Your Guide to the Complicated World of College Football Scholarships
College football is the dream of many athletes across the country, but many families are unsure how to get their sons and daughters recruited for the sport. There are only 7% of high school football players who will play Division 1 college football, according to NCAA statistics. Moreover, not all football players will be eligible for athletic scholarships.
All sports (including football) have seen a significant increase in recruiting volatility, according to NCSA survey data. Many college coaches are unsure of how the recruiting process will play out in the near future.
Getting a scholarship to play college football is a big deal.
For football recruiting, athletes must first determine which athletic divisions they qualify for, as well as what types of schools they are most interested in attending. Immediately after they've narrowed down their list of schools to focus on, they should begin contacting the coaches at those schools. College coaches are more open than ever to digital recruiting and communication with potential recruits. Those who take advantage of the new recruiting environment and differentiate themselves from the competition are more likely to succeed.
In spite of the fact that the D1 football recruiting dead period will last until June 1, 2021, prospective players can still reach out to coaches virtually by sending their football recruiting video and explaining why they are interested in that program as well as a few key statistics. They should keep in touch with those coaches, sending them updated videos and stats, as well as arranging campus visits, to keep them informed of their progress. Find out everything you need to know about football recruiting in this article.
At some point in the recruiting process, the prospective student should zero in on about five specific colleges that they are considering, and the coach should be doing the same. They can expect to receive offers from a number of schools late in their junior or early senior year, and they will sign with their preferred school. Discover more about college football recruiting in our most recent article.
A streamlined version of the recruiting process, to be sure. Here is a comprehensive guide to college football recruiting that includes all the major milestones athletes need to reach as well as helpful football recruiting tips and tricks for families.
The most important football recruiting tip to remember is that athletes must take control of their own recruiting process in order to ensure that they are recruited by college football coaches. If you're an athlete, don't sit around waiting for a coach to "find you." Recruits, on the other hand, must take the initiative. If they're serious about the program, they should send a video of their best work and introduce themselves to the staff. For many families, it appears that the most elite, nationally ranked recruits are "discovered" without putting in a lot of effort. As a result, even future NFL players have been overlooked in the college athletic recruiting process.
If you want to know how to get recruited for football, you should know when the recruiting process begins. There is a big difference between when athletes should begin the recruiting process versus when they can expect to hear back from college coaches. As soon as an athlete commits to playing college football, the recruiting process begins. As soon as they've made up their minds, they should begin looking into schools, creating a highlight video, and laying the groundwork for a fruitful recruiting campaign. The athlete's freshman and sophomore years of high school are ideal times to do the bulk of this work.
College football coaches will begin contacting the best athletes as early as their junior year of high school. High-level D1 programs begin recruiting football players in their sophomore and junior years of high school, however, for the majority of recruits. By the end of their junior year or early in their senior year of high school, they'll usually have a full roster for a recruiting class. Coaches from Divisions 2 through 3 and the NAIA wait until recruits are in their junior or senior year of high school to see if they've been overlooked by a Division I school.
More opportunities will be available if your family begins the recruiting process early. An athlete's information must be in front of coaches before they fill their rosters for the next recruiting class in order to be considered for D1 schools. College football recruiting: everything you need to know.
All the major football recruiting websites, including Rivals.com, ESPN, Scout.com, and 247Sports.com, are plastered with star ratings. The criteria used by each of these organizations to rank high school athletes may differ slightly, but in general, they all rely on footage from games, camps, and combines, as well as an athlete's overall athleticism to arrive at their rankings.
This is just like how the methods for assigning star ratings to differ, so too do what they mean across platforms. Recruits will be given star ratings based on their potential to contribute to a D1 football team. Star ratings can be summarized as follows:
There are a few specific reasons for using star ratings: Because they make it easy to see who are the top recruits, the general public can keep track of their own recruiting journeys. Athletes who are a good fit for a college program can be identified using the ratings. However, and this point cannot be emphasized enough, assigning stars is neither an exact science nor a definitive guide. More than a few college and professional athletes have had successful careers despite their lack of star power. Using a ranking as a starting point can help you identify the best programs for your needs. Keep in touch with coaches at the schools you're interested in.
Redshirted Division 1 FBS and FCS football players no longer have to sit out a season because of a change in NCAA rules. Starting in the 2018-2019 football season, players will no longer lose their redshirt status if they take even one snap during the course of a game.
This rule change means that college coaches will change their recruiting tactics by focusing on attracting recruits with the promise of meaningful playing time and development in the first year of their college career. Ask college coaches about playing opportunities for redshirt freshmen as soon as you start communicating with them.
The football recruiting process begins with the prospective student-athlete, their family, and the current head coach. Both athletes and their parents should take some time to sit down and answer the following questions honestly:
Do your homework and look at as many schools as possible when you're looking for a football program. Start by reaching out to a large number of college coaches—around 20-30—and then gradually reduce your contact list. Here's how we'd suggest structuring your list of potential customers.
