Former Professional Quarterback Michael Carrillo Transitions to Entrepreneurship and Giving Back

Michael Carrillo dreamed of becoming a professional quarterback

As a kid, Michael Carrillo dreamed of becoming a professional quarterback. He did everything in his power to make this dream into a reality. He trained hard, hit the books, and followed his coaches’ instructions to the letter. But even after a prolific, record-breaking high school football career, Michael still struggled to gain the attention of recruiters. The main issue was his size; most schools simply didn’t think he was big enough to compete at the collegiate level. 

Nonetheless, he persevered and went to a junior college where he served as the starting quarterback for two years. In that time, he earned several all-conference awards and helped his team stand out as one of the best junior college football programs in the country.

After getting injured in his sophomore year, Michael was given the opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at San Jose State University. This would be Michael’s first experience at a Division I school. Once his redshirt year was over, Michael Carrillo earned a full scholarship and the opportunity to compete.

He started a few games for San Jose State before being scouted by the San Francisco 49ers and a few Canadian Football League (CFL) teams. Eventually, he signed with a professional indoor team based in San Diego, the Strikeforce. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after, bringing the season — and Michael Carrillo’s football career — to a swift end. 

The Beginning of Wynner Marketing Firm 

Though Michael Carrillo had dedicated his life to football, he never neglected his studies. He graduated magna cum laude with a marketing degree. Since his football career had been put on hold indefinitely, Michael knew that he was at a crossroads. He could either wait out the pandemic and hope to continue playing the sport that he loved, or pursue entrepreneurship. In the end, he chose the latter.

During the latter half of his college years, Michael had already begun helping friends and family with their marketing and branding needs. He treated it as a part-time side gig at the time. Once he moved to the professional football level, he temporarily took a break from his marketing endeavors. However, once the season was canceled, Michael Carrillo decided to immediately jump into the world of entrepreneurship. He quickly started his own business, Wynner Marketing Firm.

As a full-service digital marketing and PR firm, Wynner Marketing became a 6-figure agency within the first 2 months, and it continues to grow and scale rapidly to this day. Nonetheless, Michael Carrillo struggled with mental health and personal identity issues as he transitioned from sports to entrepreneurship.

He knew that this was a common issue among former athletes, but it didn’t make the struggle any easier. Although mental health is an ongoing battle, Michael was able to overcome the immediate crisis and dedicate himself to his business and, with time, a new cause.

Michael Carrillo Is on a Mission to Help Others Find their Purpose

With a life dedicated to a football career that no longer existed, Michael suddenly felt adrift and unsure what to do. The success of Wynner Marketing Firm helped him overcome his identity crisis to an extent, but Michael knew that success in business only leaves you fulfilled to a point. This is when Michael Carrillo found another way to build on his success and give back at the same time.

In an effort to help other student-athletes transition better than he had, Michael Carrillo began developing a special program in 2020. This program will help student-athletes develop the mental and emotional skills it takes to be successful in sports, as well as life after sports. In essence, Michael Carrillo wants to help others like himself find purpose and direction in life. He wants to be the catalyst that aids thousands of other athletes achieve their dreams.

Michael Carrillo’s program for student-athletes is set to launch in late 2021. To check out what he is doing in the meantime, be sure to follow his Instagram and website


Written by Dylan Vanas

Dylan Vanas is a marketing entrepreneur and agency owner. He has been featured in dozens of publications including Inc, Entrepreneur, Yahoo, Fox, ABC, Influencive, and others. He currently runs a Marketing SaaS company AgencyBox, as well as his own marketing consulting agency.

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