Former Michigan defensive tackle Gabe Watson once dreamed of being an architect. He even attended a seminar at Michigan for prospective architecture students. But after being told of the major's academic demands, he said he decided "that probably isn't realistic."
"No way am I going to be in class 14 hours a day [and] balance that with athletics," he recalled.
Watson's academic record was shaky at best. He often flirted with ineligibility, failed three classes and departed school 35 credits shy of the 120 needed to complete a bachelor's degree in general studies, according to the Ann Arbor News, which concluded its four-part series examining the relationship between academics and athletics at Michigan.
Fortunately, Watson's pursuit of a career in the NFL has paid off. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2006 and became a full-time starter in 2007.
"God has blessed me now," he said, smiling. "I'm in the NFL."