Getting a College Football Scholarship

  1. #1
    Director of Football Operations
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    Dec 06

    Getting a College Football Scholarship

    Getting a College Football Scholarship - Part 1

    This is part one of a, more then likely, four part series on college recruiting and scholarship acquisition. This is a topic that is widely misunderstood and complicated. Every year, I know of several players who could have received money for college though football but could not because they were not educated on the recruiting process.

    It has been asked, debated, and partially answered on Bluegrasspreps many times over the years - what needs to be done to get a player recruited by a college. Many parents, and player, think their high school coach will take care of the recruiting process for them. Some use the tiresome argument, “if you are good enough, the colleges will find you”. And, still some think, “it will just happen”. For the most part, all these are wrong. Simply put, most high school coaches do not have the time to devote to helping each of his players to get recruited. Coaches, coach practice daily, coach games on Friday, start breaking film down Friday night that continues into Saturday, then they start breaking film down of their upcoming opponents on Sunday and start over on Monday. All that on top of teaching all week and attempting to spend some time with their families. Making highlight videos, phone calls, and emailing coaches for each of their seniors just does not fit into the equation, in most cases. Plus, a high school coach’s job is to win high school games, who has more vested in a player getting a college scholarship, the high school coach, or the player and his family which are going to save thousands of dollars on college education?

    Colleges don’t, “just find you”. Some will argue that it does happen, but that is for a very small amount of players, and players who are so dominate that they can’t be ignored. Not all players who can get a free education by playing football are those kind of players. There are well over 400 football playing colleges in the United States that can give your son a free education in exchange for their ability to play football. With an average roster size of 100 players per team, that is 40,000 football players at the college level. Are all 40,000 players the next Tom Brady? Are all those players, “just found”? Do you want to take the chance that those colleges may “miss” your son? Why not help them outa little, just in case?

    After we realize that the recruiting process is on us, the parents and players, and not the coaches, where do we begin? What do we do to get the ball rolling? The first obvious question is, when do I start working on getting recruited? You will find people who give different answers to this question, but the answer I like is, the freshman year of the player. Like I said, some will give different answers, like junior high school, or before. I think the freshman year is appropriate.

    Next, we need to get familiar with some trade terms. The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has several different levels. Everyone knows Division-I, but not all Division I football is equal. We used to have D-IA, now known as Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). These are the big named schools that we all see on TV on Saturdays. There are 120 FBS Schools. Each FBS school has a total of 85 scholarships, assuming they are not on probation or sanctions that limit their total scholarships. FBS Schools can have a total of 85scholarship players on their roster at one time and generally can have an incoming total of 25 scholarship players per year. These FBS schools can only give full scholarships or no scholarships. There is no “partial” scholarships at this level. All or nothing.

    Next, we have the old D-IAA, which is now known as Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). There are 125 schools in this division. Each FCS school has 63 equivalents. Notice I did not say “scholarships”. An equivalent is similar to a scholarship, but equivalent can be split among multiple players. For example, an equivalent can be split between two or three players giving each of them a partial scholarship. This comes in handy for a college that is recruiting a player with exceptional grades. The program can give the player a partial football scholarshipknowing that that player will also receive a partial academic scholarship, giving them a a free education and allowing the program to use that other half of that equivalent on a player that may not qualify for an academic scholarship. Schools in the FCS can distribute the 63 equivalents as they wish, but generally they can only admit 30 scholarship players per year.

    The third devision is, Division II. There are 156 D-II schools in the country. Each D-II school has 36 equivalents. Obviously, all D-II schools want more then 36 players, so the likelihood of a player getting a full scholarship to a D-II school is less, because for a D-II school to have 80-100 players, they are going to have to split those equivalents up and even have some walk-on players to fill the roster.

    The last NCAA Division is, Division III. There are 239 football playing schools in this division. D-III schools are not allowed to give any athletic scholarships. All players are either paying for their own education, or receiving academic money. No athletic money is available.

    That is all the NCAA divisions, but their are other options. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Most would agree that the NAIA level closely resembles the NCAA D-II level. There are 92 schools in the NAIA that play football. NAIA schools have 24 equivalents. The NAIA schools can, and often do, split equivalents among several players to spread their money, so once again, academic scholarships become more important to augment what football money is received.

    One topic that many, many people do not know about, or misunderstand is the Clearinghouse, or Eligibility Center. The NCAA has aClearinghouse and the NAIA has a Clearinghouse. To receive, or accept a scholarship, a player has be registered with the Clearinghouse by the end of their junior year. With the only exception being NCAA D-III. Division III players do not have to use the Clearinghouse, mainly due to the fact that D-III schools have standards that supersede those of the NCAA, and due to the fact that D-III schools can not offer money in exchange for playing football. To register with the NCAA and/or the NAIA Eligibility Center you have to go to their respective websites and provide personal information and pay a fee of sixty-five dollars. After registration, all test scores (ACT and/or SAT) must be sent to the Center and a high school transcript during the student-athlete’s senior year and another at the conclusion of their senior year. This takes some of the burden off of the college football program and college in determining eligibility of a potential player. You may think, it doesn’t benefit the player, only the college, which is partially true, but it is required and non-negotiable.

