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Beginners Guide

A BRIEF GUIDE TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECRUITING

This summary is designed to give you an overview of the recruiting process and the opportunity to learn more by clicking the links to our in-depth articles on each subject.

Recruiting timelines can vary between college divisions.  Major D1 prospect recruiting can begin as early as an athlete’s freshman or sophomore year. Each college division (learn more about college divisions here) has a different timeline (learn more about the recruiting timeline here), but most athletes should start getting serious about recruiting at the conclusion of their junior season.

If you are looking to get noticed and recruited by college football teams, you need to be what they are looking for both on and off the field.

On the field, you need to demonstrate that you have the skills and potential to be an impact player in college. College coaches are looking for athletes that dominate high school competition and show unique athletic ability. They want athletes that look the part (height, weight, growth potential) and perform well on athletic performance tests (40, vert, broad).

Off the field, you will need good grades. College coaches also want to see evidence that you will contribute positively to the team’s culture. (learn more about what coaches are looking for)

At the completion of each season, athletes should make a recruiting package to give to college coaches. That package only needs contact information, a link to your highlight tape, and your transcript (Click here for tips on making a good highlight tape). To make your information available to hundreds of college coaches, click the button below and apply to the Verified Watch List for free. The Verified Watch List is where college coaches go to find, watch, and evaluate high school football players.

To get a college coach to review your recruiting package, your best resource is your high school coach. College coaches are much more likely to review your film if it is sent by your high school coach. You can also get on a college coach’s radar by making the all-state or all-conference lists, getting great test results (40, vert, broad), or performing well at one-day college prospect camps.

To turn interest into offers, you must first determine who is really recruiting you (learn more here). Focus your attention on those schools that are genuinely interested in you and build relationships with the head coach, coordinator, and your position coach. They are the ultimate decision makers on your scholarship or roster spot. (Learn how recruiting boards work here)

Make sure to visit the schools you are most interested in at a variety of different division levels. This will help you understand what different schools and divisions are like and help you figure out what you like about each school. This way you are prepared when you need to make a decision even if your dream school doesn’t make an offer to you. If you are a desirable prospect, you will likely be in a position where more than one school has offered you a scholarship or roster spot. There are benefits and downsides to each school, the right decision is the school that fits you best. (Learn how to choose the right program for you here)

However, don’t wait too long to make a decision. Most colleges have limited scholarships or roster spots and will only take a limited number of athletes at each position each year. Most schools offer scholarships/roster spots to more athletes than they can take, knowing that some athletes will commit to other schools. That means that if other athletes commit before you do, you could lose your offer at that school. (learn more about offers and commitments here)

To get your recruiting questions answered, visit our FAQ.


To learn more, visit the College Football Recruiting Academy


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