Studio Portraits of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson During His Time at the University of Miami, 1991–1994

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The Rock is one the biggest movie stars in the world. But before the A-list super-stardom and even before his WWE debut, Dwayne Johnson was a jack-of-all trades defensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes in the early 1990s.

After finishing high school in Pennsylvania, Johnson joined Dennis Erickson’s Hurricanes in 1991, a team that would go on to win the national championship. Over his four years with the Hurricanes, the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Johnson started only once, appearing in 39 games with a total of 77 tackles and 4.25 sacks.

He wasn’t the most electrifying man on the field, but if you thought his football career was a complete nothing, the defensive tackle-turned-end’s stats should be eyebrow-raising. “As a football player, on a scale of 1 to 10, Dewey was a 6,” former teammate and NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp said.

1991

1992

1993

1994

Johnson later dismissed that injuries didn’t stop his football career from moving forward, but he said that he didn’t regret missing out on being in the NFL.

He told ESPN: “Yeah, the thing was, I had the greatest D-lineman in the history of the game playing in front of me. No 99, No 1 in your heart.

“I gotta tell you this: people are always asking me if I regret not making it to the NFL because of my injuries at Miami. Let me be clear: it had nothing to do with my injuries. I didn’t make it to the NFL because of one man. That’s Warren Sapp. Hands down.

“There’s a reason why I’m here right now, and it’s because of the grace of God, because you’re the best at what you do. And because you came in and said, ‘You go sit on the sidelines real quick, and I’m going out there to kick some a*s.’”

(Photos © The University of Miami Sports Media Relations Office)

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