    That concludes Part 1 of Getting a College Football Scholarship, take some time and digest this information and keep a look out for Part 2 next week.

    NCAA Eligibility Center

    NAIA Eligibility Center


  2. #2
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    Dec 06

    Getting a College Football Scholarship - Part 2

    This is part two of a, more then likely, four part series on college recruiting and scholarship acquisition. This is a topic that is widely misunderstood and complicated. Every year, I know of several players who could have received money for college though football but could not because they were not educated in the recruiting process.

    “My son wants a College Football Scholarship, now what?”
    A common thought for parents of players who want to help pay for their education by playing football. Don’t worry, you are not the only one who has thought this, unless you have been though the process before, you don’t know the answer. So, the first thing you need to do is, get educated in the process. To accomplish something, you have to know where you are and where you want to be. Obviously, you know where you are, you are the parent of a high school football player who wants to earn money for college. And, you want to be the parent of a college football player who has earned money, though football, to pay for his education. Now, the only question is, how do I get there? You have to learn as much about the recruiting process as possible so you can better advise your son about what to do.

    "My son is not getting mail from colleges, why?"
    There are regulations that restrict what college football programs can do. Starting a player’s sophomore year, programs can send players information about their camps and they can send players questionnaires. They can’t send much else. Go to some of these camps. Go to as many as you can. The colleges do have to charge for them. Many people say, “if they want you bad enough, they should let you come free”. Again, there are regulations the colleges have to follow. These camps normally give the participants a T-shirt and many times supply lunch. The college can not give the players anything to entice them to come to their school, so they have to charge a small fee, normally enough to cover the cost of a T-shirt and meal. The college camps are normally very reasonably priced.

    The questionnaires are very important. If a college sends your player a questionnaire, fill it out and send it back, without question. If a player gets a questionnaire, they are on that college’s radar, and if you don’t send the questionnaire back, you are taken off the radar. After sending the questionnaire back, the college places the player’s name in their database and they will receive further mail and consideration. Fill out every questionnaire you get and return it quickly. They are repetitious, but a necessary evil. This is a “your foot in the door” type situation.

    After September 1st of a player’s Junior year, the colleges can start sending players recruiting information - basically they can send any mail they want. Getting mail from colleges is very exciting, to the players and the parents. It’s always nice to be wanted and getting mail from colleges means they at least know the player’s name and that they may just want that player at their school.

    "How do the colleges learn about my son?"
    The number one source of player information for colleges are High School Football Coaches. College Coaches will send mailers out to High School Coaches asking them to name players who they think may be able to play College Football. That is why it is important for players to let their High School Coach know they are interested in playing College Football - they need their name on that list.

    High School Coaches are not the only way colleges learn about a player. There is this new thing out there - the Internet. The internet has changed college recruiting dramatically. There are recruiting sites that list players, don’t kid yourself, college coaches do look at them.Getting your son on as many of these sites will help.

    Short of the High School Coach, and the Internet, a player can get his name on the college’s radar by making contact, sending an email letting the coach know who he is, what high school he attends and some other information. Now, don’t be disappointed when the collegecoach doesn’t respond to this email, because he probably will not. Again, some regulations on when the college coach can contact a player. But, don’t worry, he got it, and he put that player in his database. That player is now in the system and will probably start getting some mail from the college’s Office of Admissions.

    "My son is a sophomore and college coaches have not met him, why?"
    The first Thursday in February of a player’s Junior year is when recruiting really starts. The first Wednesday of February is National Signing Day, meaning colleges finalize what player they are getting this year. The next day, colleges start looking at their next recruiting class. That is when your Junior son’s class moves up the priority list. This is called the “Spring Evaluation Period”. During this period, college coach still can not schedule meeting with or call a player. But, they can schedule a meeting with the High School Coach to get film or to talk to them about possible recruits. While they are at the High School meeting the High School Coach, they may, and can, accidentally “Bump” into players. Players need to know that College Coaches may be in their school and they could potentially “bump” into them. The players need to be ready for those encounters. Now, don’t be disappointed if those meeting don’t take place because most colleges don’t have the budgets or resources to travel to every high school that has players they may want to recruit. If a player’s high school is close to a college campus, or the College Coach is making a trip to the area, it could happen.

    "My son has not received any phone calls from College Coaches, why?"
    The NCAA regulates when and how often a College Coach can call a potential player. According to these regulations, a College Coach may call a recruit one time in May of the player’s Junior year of school. And, then they may not call that player again until September of the players Senior year of school. Starting in September of the players Senior year, the College Coach may only call one time per week. All those regulations only limit the College Coaches from calling. A high school football player may call college coaches as much as they like. In other words, if you are not getting calls from coaches, you may call the coach. Now, if you reach the coach he will, more then likely, talk to you. But, if you get his voicemail, or leave a message with an office assistant, he will not be allowed to call you back. Don’t take it personally when he doesn’t return your phone call, he did not because he is not allowed by NCAA regulations. Just call him back until you are able to speak with him.

