Six U.S. Presidents have played high school football

It’s President’s Day, so what a better way to celebrate than to tell you about the six Presidents that have played the game at the high school level.

I’ll list them alphabetically so that this story doesn’t become political.

Dwight D. Eisenhower – played football at Abilene High School in Abilene, Kansas.  Below is a excerpt for President Eisenhower’s website about his time playing football for the Cowboys.

Ike attended integrated schools, but when some of his football teammates refused to line up opposite a visiting African American player, Eisenhower volunteered for the position, and shook the player’s hand after the game. As a boy from the wrong side of Abilene’s class-dividing tracks, Ike knew the minimizing indecencies of prejudice all too well.

Gerald Ford – played at South High in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he was the captain of the team during his senior season.  According to his biography, President Ford was All-City and All-State as a center.  He received a college scholarship for football, playing at the University of Michigan.  President Ford had offers to play football professionally, but chose to go to Yale instead to study law.

John F. Kennedy – attended the Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut. As a 16-year old President Kennedy played on the junior team as a left end and tackle.  However, illnesses prevented the 35th President of the United States from moving up to the varsity squad. He went on to Harvard University where he never made it beyond the JV team because of illness and injury.

Richard Nixon – attended Whittier High School in Whittier, California for his final two years of high school, but the exact nature of his time on the football team is a bit fuzzy., which does a great job with California high school football history indicates that President Nixon didn’t play on the team, instead was a “sports commissioner” for the school.  Other media reports state that he did play on the high school football team at Fullerton Union High School before transferring to Whittier High. At Whittier College, Nixon was a bench-warmer as a 5-11, 175-pound offensive guard or tackle.

Ronald Reagan – played high school football at Dixon Union High School, a co-op team, in Dixon, Illinois.  The 40th President of the U.S. played on the offensive line as a guard and tackle.  He went to Eureka College where he was on the team for three years, but didn’t see much playing time.

Donald Trump – attended New York Military Academy in Cornwall, New York.  Our current President only played football for one year. Trump also played soccer and baseball.  His classmates say that he was a very good baseball player.

And, for those of you wondering, most experts say that President Ford was the best of the lot.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America.Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet.Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.