15 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

These pro athletes are stars now, but they had to work their way to the top.

Ozzie Smith

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Ozzie Smith

One of the greatest baseball players in history was a walk-on.

While Ozzie Smith had a fine athletic career at Locke High School (Los Angeles, California), he didn't receive much attention from college coaches.

After earning a partial academic scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he figured he'd try to walk on to the school's baseball team.

He made the cut, and by the next year, his skills had earned him a full scholarship.

Smith went on to become a fifteen-time All-Star and thirteen-time Gold Glove award winner at shortstop, earning the nickname "The Wizard" due to his incredible fielding prowess. He was a first-ballot inductee into the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame.

"Being a walk-on didn't discourage me," Smith told the New York Times. "It was a challenge. It was all about getting the opportunity. The one thing you have to do, whether you're a walk-on or not, is, once you get that opportunity, you have to go through the window."

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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