November 10, 2010 12:00 PM

Garth Brooks

Before he packed stadiums as a singer, Brooks (as a homecoming escort in 1980) ran the field as Yukon (Okla.) High’s quarterback.

Willie Nelson

Nelson played halfback in 1948 as a sophomore at Abbott High School in Texas.

Tom and Mike Gossin

In the Gloriana bros’ home “you had to play one sport and learn one instrument,” says Mike (with Tom and dad Steve in 1991).

Joe Don Rooney

Growing up in tiny Picher, Okla., “I got to play all sports,” Rooney (in 1984) said. “You don’t see many guys that are jocks and a band geek.”

Trace Adkins

“Football was my life,” wrote Adkins (in 1979 at Sarepta [La.] High School). “I absolutely loved to hit people.”

Lee Brice

“Football molded me,” says Brice (in 1996 at Lakewood H.S. in Sumter, S.C.), who also played for Clemson University.

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