WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECRUITING PROCESS
College football has more full ride scholarships available than any other college sport. There are over 850 college football programs across six division levels with 80,000 total collegiate college football players. If a player is willing to look outside of their immediate region there is an opportunity to play college football and work to earn a football scholarship.
College Football Recruiting Fundamentals:
Only NCAA DIA college football scholarships are guaranteed full rides. All other division levels will not be guaranteed full ride scholarships.
There are 120 NCAA DIA programs, 126 NCAA DIAA, 148 NCAA DII, 237 NCAA DIII, 91 NAIA and 138 NJCAA college football programs across the country.
The number of football scholarships allowed per team varies depending on division level. NCAA DIA programs have up to 85 scholarships per team, 63 for NCAA DIAA, 36 for NCAA DII, 24 for NAIA and up to 85 scholarships for a fully funded NJCAA program.
College Football Scholarships are given based on potential
With so many football scholarships available per team coaches frequently recruit players based on their potential to develop into a great college football player. For each position coaches use their scholarships a little bit differently. While not every college football recruiting program recruits the same for each position, the following can be used as a general.
Getting a scholarship at this position comes down to finding the right system for you. You have to know if a program recruits more pure athletes for quarterback or looks for a more traditional tall, strong armed pro-style quarterback. If you want to be a scholarship quarterback make sure you are in a high school system that showcases your strengths. Coaches will always give scholarships to quarterbacks first so they can develop them for a couple years.
It is not uncommon for running backs to be expected to come in from high school and contribute good carries right away. Coaches will also give scholarships to a running back that might be really fast or elusive but might lack the size to play right away. It is very difficult to get a scholarship as a running back if you don’t have speed unless you are a big power back usually over 6’ and weighing more than 200lbs.
To get a scholarship right away as a receiver you need to be tall and fast. Some programs will sacrifice on height if you have amazing 4.4 or faster speed. Getting the opportunity to be a receiver who is a little undersized typically means you have to look further and for programs that have the right fit. Look for a pro-style offense where you can fill the role of a smaller slot receiver.
These are some of the best all around athletes on the offensive side of the ball. It is not uncommon for tall, slower high school receivers to transition to this position in college. Your typical scholarship tight end is tall 6’3”+, fast and strong. Coaches expect tight ends to be able to catch and block. If you are more of a one dimensional tight end you should look for a program that plays to your strengths.
It is very rare for a high school tackle to come in and get a lot of snaps right away. If you have the height and show potential to put on weight and muscle coaches will take the chance. If you aren’t over 6’3” expect to be moved to guard or center. As a college tackle you’ll be blocking defensive ends that are among the most athletic players on the field.
There isn’t as much of a prototypical size at this position as a lot will depend on what style a program plays. Some athletic programs will recruit for size while others look for more speed. Similar to tackles coaches expect to have to develop talent here and will be willing to recruit kids with good height and look to add muscle and weight in their first few years at college.
Most defensive tackles don’t come straight out of high school getting significant playing time as freshman. Most DT’s need a couple years to build up their size and strength to compete against college level offensive lineman and bring down college running backs. Weight is critical, if you don’t have the frame to carry 280lbs+ you will need to look at moving to linebacker or center/guard.
Getting a football scholarship as a college defensive end you need to be a very high level athlete. You need to have the strength to compete with 300lb+ tackles, be 6’3”+ to block passes and speed to get the angle on college running backs. This is another position where coaches will recruit a tall frame with athleticism and give them a couple years to develop the necessary strength.
This is very much a development position for college programs. Coaches recruit and even give scholarships to kids who are 1 to 2 years away from having the strength or size to compete. If you are a great all around athlete and posses the type of aggressive disposition needed for a linebacker coaches will give you the chance to develop while on scholarship.
This is a position where you can get a scholarship even if it wasn’t the position you played in high school. For example, many high school running backs that are exceptionally fast but lack the frame to handle the abuse at the college level will transition to DB’s. Also, undersized but fast linebackers will be moved to safety. You will need to be fast and poses good leaping ability as you will typically be covering receivers 3-5 inches taller then you and tacking down running backs who are 200lbs+.
If you are a strong legged and accurate kicker in high school you can expect to come into a college program and get a scholarship right away. It is more common for DIA, DIAA and some DII programs to give scholarships to kickers. Outside of those division levels it can be more difficult to get a scholarship if all you do is kick.