5 safe schools: These are schools where you know you can play and where you meet the academic requirements. Make early contact with these coaches to let them know you're serious. In many cases, student-athletes discover that programs they had never considered before end up being the best matches for their academic and athletic goals.
There are ten schools that we are focusing on: The schools that are the best fit for you in terms of athletics, academics, and extracurricular activities—those you want to concentrate your recruiting efforts on—go here.
5 are able to get to schools: These schools may be out of your price range or highly competitive in terms of academics or athletics. Add them to the list of things you want to accomplish.
It's a good idea to include a variety of divisions in your list of schools to target. Your chances of receiving a college football scholarship are greatly increased if you play in the appropriate division. Check out this list of questions to ask yourself in order to find the college that is right for you.
When it comes to the recruitment process, nothing is more important than a candidate's highlight video! Coaches at colleges and universities are simply not able to go out and watch each and every recruit in action. In addition to the fact that the high school and college seasons overlap, high school players only play one game a week, making it difficult for college coaches to see them in action. A three- to five-minute video of a prospective player's best skills and plays is a tall order for any hopeful. To help you get started, here are a few pointers:
They can get their foot in the door with coaches by showing off their best clips. Depending on the coach's interest, they can either set up a time to see the athlete in action in person or request a full game video. Find out what kind of abilities candidates should be able to demonstrate in order to be considered for a given position in a recruitment video.
Step-by-step instructions for contacting college football coaches are provided here. Visit our College Recruiting Guide's Contacting College Coaches page for more information.
Send a brief email to the college coach, including a video of your best performances and your most important statistics.
a recruiting tip for football: First, contact the recruiting coordinator at large and medium-sized football programs if you don't know who else to talk to. Contact your position coach, then the assistant coach, then the head coach if you don't have a coordinator.
Athletes should keep their high school coaches up to date on their recruiting progress at all times! High school football coaches are critical members of a student-recruiting athlete's staff. High school football coaches can help college coaches get to know their athletes. Many high school football coaches already have connections with college coaches. They can recommend an athlete to the college coach if they think they'd be a good fit for the program.
In addition, a recruit's high school coach is likely to have full game film, which will be crucial for the creation of a recruit's highlight video. As well as assisting recruits in selecting the best plays to include in their highlight video, they can also assess each player's abilities and offer suggestions for how they can improve in order to succeed at the next level.
Athletes should rely on their high school coaches throughout the recruiting process, as they can help them build rapport with college coaches, gain exposure to college coaches, sort through game film, and work on their weaknesses.
A great highlight video is just as important as attending football camps, showcases, and junior days for the same reason: college coaches have limited time and resources to watch every recruit in person. Camps are a great opportunity for college recruits to show off their abilities to potential coaches. They can also assist athletes in developing personal connections with their coaches.
When it comes to recruiting football players, combines are still an important part of the process. Verified football stats, or football numbers taken by a reputable third party, can be obtained by football players at combine events. This event includes a variety of football-related drills, such as the 40-yard dash and 3-cone drill.
Find out more about recruiting through camps, combines, and showcases.
Most of the time, we see families get bogged down in the recruiting process and wonder if they are on the right track and if they really understand how to get their child recruited for football. When a company is in the "managing" stage of the recruiting process, this is a telltale sign. At this point, families have a number of options for continuing their recruitment efforts:
The goal of the football recruiting process for most athletes is to be offered a scholarship. It is a headcount sport in NCAA Division I football and all scholarships must be full-ride. Non-scholarship athletes, or walk-ons, are required to join the team. Athletes in the NAIA, as well as all other divisions, have the freedom to distribute their scholarship money however they see fit. In our College Recruiting Guide, you can learn more about the various types of offers.
Tips for getting a better scholarship offer is what most families are interested in learning about. Offers from other schools are the best negotiating tool an athlete has. Rival schools, in particular, can be a problem for college coaches. Athletes should aim to receive offers from at least five schools in order to get the best deal possible. The amount of money your family will have to pay out of their own pocket should always be taken into consideration when negotiating a deal. Visit our college recruiting guide to learn more about scholarship negotiation.
As tempting as it may be at first for a prospect to accept the first college offer and be done with the recruiting process, it is important to find a college that meets the athlete's academic, social, and financial needs. NCSA data shows that over 45% of underclassmen athletes are not listed on their college roster the following year, so the best college is one that a prospect wants to attend regardless of football.
The athlete must sign a contract with the school in order to make a scholarship offer legally binding. The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is used by about 650 NCAA Division I and II schools, as well as NAIA and NHCAA institutions. Because the NLI is a legally binding document, families should check their understanding several times before signing their names to it. An athlete agrees to compete for one year at the school, and the school promises to pay him or her the agreed-upon scholarship for that time.
National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing dates for Division I football have been pushed back to August 1, 2021, because of the coronavirus.
It's been a long journey, but it's finally over! As you prepare for the next phase of your life, don't forget to commemorate this momentous occasion.