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Doc Five: College football players turned famous actors – No. 4, Dwayne Johnson, Miami

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(ESPN.com)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS: ACTORS WHO PLAYED COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NO. 4 – DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON

Before Dwayne Johnson earned the nickname “The Rock” thanks to his professional wrestling exploits, he was better known as “Dewey” to his Miami Hurricanes teammates.

Yes, the wrestler turned actor turned reality TV host was a linebacker for Dennis Erickson’s Hurricanes in 1991 and won a national championship. But a star he was not. Johnson started just one game, but played in 39 and finished his career with 77 tackles and 4.25 sacks.

Former Miami defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who recruited Johnson, shared his thoughts with ESPN.com about Johnson’s potential.

"As a freshman, he came out, and back then we didn’t play too many freshmen. But he was very strong, he had some great practices and we were able to play him as a freshman, and at one point we thought maybe we’d start him as a freshman.

"The problem with Dwayne was there was a guy named Warren Sapp who came along the next year."

...

"You’re talking about one of the best college football players of all time [in Sapp]. If not for [Sapp], Dwayne could have been an all-conference, perhaps an all-American."

That’s right, Warren Sapp ruined Dewey’s budding football career, but put him on a path that has ultimately made him one of the most popular wrestlers and action stars in recent history.

Not a bad trade.

And wrestling was in Johnson’s blood. His father Rocky Johnson was a wrestling star in the 1970s and 80s and his grandfather, Peter Maivia, was a famous wrestler in the 1960s. So, when it came time for Johnson, who had a two-month stint with the Calgary Stampede of the Canadian Football League, to find a new profession, he turned to the World Wrestling Federation in 1996 and became the face of the WWF as third generation wrestler, “The Rock.”

He remained with the WWF until 2004, but his first big acting break came in 2002 when he played The Scorpion King in “The Mummy Returns.” Then he took the lead role in the sequel “The Scorpion King.” The role earned him $5.5 million, which was a Guinness World Record for the most a actor had been paid in his first starring role.

From there, Johnson has been an array of movies ranging from “The Fast and the Furious” to more kid-friendly movies like “The Tooth Fairy” and the “The Game Plan” where he plays a star football player trying to raise his 8-year-old daughter.

Johnson actually returned to wrestling (n the WWE) and next month, Johnson’s reality series “The Hero” will debut on TNT.

Overall, Johnson has 96 acting credits (according to IMDB) and one national championship ring playing for one of the greatest football powerhouses of its time. Not a bad combination.

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