    Some other options: email and text. The NCAA regulations are pretty strict on phone calls and meeting players off of the college campus, but given the relatively newness of email and texting, there are very few NCAA regulations on those types of communications. Plus, mostcollege coaches prefer email to phone calls. They will email you back and fourth all day. One big advantage to email communication is, you don’t have to worry as much about saying the wrong thing, you can type your email and edit it and change it until you get it just right. Another advantage, you can add attachments of documents that the coach will want (we will get into those documents in the next segment). Some college coaches love to text, they may ask for a player’s cell number so they can text him. The good news, the players love to text as well, so it comes natural to them. A good idea with texting coaches: Don’t use shorthand and abbreviations. One, the coach may misunderstand what is being said, two it could be seen as a sign of laziness on the part of the player. College coaches, especially the ones at “High academic standard colleges” want players who are intelligent, well spoken, and posses a certain degree of knowledge of the English language, so tell the players to save the shorthand texting for their girlfriends and buddies.

    "So, let me get this straight, you tell me the recruiting process starts the Freshman year, but the college coaches can’t contact my son until September of their Senior year?"
    Yep, that is how it works. You are probably wondering what to do in those first three years of high school when the college coaches can’t contact players. First, I didn’t say the college coaches “can’t have contact”, I said they, “can’t schedule meetings or call”. Let’s clarify a few things. Almost all those regulations restricting contact my college coaches are limited to “off the college campus”. So, if a player goes to thecollege campus, the college coach can meet with you and talk to you all day. Wait for it...... wait for it....... that is why the college camps are so important and that is why the colleges have those camps. The college coaches can host a camp, and a bunch of players come to their campus and they can watch them, talk to them, and see them perform in person. That is a great tool for the college coaches, plus, it gives the high school players a chance to meet the coaches, see the college and decide if they want to go to college there and is doesn’t violate any recruiting regulations. There’s your in.

    Of course, it’s not possible to go to every college camp, so choosing some takes some thought. How can you get in contact with the other colleges? Even though they can not contact the players, you can contact them. The best way? Email. Email the college coaches and send them the information they want (again, we will get into those documents in the next segment). How do you get the coach’s email addresses? Almost every college program’s website, has a tab that says, “coaches” or “Athletic Directory”. Find that and it will list all the coaches by name and email address. All of them? Which coach do you email? First, most college coaches are assigned an area to recruit. If they list which coach has which area, send an email to the coach that is responsible for your area. Also, it is a good idea to email the position coach for the position that a player plays. When in doubt as to which coach to email, email the position coach.

    "My son is a Senior, why hasn’t any college coaches come to watch one of his games?"
    Well, to start with, are you sure the college coaches haven’t been to one of your son’s games? The college coaches don’t announce themselves when they come to a high school game. They come, watch, and leave. You may not have known they were there. Secondly, most colleges don’t have the budgets or resources to go to every high school game and watch every potential player. That is why film (we will get into that in the next segment) and attending the college camps are so important. Lastly, the big problem college coaches have with attending high school games is, the high school football season coincides with the college football season, so the college coaches are preparing their team for their next big game and don’t always have time to travel to a high school to see players play. Again, summer camps are important.

    That concludes Part 2 of this four part series. Next week, we will get into what you have to do and what you need to send to the collegecoaches. Keep a look out for the next segment.

  3. #3
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    Dec 06

    Getting a College Football Scholarship - Part 3

    This is part three of a four part series on college recruiting and scholarship acquisition. This is a topic that is widely misunderstood and complicated. Every year, I know of several players who could have received money for collegethough football but could not because they were not educated in the recruiting process.

    What needs to be done, and when?

    Like I said, the process starts when the player is a Freshman. The player needs to focus on making great grades. Grades will be important. The player also needs to focus on taking College preparation classes and ACT preparation classes. Let’s face it, not many players will receive full athletic scholarships, the better the grades, the better chance that a college can can find the player some academic money to go with their partial athletic scholarship. The goal here is a free, or as close to a free as possible, education. Football can help in that endeavor, but grades will help as well.

    The player needs to take the ACT, at least, once a year. The cumulative score is important, but the great thing about colleges, they can take the ACT apart and put it back together again. In other words, If a player gets a high score in the Math portion of the ACT this time and gets low scores in the other categories, but gets a High score in Science next time but a low score in Math. The College can take the High scores out of each test and use those, not just the whole individual test.

    You need a videographer, or you need to become a videographer. Start early filming the player’s games. Don’t rely on the school filming the games, if you can get out of it. Sure, they probably do it, but sometimes getting copies can be difficult, and then you have the whole “quality” of the film thing. How good is the person doing the filming.

