Oldest College Football Players Ever

7 Oldest College Football Players Ever

While being in your late 30s and 40s is not unheard of in the NFL and in fact has become increasingly more common, playing college football at this age is a rarity. The oldest players on this list, who are in their 60s and 50s, are old enough to be the grandparents of their teammates!

However, all of these players defied the odds and played at least one football game while attending college later in life.

Let us look at some of the oldest college football players ever! (Updated 2023)

8. James Stefanou

Oldest Age While Playing: 33 years old
College and Location:  University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, Colorado
Year(s) Played:  2017 – 2020
Position:  Kicker

James Stefanouphoto source: The Bleacher Report

At 33 years of age, James Stefanou of the University of Colorado Boulder was the oldest active football player in 2020 until he retired from the team. Stefanou, who is originally from Australia, had never played in organized American football before joining his school’s team in 2017. He did have some experience playing American football for ProKick Australia, which helps Australian athletes develop the skills they need to transition to American college and NFL football.

Although Stefanou did not grow up playing American football, he has always been an athlete. Stefanos played soccer and was on the U19 team, a youth progression team that is the feeder squad to Australia’s Olympic team.

Did You Know?

James Stefanou regularly kicks 60-yard field goals in practice and has dreams of becoming an NFL kicker.

7. Matt Ganyard

Oldest Age While Playing: 34 years old
College and Location:  UVA Darden School of Business, Virginia
Year(s) Played:  2023 (Present)
Position:  Kicker

Matt Ganyardphoto source: CA Times

Matt Ganyard, at the age of 34, is one of the oldest college football players ever and the oldest active football player. He completed his degree at the same university in 2011.  After a long 16 years since his high school soccer team, he is University of Virginia’s  1st year kickoff specialist. 

Back in 2009, he tried out for a team during his undergraduate years, but he didn’t make the cut. Later he served time as a helicopter pilot in the US Marines. 

Did You Know?

Ganyard, Kicker, a father of 2 and Marine Corps veteran, earned nicknames like “Pop Pop,” “Uncle Matt,” and “Grandpa” from his younger UVA teammates.

6. Tim Frisby

Oldest Age While Playing: 40 years old
College and Location:  University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina
Year(s) Played:  2005
Position:  Wide Receiver

Tim Frisbyphoto source: garnetandblackattack.com

Tim Frisby may not have been quite as old as most of the other players on this list, but he was 39 years old when he walked into football tryouts for the University of South Carolina in 2004. Frisby was still in peak physical condition after serving as a U.S. Army Ranger in the first Gulf War and in Kosovo.

Frisby played as a wide receiver for the University of South Carolina until 2005 when he was 40 years old. His time playing football garnered a lot of attention and Frisby even contemplated turning his life story into a movie. In the most recent update in 2014, Frisby was working as a personal trainer at a Gold’s Gym.

Did You Know?

During the height of the coverage of his story, Tim Frisby appeared on “The Late Show” with David Letterman and “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

5. Bob Schembre

Oldest Age While Playing: 52 years old
College and Location:  Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri
Year(s) Played:  2008
Position:  Linebacker

Bob Schembrephoto source: columbiamissourian.com

Not too much is known about Bob Schembre – for whatever reason his story was not covered by any big news sites – but he did join the Westminster College football team in 2008 when he was 51 years old (he turned 52 later in the year).

Schembres two sons had previously played football for Westminster and Schembre arranged a meeting with the coach under the notion that he wanted to talk about his sons. However, Schembre told the coach that he wanted to come and play football for the school. The coach gave Schembre a shot and he eventually made the team.

Unlike the other players on this list, Schembre had never played organized football at all, but he had served in the Navy and was still relatively fit.

Did You Know?

Bob Schembre, who had been a minister for several decades, earned a theology degree from Westminster College and went on to coach a home-school high school football team in 2014.

4. Joe Thomas Sr.

Oldest Age While Playing: 55 years old
College and Location:  South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina
Year(s) Played:  2016
Position:  Running Back

photo source: Sports Illustrated

Joe Thomas Sr., father of Dallas Cowboys’ Joe Thomas Jr., is the oldest person to play NCAA Division I football. Thomas played in 2016 for South Carolina State University at the age of 55. During the game, Thomas, who is a running back, carried the ball for three yards.

