim Tebow

Tebow is arguably one of the best college football players of all time. During his reign at Florida, he led the Gators to two National Championships in three years and was the first sophomore to win a Heisman trophy award in college football history. Tebow simply dominated at the college level during his reign at Florida. In Division I record books, Tebow is ranked second in career passing efficiency, third in career yards per attempt (9.33), and 8th in career rushing touchdowns. Tebow also owns the record for most consecutive games in which he both threw at least one touchdown pass and scored at least one rushing touchdown (14). As the 25 pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Tebow’s professional football career began with a hot start, as he replaced starting quarterback Kyle Orton mid-season and lead the Broncos to a playoff win, throwing an iconic game-winning overtime pass to Demaryius Thomas. However, Tebow’s skillset did not effectively translate to the NFL, as he was not a consistent enough pocket passer to succeed in an NFL offense. Tebow was released by Denver in 2012 and had a few quick stints with the Jets and Patriots until eventually pursuing a career in Minor League Baseball with the New York Mets.

Johnny Football

Manziel was a college superstar, being the first freshman to ever win the Heisman. He led the Aggies to an 11-2 record, and a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma. He also broke various records, becoming the first freshman to ever pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a single season. Some called him “the human highlight tape” and for good reason. Johnny Football became a Texas A&M legend. After the 2013 season, Manziel declared for the 2014 NFL draft and was picked 22 overall by the Cleveland Browns. There was a lot of hype surrounding him, being such an explosive player in college, but his off the field issues were problematic. He loved to party and didn’t take the NFL seriously. The owners refused to start him because of his behavior, and Manziel didn’t change his ways. In the 2015 season, the Browns decided to give him a chance, seeing if he was worth a first-round pick. In 9 games, he threw for 1,500 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He was a bust. He simply couldn’t control himself off the field and his performance on the field wasn’t a good enough reason for Jimmy Haslam and the Browns to keep him on their team. He was cut in the 2015 season and has not played since. Johnny Manziel went from being a college legend to a free agent with no interest from any team all in the span of two years.