    If the player is only playing on the Freshman team, film the Freshman games, if he is playing Junior Varsity, film those games, if he is good enough, and you program allows it, and he is playing on the varsity team, then by all means, film those. Get good at filming games. When I say, “get good”, find out how to film football games. Most school film is pretty wide, they want the deepest back on offense and the safety on defense all in the film at the same time. Sometimes that is not the best film to use for recruiting purposes. Along the same line of thinking, film that is too close is not best either. You can’t use film that zooms in on one player. Recruiting film should have the formation visible in the film. The best answer, it will be closer then what the school wants, but further away then what Mommy wants to see her son. Look at some player highlight videos on the Internet and see which ones look good, and which ones do not. That will give you a good idea of what you want. And, while we are at it, do not add music to the highlight video. College Coaches hate that. This is not a video to pull off the self every once in a while to look at and remember how good a player was. This is an evaluation tool for College Coaches. No music, not even a little. In fact, have no sound what so ever on the video. No crowd, no cheering, no music, just silence.

    That’s all you need to do at this point, just film the games and put them back for now.

    After school is out and we are now in the summer between the players Freshman and Sophomore year, it’s camp time. Go to, at least, several college camps. Get some exposure, see what coaches are looking for, see what the competition looks like, and get better at playingfootball. While the player is there, look around at what the college has to offer, see if that is a college that the player would like to attend.

    Register with the NCAA and NAIA Clearinghouses. A player doesn’t have to register until they are a Junior, but do it now. It doesn’t take very long and costs around sixty-five dollars. Do it now. One reason why, every time you take the ACT or SAT, you can have the results sent directly to the Clearinghouses and not have to do it later. The Clearinghouses have codes, just like colleges, that you place on your ACT registration and the ACT goes directly to the Clearinghouse.
    The NCAA Eligibility Center ACT Code is: 9999
    The NAIA Eligibility Center ACT Code is: 9876

    Make a Freshman Highlight Video. Not long, just about 5 minutes, no more then 10 minutes. Seriously, not longer then 10 minutes. Take all the game films from the players Freshman year and make a short video. You will need some kind of film editing software, use what you like. I am a Mac user and use iMovie. I have found the Mac to be great for various media uses and iMovie is easy to learn on your own. But, use what is comfortable and accessible. No music, dead silence on the Highlight video.

    Very important: on the title page of the video, put the player’s name, high school name, what number they are wearing, what color uniform they are wearing, what position they are playing, and the players contact information. It does no good to send a video to a College Coach if he doesn’t know who the player is that you want him to watch.

    Put the Highlight video on Youtube and be sure to title it with the player’s name and “Freshman Highlight Video”. Now, you have a very easy and fast way to send film to any coach you want.

    Make a Player Profile. A Player Profile is a resume for a football player. The Player Profile should have the player’s name, address, phone numbers and a picture (just a close head shot so the coaches can see what he looks like). It should also have the name of the player’s school, his high school coach’s name with his contact information. The profile should also have a list of all the player’s maxes, 40 times, bench, squat, dead lift, clean. Don’t forget the player’s grade point average and test scores. Also, list all the players accomplishments for his Freshman year. You will need to edit and add to this Player Profile each year all the way though the player’s Senior year.

    This is a great time to get a three-ring binder. You are going to need it. Fill it with notebook paper and place tab dividers in the binder, preferably tab dividers with pockets in them for placing mailings. Label each tab divider, one for FBS, one for BCS, one for D-II, one for D-III, and one for NAIA. Make a paper in each class for each college you communicate with. This binder will become invaluable. Each time you communicate with a college, write it down on the paper for that college. It may seem simple right now, but as you communicate with ten, twenty, or fifty colleges it gets complicated and it’s hard to remember what was said. Keep notes on the college’s page of what was said to the Coach, and what the Coach said, to remind you of what happened in that communication. Put any mailings that you receive in the pocket of the Tab Divider for that class. Go ahead and put a copy of the Player Profile in there as well for safe keeping and reference. Also, put that Freshman Highlight Video on a CD and put that in there as well for safe keeping. The binder will become “Recruiting Central”.

    Now, send the Highlight video and Player Profile to some College Coaches with a short email introducing yourself. Notice that I phrased that as instructions for the player. College Coaches do not want an email from mommy or daddy, they want emails from the players. They want to know that the player is interested. Just a short email from the player with the youtube link of the highlight video and a copy of his Player Profile. Don’t expect a response, due to the player being a Freshman. But, this contact with get the player in the Coach’s database and on the radar. Log in the binder that you made this contact with the program.

    The player needs to keep focusing on his grades, the better the grades, the better chance he has of getting a free college education. Take the ACT, at least, once in the Sophomore year and send the results to the NCAA and NAIA Clearinghouses.

    Video all the games again, Junior Varsity and/or Varsity. Be sure do a good job and make quality video. No music, ever. At the conclusion of the season, make a Sophomore Highlight Video about ten minutes long, no music. Be sure to put the proper information on the Title Page so the College Coaches will know who to look at. Put the video on youtube. Update the Player Profile with any changes in contact information, increases in maxes and academic improvements. Add the Sophomore accomplishments.