Thomas had grown up near South Carolina State University and had always wanted to play college football. Although Thomas did play in high school and was a promising running back, he wasn’t able to play while he was young. When Thomas Jr. enrolled in school, Thomas Sr. decided that he would too and that he would play with his son.

Unfortunately, although they both made the team, they never got a chance to play together because Thomas Sr. had gotten injured in a car accident. After taking a few years to recover, Thomas Sr. was finally able to play college football.

Did You Know?

Throughout his childhood, Joe Thomas Sr. was partially deaf because his ears were clogged up with dirt and grime for years after working with his parents on various farms. Unfortunately, no one discovered that Thomas’ ears were clogged up until he was 17, and he had spent years struggling to hear.

3. Mike Flynt

Oldest Age While Playing: 59 years old
College and Location:  Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas
Year(s) Played:  2007
Position:  Linebacker

photo source: Amazon

Before his record was broken in 2009 by Tom Thompson, Mike Flynt had been the oldest known NCAA collegiate football player in history. At the age of 59, Flynt re-enrolled at his alma mater, Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, to play one more year of football. Flynt said that he had always regretted getting kicked off the team – for getting into several fights on campus –  before his senior year of college.

Unlike some of the oldest players on this list, Flynt was in exceptional physical shape as he had stayed fit while working as a strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Oregon, and Texas A&M universities. Finding out that he was still eligible to play at Sul Ross State, Flynt tried out and made the team.

Did You Know?

While Mike Flynt played in the 2007 season, he had an avid fan club named the “Sul Ross Baby Boomers.”

2. Tom Thompson

Oldest Age While Playing: 61 years old
College and Location:  Austin College in Sherman, Texas
Year(s) Played:  2009
Position:  Kicker

photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Austin College

In 2009, Tom Thompson was a graduate student at Austin College in Sherman, Texas and made history when he played in a football game at 61 years of age. Thompson only played in that one game that season and ended up scoring the extra point for Austin College’s only touchdown in the game. Prior to the 2009 game, Thompson had last played organized football nearly 50 years ago when he was in high school.

While Alan Moore played a college football game in 2011, Thompson holds the record for being the oldest NCAA collegiate football player ever (Moore played for an NAIA school). Thompson details his accomplishments and life in his autobiography titled Kick Start.

Did You Know?

To commemorate Tom Thompson’s record-breaking accomplishment, his Austin College jersey is on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana.

1. Alan Moore

Oldest Age While Playing: 61 years old
College and Location:  Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama
Year(s) Played:  2011
Position:  Kicker

photo source: The Huffington Post

Alan Moore became the oldest college football player ever when he joined Faulkner University’s team at the age of 61. Moore scored an extra point in the 2011 season opener game, providing Faulkner with the lead early in the game’s second half.

Moore had previously played college football in 1968 at Mississippi’s Jones College. However, Moore was drafted and served a year in the military during the Vietnam War. After the war, Moore worked in construction for years before the economy slowed down in 2009.

With more time on his hands, Moore decided he wanted to try football again after watching a game at Jones College with his grandchildren. A coach at Holmes Community College allowed Moore to play for the school, and Moore later transferred to Faulkner University, where he made the team.

Did You Know?

Alan Moore chose to wear old-fashioned square-toe kicking shoes and kicked in the old-style rather than the modern soccer style. Moore’s kicking shoe had the word “believe” written on it.


Age truly is just a number. Sometimes a 70-year-old is healthier than a 30-year-old. It is all about how the person carries themselves and definitely their mindset. You’re never too old to chase your dreams, and these oldest college football players are living examples of that. 

Going to college at an unconventional age is commendable in itself, and above that, joining a football team full of teenagers and youth in their early 20s is amazing. College football brings out pretty great memories for many, and to think that these 8 football players have very prominent ones in their 30s, 40s, and even 60s is heartwarming!

Cheers to redefining age and chasing your dreams!


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