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Former Heisman Trophy Winner About to be Drafted in ... Pickleball?

by Jason Flamm on

Some of the greatest athletes of our time have been two-sport athletes. Bo Jackson. Deion Sanders. Danny Wuerffel.

Cue record scratch.

That's right. The former Florida Gator, Heisman Trophy winner, national champion, and NFL quarterback is making another run at a professional sport. This time, it's pickleball, with the National Pickleball League.

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Not Danny's first pickleball rodeo

While we jest when we compare him to some of the greatest athletes of all time, we are quite impressed with what Wuerffel is doing. Of course, anyone who has been around the game for a few years knows that this isn't the first time Wuerffel has been involved in pickleball.

Though he never played in a Super Bowl, he did host his own Picklebowl tournament (unrelated to our own Pickle Bowl) in 2022, playing alongside pickleball pro Kyle Yates. They won the event and then successfully defended their title last year.

“I caught the bug, like a lot of people,” said Wuerffel, who turns 50, the required age for the NPL. He's expected to be drafted on Sunday. (You can tune in to the Facebook Live event at 4:45 PM EST. You can also check their social media pages for updates throughout the draft.)

He started during COVID

Wuerffel has a long history with racquet and paddle sports. As a kid, he excelled in football and basketball, but he also dabbled in tennis, racquetball, and ping-pong.

Then, as the story goes for many of us when COVID hit, he was introduced to pickleball by a friend.

As they say, the rest is history. He was hooked, and now, he's attempting to go pro.

His pro career is just getting started

Danny is also competing next week in the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships.

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"Pickleball, for me, really aligns well with my mission in life, the non-profit, the Wuerffel Foundation, with Desire Street," he said. "I’ve met a lot of new people through pickleball that have helped the organizations. Hosted some celebrity pro-am events as fundraisers. I’m really enjoying the relationships I’ve made through the pickleball world."

Danny shared his own surprise on X, earlier today:

If his pickleball pro career is anything like his football career, we expect big things. We are chanting, cheering, and chomping for you, Danny.


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Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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