    In the Spring of the Sophomore year, the player may start getting camp invitations and questionnaires. If they don’t, that’s OK. He can still register for the College Camps and attend. Attend as many College Camps as possible, preferable College Camps that have the mostcollege coaches as possible. Some big Colleges will have a lot of D-II, D-III and NAIA coaches there helping run the camp. The smallercollege coaches are there to evaluate players, nothing else, they don’t come to the camps to help the big college coaches out, they are there to find players.

    Email some more coaches, send them the Player Profile and Highlight Video link. Add a short introduction. Again, don’t expect a response, but they got it and added the player to their database.

    Log all camps and college contacts in the binder. It’s very important to keep track of who you have contacted and what happened in that contact. It will get complicated.

    Things get kicked up a notch during the Junior year. The player will take the ACT at school this year, but it is a good idea to take it, at least once more toward the end of the year. The player will have gained a great deal of knowledge this year to increase their score. Most schools provide ACT prep during the Junior year because they know all Juniors will be taking the ACT at school and they want to advertise the school average ACT as high as possible. Be sure to sent the ACT results to the NCAA and NAIA Clearinghouses.

    The player needs to focus on grades still. The better the grade point average, the better the chance of a free college education.

    Film all the games, hopefully the player is playing Varsity and the film will be of Varsity competition, but if playing Junior Varsity, film that. Make a Highlight Video and post it on youtube after the season is complete.

    Update the Player Profile with all the player improvements and accomplishments during the Junior year.

    Send as many College Coaches as possible the Player Profile and a link to the Junior Highlight Video. As many as possible. Don’t just focus on D-I coaches, send it to D-I, D-II, D-III, and NAIA coaches. As many as possible. Also, visit each college’s website, they all have a“Recruit” or “Prospective Player” tab. When you click on that, it will have a questionnaire, fill that out for each college. Even if you send aPlayer Profile with more information then the questionnaire, the Coach will still need you to fill out the questionnaire. Stay ahead of the game and have it filled out before they ask you to, it shows initiative and a good work ethic.

    Log all those contacts and emails in the binder for every college you have had contact with. The player will probably start getting responses at this point. Answer all emails from Coaches. Answer all emails from coaches, always. You never know when that may be the college you want to end up at. They may start inviting the player to college games or just college visits. Go to as many as possible.

    After the first Wednesday in February, a Junior is now a Senior as far as the College Coaches are concerned. They have finished working on the true Seniors and are now focused on next year. Contacts may explode, be prepared. This may be a good time to send some more emails because now all the coaches are focused on are the Juniors. They are not sharing time between the Seniors and Juniors. It’s all Juniors, all the time now.

    Go to as many College Camps this summer as possible. The Player is now a Senior as far as the College Coaches are concerned. This is their last summer to attend camps and be on campus performing for coaches. Go to as many College Camps as possible. And go to camps with as many coaches as possible. Each camp is a try-out, the player should look at it as such. Everything they do is being evaluated. Not just their playing ability, but their attitude, they work ethic, their personality, and how they carry themselves. The summer camps are very important this year. This may be the last time a coach sees that player perform.

    The player still needs to focus on grades, they don’t want to have a drop in GPA their senior year. Keep working on those grades. If they can take the ACT again prior to December 31st, they should take it. But, this semester is going to be very busy and it would be better if they had already achieved a high score and don’t have to take it again. Colleges will invite players to their home games for Game Visits. Going to these get a little tricky. There are only so many Saturdays in the fall and only so many home games for any given college. The player will have to choose which college game they want to attend. They will be attending College Games on Saturdays after playing a high school game on Friday. This will be a very busy time for the player.

    Video the games. College Coaches will want a Highlight Video of the first four games of a player’s Senior season. Video the first four games and post that Highlight Video on youtube as soon as possible after the fourth game. As soon as the Early Senior Highlight Video is posted, send emails with links to the video to as many coaches as possible. Also, send the updated Player Profile and fill out each college’s questionnaire on their website, even if you filled it out before. Colleges purge those from time to time and your may have been purged after the National Signing Day for the previous class. Be sure to fill a new one out in the early part of your senior year. Coaches will probably respond to emails freely at this point. Respond back to them promptly. They want to talk to the player and get to know them. Make sure any coach that communicates with you has seen the Senior Highlight Video, if not, send it to them.

    Start applying for admission to all colleges. This needs to be done prior to December. Most colleges do not charge an admissions fee, some do. But, apply to any college that you think the player may possible be attending. Apply early.

    After the first semester of the Senior year, have the high school guidance counselor send a seven-semester transcript to the NCAA and NAIA Clearinghouse.

    In the Spring of the Senior year, colleges that are interested will want the player to come on campus and stay overnight with a host player. They may go to a basketball game or baseball game, hang out with the other players and look around campus. A good opportunity to see what college life is like and to determine if the player wants to attend that school.

