The 23-year-old is an All-American expected to go early in the 2014 Draft after being named South Eastern Conference defensive player of the year by the Associated Press.
Speaking to the New York Times, Sam said: “I’m Michael Sam. I’m a football player and I’m gay
“I just want to own my truth before anyone breaks a story about me.”
Sam led the SEC with 10-and-a-half sacks and 18 tackles and will take part in the NFL combine ahead of the Draft in May.
The senior also revealed that he told the rest of his college team-mates last August before going on to star in their season.
Sam added: “I am an openly, proud gay man.
“It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”
No NFL player has ever announced publicly that they are gay so Sam’s admission is huge for the sport.