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The Path After Football

What's The Next Step?


Many student-athletes spend their entire lives training for a sport. Then, their careers come to end. Throughout this journey, numerous former college football players spoke about what life was like when their careers ended. Most of them are still college students, looking to finish their degrees.


This is what draws the football players to come play for Cal Poly. The gorgeous stadium, the weather, the academics and the area continues to bring in high caliber athletes every year. (12/12/18, Alex G. Spanos Stadium) Senior Zach Shallcross just finished up his football career at Cal Poly. “As a former offensive-lineman, I had to always pack on the pounds anyway I could. Now, I can focus more on healthy living.” (1/29/19, San Luis Obispo House). With only two quarters left to go, reality hits most former athletes quickly. Many of them look for jobs and interests outside of football. Shallcross prepares for his job interview by looking over his notes. “I don’t know what I want to really do yet. I just want someone to pay me.” (1/30/19, Santa Rosa Park). As a business major, Shallcross currently has interviews to work for jobs in finance, preferably in the Chicago area. “I have family out there and have always loved the area. It would be a great change of pace there.” (1/30/19, Santa Rosa Park). Senior history major Harry Whitson drives through the rain to the gym. Whitson and Shallcross are both roommates and former o-linemen. They both have been disciplined on exercise and eating healthy with their careers being over. (1/31/19, California Blvd.). Whitson and Shallcross have each lost a considerable amount of weight since the finish of their final game on November 17th. Each of them weighed around 300 pounds. Now, Shallcross is under 240 and Whitson is under 260. “My body just feels better man. Not having to carry all that weight around is so much more comfortable,” said Whitson. (1/31/19, Rec Center). Senior Ryan Anderson is a former high school football player and collegiate wrestler. Anderson decided to call it a career with wrestling in order to focus on his major, civil engineering. Many athletes at Cal Poly take rigorous major that require a multitude of hours of studying and homework. Some athletes will stop their sport early to give them the best chance at a job later on. “It was just time to focus on my career. I mean, I love wrestling, but my body and mind were not into it anymore.” (1/31/19, Rec Center). Sports Medicine Professional, Prince Williams, is a former college football player himself. When his career ended, he decided to go into training and helping athletes prosper on and off the field. Williams is now the head football trainer at Cal Poly. (1/31/19, Mott Athletic Center). Whitson and Shallcross both plan to stay active and will continue to lose weight until their reach their respective goals. They also both can still lift a lot. (1/31/19, Rec Center). Although the grind of being a student-athlete is over, everyone said that it was the most important decisions they made. “Football teaches you how to overcome anything. There have been times in my life where I’ve faced challenges that seem overwhelming. Then, I think about all I have accomplished in my time here and it doesn’t seem so difficult,” said Whitson. (1/31/19, Doerr Family Field).

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Three former Cal Poly Football players talk about their experiences with life outside of football now that their careers are over.