    Woooo, Part Three was a big one. That is a lot of information, let it sink in for a while and we will wrap up with Part Four next week, when we will discuss some optional things that you may have heard of and some more tips you need to know. Keep an eye out for it.

  4. #4
    Director of Football Operations
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    Dec 06

    Getting a College Football Scholarship - Part 4

    This is part four of a four part series on college recruiting and scholarship acquisition. This is a topic that is widely misunderstood and complicated. Every year, I know of several players who could have received money for college though football but could not because they were not educated in the recruiting process.

    What is the difference between an “Official” and an “Unofficial” visit?
    A common question parents of college recruits have. The simple difference is: who is paying? Unofficial Visits are much more common, and will encompass the majority of a players college visits. The parents of the player will be paying for everything during the unofficial visits, except footballgame tickets and possible a meal. All travel, hotel accommodations, and most meals will be paid by the parents. However, Official Visits allow the college to pay for travel expenses for the player and parent, hotel accommodations for a player and/or parent, meal expenses, and game tickets.

    The Official Visits sound pretty nice, huh? Why not just make all the visits Official Visits?
    NCAA regulations only allow a player to take five Official Visits. So, most college visits will be Unofficial Visits. Many people think that they should take Official Visits to the colleges they really like. A better plan may be to take Official Visits to the colleges that are the farthest away from a player’s home, letting the colleges pay for the furthest trips. Something to consider. Or, one could argue that a player should take all their college visits on the parent’s expense, then narrow down the colleges to five and take a second, Official Visit to those five colleges. All three are good arguments, each player and their parents will have to find the best answer for them.

    Recruiting agencies, should I use one?
    Do they have those for high school players? What do they do? Do I have to use one? Are they worth the money? How much do they charge? Can I do everything they do on my own? A lot of questions here, and rightfully so. This is a big decision, and it can be an expensive one. There are multiple High School Recruiting Agencies around the country, most do the same things, and some are really good at what they do. Let’s break down these questions and talk about each one individually.

    Do they have those for high school players? Yes, they claim to, and probably do, help many high school players getcollege scholarships. They are a resource, and can be a good resource if proper research and management is applied.

    What do they do? Virtually all these agencies compile player information, send emails to college coaches, make highlight videos, and provide a website for players information to be uploaded for viewing by college coaches.

    Do I have to use one? No, you don’t have to use one, they are a resource and if you think it best and can afford to use arecruiting agency, then you can.

    Are they worth the money? Each player and their parent have to decide that. On one hand, they are expensive and there are other options. On the other hand, they can do a lot and can be a great resource. You are encouraged to do a good amount of research and determine if using a recruiting agency is the best option, and if so, which recruiting agency is the best.

    How much do they charge? The price may vary a little, but for the most part a recruiting agency will charge a thousand dollars to promote a player.

    Can I do everything they do on my own? Of course, this is up to the parents of the player, but the simple answer is, yes. The player and parent have to weight if putting in the time to do everything themselves is better, or if paying someone else to do some of the work is better. But, yes, you can do it all yourself. The only real difference is, the recruiting agencies can do it faster.

    What does a Recruiting agency do that I have to consider doing?

    1. Recruiting agencies will make highlight videos. You can do that on your own with a common video camera, some video editing software and a computer. Even if the recruiting agency helps with making the video, you are still going to have to video the games and edit it some. They will just put the finishing touches on it and post it on the internet. So, either way here, you are going to be doing basically the same amount of work.
    2. Recruiting agencies will make a “Player Profile. This is basically a resume for a high school football player. I explained this in Part 3 of this series. Anyone can make this profile and do it rather quickly. The work is a non-factor here.
    3. Recruiting agencies will send college coaches emails. This is a point of controversy depending on who you ask. Yes, they will send emails to coaches, some will tell you college coaches don’t pay much attention to agency emails. Others will tell you college coaches are looking for the best players possible and use what ever means they have available. Either way, college coaches do like emails from players and will ultimately want to talk to the player. One factor to consider, how big of a recruit is your player? Do you want to contact every college in the country? Or, do you want to contact colleges in your state, or region? If you are wanting to contact every collegein the country, a Recruiting Agency is probably a must, due to time constraints. If you are wanting to contact 10, 20, or 50 schools it is quite possible you can do this on your own.
    4. Recruiting agencies will post player profiles, highlight videos, and contact information on a website. There are several options here, first, you can post all highlight videos on youtube and send emails with video links and attachments of player profiles to the coaches without needing a dedicated website. Second, you can develop awebsite on a variety of website hosting servers for a very reasonable cost, $20 a month for 12 mounts for a total of $240. They have website templates that allow a person to design a website in several hours. You can then upload the Player Profile, highlight videos, and contact information. You can then send website links to coaches that will allow them to view everything at one spot.
    5. Some recruiting agencies will provide a means for you to see what college coaches have shown interest, and what coaches have viewed a player’s profile. This is a little harder to do on your own, but by communications with coaches, you can probably tell which ones are interested in your player.

