Do you have to go to college to play in the NFL?
No. A person doesn't have to go to college or play college football to play in the NFL. But, this often helps greatly and most NFL players do play college football, because this is what NFL scouts, coaches, and team owners/managers use to evaluate prospects for the NFL Draft. To be eligible for the NFL draft, a player must have been out of high school for 3 years previous to the date of the draft. A redshirt year, or a year in which a player sits out in college, counts towards this time. Some of the better college players have recently been leaving college early for the NFL after their Sophomore or Junior years.