Football Recruiting Tips For Parents And Athletes

how to get recruited for college football players

College football coaches will send out letters to a lot of prospects, contact some of those prospects via email or phone, and sign a few to a full scholarship. This process for college football coaches and recruits is the recruiting funnel. 

I want you to learn this concept so you can understand exactly how the recruiting process works. 

When you break it down by the numbers, there are hundreds of thousands of athletes across the nation that want a scholarship. 

With that being said, you want to focus your time and energy on finding the right college fit for you.

Football Recruiting Tips
College Football Recruiting Tips For Parents

College football coaches are always looking for skilled football players to impact their teams. There are many moving parts in the recruiting process and all schools recruit players differently.

Each school has positions they need to be filled, a specific measurable they look for per position, and many other factors that play into who they want to offer scholarships to. 

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The Steps of the College Recruiting Process

Don’t focus all of your time and energy on targeting schools that won’t make sense based on your size, your athletic skills, and your grades. 

For example, you may have seen an athlete on social media or one of your teammates brag about themselves getting recruited like this:

Prospect: “I’m being recruited by Georgia, Alabama, USC, and Ohio State!”

Friend: “No way! Which coach reached out to you, was it Nick Saban?”

Prospect: “Actually, I’m not sure. I received a letter in the mail from them. That means I’m being recruited right?”

Friend: “Um….” 

I’ve seen this situation many times over the years with the athletes I’ve worked with. Parents believe their son is the best athlete to step foot on the football field and the athlete believes the same. I don’t want you to be misled, and I don’t want to keep you from being ambitious and confident, but I am here to keep it real with you. 

Getting recruited and receiving a scholarship doesn’t happen out of the blue. It takes patience and a lot of work to get your name out there. 

That’s why I want to paint a clear, realistic picture to help you have the most successful recruiting process so you can find the right college fit for you!

Football Recruiting Tips
Step 1: Letters Sent


When you break down the numbers, the chances of getting a scholarship to a top ranked Division 1 school are very slim.

If you examine the recruiting funnel diagram above, you will see a college football staff will send about 15,000 letters to potential prospects. This is the first step in your process of getting recruited to play college football.

College football coaches will send out letters of interest through letters, questionnaires to fill out, and invites to their college football camp.

During this step, college football coaches want to gauge recruits numbers like combine stats, height and weight, their football rankings if they’re ranked, etc. Coaches use the information they receive from athletes to input into their database of football recruits and obtain more information.

Big college football programs can send up to 15,000 initial letters to potential recruits. For you as a recruit, you need to take the time and reply to every letter of interest you receive. You want to follow up with an email to the coach letting them know you’ve received their letter of interest, you took the time to fill out their questionnaire, and ask if there’s anything else they would need from you. 

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Step 2: Evaluation

how to talk to college football coaches scouts

Following the first step is where college football coaches will make their initial evaluations.

As soon as colleges have targeted prospective recruits that’ll be a good fit within their program, they’ll start to watch highlight films. Among those 15,000 letters as stated above, football coaches will watch around 1,000-2,000 highlight films (so roughly around 10% or less).

During this process, coaches will look at things like your speed, your size, your reaction, your hustle, and what your potential could be. Also, coaches are going to check your grades and see if you’re eligible, making it important for you to stay on top of your grades.

Your job during this phase is to make sure you have all of your information organized for the college football coaches, both your academic and athletic information. That’s why it’s critical you have everything in one place making it easier for the coaches to evaluate you.

Since college football coaches are recruiting a lot of different athletes, they’re not going to have the patience to try and dig through or find your information themselves.

Be prepared to have everything ready to send over to the coaches.

Football Recruiting Tips
Step 3: Contacted and Campus Invitation

football recruiting camps

The next step is the next phase in evaluations. Among the 1,000-2,000 tapes watched, 500-1000 will get invited to the school’s camp to be evaluated in person. This phase is showing more interest in you as a recruit in the recruiting process. If you’re being invited on an official or unofficial visit, then you can assume the school is extremely interested in you.

Coaches want to meet you in person and spend time with you to get to know your family and you. They’re going to look at what kind of character you have.

This phase doesn’t guarantee you a scholarship quite yet, although you may receive a scholarship offer on one of your visits. It does mean that there is high interest in you as a recruit.

Your job during this phase is to get to understand the college and ask as many questions as they’re asking you. Ask questions about their academics, university life, program goals, and anything else that is important to you when deciding a good fit for your 4-year college football journey.

If you fail to engage and show interest in their program and not ask any questions, coaches can take that as a sign that you’re not that interested in them. Make sure you prepare yourself with any questions you may have.

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Step 4: Verbal Scholarship Offer

The final two steps of the funnel include verbal offers and official signing day. Coaches can offer you either on scholarship or as a walk-on. If you are blessed to receive a scholarship offer, show your appreciation and gratitude to the coach for the offer.

You DO NOT have to commit on the spot, but instead let the coaches know you’re eternally grateful for the opportunity, but you want to talk it over with your family first before making any final decisions.

I say this because college coaches may pressure you into getting an answer on whether you’re going to commit or not. If the coaches give you a deadline on when they need an answer by, weigh your options on what offers you currently have and make the decision on what makes you most comfortable.

If it’s your dream school you always wanted to play for, let the coaches know you plan to commit and play for them.

Football Recruiting Tips
Step 5: Official Signing Day

how to play college football without a scholarship

After you decide where you want to commit to after receiving an athletic scholarship, the final phase is National Signing Day. 20-25 signed athletes will play on scholarship (0.16% signed on scholarship among the 15,000 letters sent out to potential prospects).

This doesn’t mean you can go do whatever you want now that you’ve signed an official letter of intent. You need to still take your grades seriously, train hard in preparation of going to college, and be professional on social media.

You don’t want anything to hinder your chances of getting your scholarship pulled and taken away as discussed in one of our latest articles below.

Final College Football Recruiting Tips For Parents & Athletes

The Gridiron Recruiting Center

Always be thankful and grateful that you have the opportunity to college football. Keep these steps in mind so you’re prepared and know exactly how the college football recruiting process works.

If you need more tips on how to maximize your chances of getting a college football scholarship, you can read some of our latest posts on the “College Football Recruiting – How To Get Recruited” and “How To Get A Football Scholarship – Key Recruiting Steps“.

If you’re a serious football player looking to play football at the next level, you can access all of our sports performance training programs, football drills and workouts, and the Gridiron Recruiting Center inside “The Gridiron Academy” to help you with your football recruiting.

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