Before he became Ron Swanson, Duke Silver or any of his other well-known characters, Nick Offerman was just a kid with B1G dreams.

After emerging as a high school football star in Minooka, Ill., Offerman briefly had some aspirations to walk on as a defensive back at Illinois. Offerman decided to attend an Illinois practice one day.

He got quite the awakening:

In Offerman’s defense, he watched the 1989 Illinois team that went 10-2, won the Citrus Bowl and finished ranked 10th nationally. Illinois hasn’t finished that well since Offerman’s freshman year in Champaign.

Perhaps if that team wasn’t so loaded, Offerman would’ve gotten a shot and the world would’ve never come to know him as an actor.