    I caution everyone to do research before deciding to hire a recruiting agency. Some agencies are better then others. If possible speak with parents of former players about their experiences with recruiting agencies. You will likely hear avariety of opinions, you have to weight those opinions with others. Some people will be upset saying their child did not benefit from the use of a recruiting agency because they thought their son to be a D-I player but he only was contacted by NAIA schools. That may be true, or that may have been a case of a parent being blinded by their love for their son. Some may sing the praises of the recruiting agency because their son got everything he wanted, that may be because of the agency, or that may have been because their son was a superstar and would have got those chances anyway. Opinions vary, do as much research as possible before hiring a recruiting agency.

    Being honest, my parents always said tell the truth but it seems it makes some people mad when I do. What do I do?
    Early on in the this process of getting a college football scholarship, their needs to be some honesty, honesty on the part of the player, honesty on the part of the parents, honesty on the part of the high school coaches, and honesty on the part of the college coaches. That all sounds good and easy, but trust me it’s not always. The first thing the parents need to do is, ask the player, “Do you really want to play college football?” Easy question, but one that sometimes does not get asked. Yours truly, has witnessed parents contacting colleges and bad mouthing the high school coach for not gettingtheir son a college scholarship, all the while knowing that player did not want to play college football. This probably happens more then many would think. If the players says, “No, I don’t want to play college football”, then the parent has an easy task, sit back and watch their son play high school football and enjoy every minute of it. But, if the player says, “Yes, I want to player college football”, ask the following question, “what level of college football do you want to play?”. Again, an easy question, but a complicated answer. One would initially think, “He wants to play Big Time CollegeFootball”. But, you may be surprised at the answer. If the player is very academic and/or wants to get a great education in certain fields, he may say he wants to play at a D-III college that has very high academic standards and a great academic history. Or, he may say, “I want to play, and go to, a small college because I don’t like the really big colleges”. Or, he may have a very specific college, or group of colleges, in mind because he is attracted to that particular college. Or, he may want that Big Time College experience and he may want to play on TV on Saturdays. But, the fact of the matter is, the player has to answer this question, not the parent.

    After those “easy” questions, a much harder series of questions have to be answered: How good is the player? Did I say honesty? Did I mention some people may not like the honest answer? Well, this is where that comes into play. First, ask the player, “what level of college football do you think you can play?”. This may take some education first, have the player research the differences in college football levels. Second, the parent has to answer the same question, and here’s the hard part, and tell the player what level the parent thinks the player can play. Again, the parent may have to do some research to answer that question. Honesty. Don’t lie to the player here. Thirdly, ask the high school coach what level the player can play at. He will be probably be the most honest. Now, it’s time to compare the answers: where the player thinks he can play, where the parent thinks he can play, and where the high school coach thinks he can play. If all the answers are the same, congratulations, you have a valid, vetted answer that is probably correct. If the answers vary, some more thought is going to have to be applied to the results. Maybe some re-evaluation. Many may not want to hear this, but what ever answer the high school coach gave is probably the closest to correct. If the answer is not what is wanted, ask the high school coach what, if anything, can be done to change his answer, off season work, areas of concern, action plans to improve.

    If you don’t trust the high school coach, or just think he is wrong, have the player send his highlight video to collegecoaches at various levels and ask them if they think the player can play for them, or at their level. Some may not respond, but some will. The answer of the college coaches are pretty much final because they are the ones that ultimately decide if a player is suited for their level of play. And, they will be painfully honest, they don’t mince words very often, or give false hope.

    While we are on “Honesty”..................
    Don’t lie to college coaches, they will find out and your chance of ever playing for them is right there next to zero. If your Bench Press Max is 205, don’t tell them it is 350. They will find out. Don’t put your 40 time at 4.3, unless you are one of the ten people in the country that truly runs a 4.3. And, if you are, show that speed to everyone you come in contact with, because you will be offered a college scholarship by virtually every college in America. College coaches know there are not many people that run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, don’t insult them by trying to tell them you are one, unless you can prove it. They will take offense if you lie to them. Along the same lines, don’t tell them you have a 4.0 GPA if you have a 2.5 GPA. They are going to rely on your grades to find you some academic money, and if they tell their office of admissions to find you some academic money and they get your high school transcript with C’s and D’s, they are going to be upset with you for wasting their time. Be honest, all the time.

    It can be argued that one should not judge a person on their appearance alone. But, when you don’t know someone, that is what they have to go on, and when people talk about “First impressions” appearances are a big part of that. When meeting college coaches don’t look like a homeless person. I’m not saying wear a tuxedo, and to be honest, I’m not so much talking about what you wear, but more about how you wear it. Some college coaches will tell recruits, when they are coming to the campus for a visit, to not dress up. That is fine, they want the recruit to be comfortable for the visit and to be himself. But, don’t show up in flip flops with your shorts hanging below anything that your mother doest want to see. I have witnessed first hand college coaches making fun of the way recruits are dressed for their college visits, saying things like, “can you believe he showed up here dressed like that”, or “do you think he will wear his uniform with his butt hanging out too”. Do you think those coaches want that player representing them or their college? Not unless he is one of those true 4.3 40 guys. They may overlook the appearance for that, but not much else.

