College Football Scholarships. Football Recruiting.
Football recruiting comes down to finding the schools that are the right fit for you and taking the necessary steps to get evaluated by their coaching staff. Depending on what kind of player you are and what level you are going to be playing that can mean very different things.
Football Scholarship Recruiting at the NCAA DI-A Level
These are the top football programs in the country and besides having coaches that make huge salaries and they have the football recruiting budgets to match. These coaches jobs depend on finding the talent they need to keep their jobs and they will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year finding and evaluating talented recruits. These coaches have clear expectations of the athletes they recruit.
1) They have to show an interest in the program – coaches will send out thousands of letters to prospective athletes and get hundreds more from qualified athletes. If you don’t respond they will bump you off the their football scholarship list, simple as that.
2) You must give them multiple opportunities to evaluate you – coaches recruit athlete based on their projects for that athlete. In order to make a proper assessment coaches will want to see your highlight tapes, game tapes and see you in person at their football camps.
3) You have to take care of your eligibility – a football coach can’t retroactively make you eligible. It is your responsibility to take the necessary core courses, get the highest GPA you can and take care of your SAT or ACT testing.
College Football Scholarship Recruiting at the NCAA DI-AA Level
College programs at this level are still extremely competitive. Increasingly you are seeing DI-AA programs upset DI-A programs. Recruiting at this level is marked by one big difference. Typically these programs don’t have the money to go out and find athletes across the country. However, they will have many of the same expectations of their recruits and will still need to evaluate an athlete over several years of high school.
Football Recruiting at the NCAA DII Level
DII programs have significantly fewer football scholarships to offer as a program and as such must be much pickier on how they recruit. Unlike DI programs who will often times have several red-shirt and backup athletes on scholarship, DII programs reserve scholarships for athletes that are contributing. That means they recruit specific positions each off-season and if your position doesn’t necessarily match up with what they need, getting a football scholarship is going to be really difficult.
Recruiting at the NCAA DIII Level
Don’t think that just because DIII programs don’t have athletic scholarships they don’t recruit. DIII football is extremely competitive and the financial aid packages put together by DIII schools can often rival DII programs in terms of dollar amounts. Coaches at this level don’t have the money to travel the country and recruit and additionally they don’t always have the money to run camps at their schools. They rely heavily on athletes sending them high quality highlight tapes and games tapes. There are no restrictions on communicating with coaches at the DIII level so if you are interested in playing football at this level you should reach out to coaches right away.
Recruiting at the NAIA Level
NAIA football programs are very comparable to NCAA DII programs in terms of the competition level. They only real difference is the academic eligibility requirements. If you are being recruited by an NAIA program it really comes down to whether or not the school is the right fit. Of course coaches need to see video of you; they will want to see you in person and will want to talk with you several times via the phone and email. It is your job to ask informed questions and make sure you get to understand each program and make sure it fits your expectations about the college football experience.
Recruiting at the NJCAA Level
There is a big disparity between junior college programs, with some programs being very well funded while others will struggle to make numbers each year. Getting paying time at the top Junior Colleges can be just as competitive as some of the big name four year programs. If you are going to be playing Junior College football it is critical that during the football scholarship recruiting process you find a school where you can get significant playing time at the highest competitive level possible.