    Wear your close appropriately, wear tennis, or dress, shoes, college coaches love tall players and flip flops don’t do anything to make a player look taller. Speaking of taller, use good posture, college coaches will come and shake your hand and look you in the eye, they are being respectful and polite, but they are also looking at how tall you are. They are sizing you up, don’t slouch, look big, strong, and confident. I said confident, not cocky. Cocky is another thing that will turn a college coach off fast, they love confidence, but hate cocky, there is a line there, find it. Always thank acoach for taking the time to evaluate you and meet you. They are busy and they have taken the time to talk to you and evaluate you as a possible player in their program. Thank them for that. One, it is the right thing to do. Two, they will remember that and know that you are polite, grateful, and a well mannered young man. And, that may just be the edge you need to beat out the other potential player at your position that showed up with his pants hanging off his butt that seemed a little cocky.

    Do I have what it takes to play college football?
    This is a hard question and one that has a wide range of possibilities. First, unfortunately, not everyone has what it takes to play college football. Only about 2% of high school football players will ever play college football. Is that because only 2% “can” play college football? No, some players don’t want to play college football. Some players will not do what is necessary to play college football. Some players, are great, but do not have what is needed academically to play college football. Some players were waiting on college programs to “find them” and did not work at the recruiting process to make their dream a reality. Some players were given bad advice by loved ones and coaches and not taught about what was needed to get recruited by college coaches. There are many reasons why some players will not playcollege football, but many of them are not because they “couldn’t” play college football. No, not everyone has what it takes to play college football, but you may. Here are some requirements, and some misconceptions:

    1. Hight. You have to be 6’5” to play college football. This is one people say all the time. It is almost true if you are an offensive lineman and wanting to play for a D-I college. Most offensive linemen in D-I programs are 6’4”-6’7”. Some D-I programs will not recruit an offensive lineman shorter then 6’4”, they have an unwritten rule. But, remember, we are not only talking about D-I programs here, the height requirement drops dramatically as you drop in college size. There are 6’0” offensive linemen in the NAIA and D-III level. Colleges have their rosters listed on their websites, look at them and the size of the players at your position. Take note of the size of the collegeand level at which they play.
    2. Bench Press has to be 350 pounds to play college football. Again, at the D-I level that may be close to true, but as you drop in college size, so does the bench presses. You have to be as strong as possible, and the stronger you are, the better the college coaches will like it. There are players at the NAIA and D-III level that can not bench 300 pounds.
    3. Forty times. The lies told about 40 times are amazing. I have had multiple college coaches tell me if a player can run a 4.7 40 he has a place on his team for them. Sub 4.5 40’s are rare. 4.3 40’s are so rare one may question if they even exist. Linemen do not run 4.7 40’s. Watch the NFL combines on TV, those linemen are running 5.2’s, 5.5’s and even some 6.0’s. Then when they make it to the NFL, the talking heads talk about them saying, “He’s 6’5”, 340 pounds and runs a 4.6 40”. Why is it that when they are in the NFL they run a 4.6, but when I watched them in the NFL Combine they ran a 5.8? Don’t lie about your 40 time, the college coaches don’t expect a new Olympic Champion to walk on their campus.
    4. Ask your high school coach if you can play college football. His answer will help guide you in the process. Size, strength, and speed are important, but some of that can be improved. Playing the game well is the real determining factor. Your high school coach will, more then likely, know if you have to ability to play at any of thecollege levels.

    How many college visits should I take?
    Easy answer, as many as you can. You want to find that one college that you really want to go to, you can’t do that if you only visit one college. Take a look as as many colleges as possible to see what each one offers. You may be shocked and what you find out about some colleges. You may think you know about an in-state college, but when you get there you realize that it was nothing like what you expected.

    And, after you narrow down what colleges you want to go to, you need to visit those colleges more then once. Here is my advise, visit the college at a summer camp, if possible. Go to their camp and see what you think. Then, in the fall, go back to that college for a Game Visit, get a tour, see a game, meet some players. After you high school season is over, go back for an Overnight Visit, stay with a player, walk around campus, talk to people, see what life on that campus is about. Finally, after those three or four visits you will probably know if you really want to go to that school.

    That wraps up this series on Getting a College Football Scholarship, I hope that it was informative and ends up helping some players get money to help pay for a college education though football. There is a great resource available, so you don’t have to just take my word for it, Joe Hornback, a former D-I football player and current high school football coach wrote a great book outlining everything you need to know about the recruiting process. It can be found on for $10-$20, agreat resource for parents and players.

    The Next Level: A Prep’s Guide to College Recruiting
    By: Joe Hornback
    Publisher Aventine Press (2006)
    IBSN: 978-1593304270

  5. #5
    coldweatherfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 05
    Somewhere between the mist and the moonlight

    Excellent work Ram.

    People don't realize how much work it takes to get your son/daughter recruited.

    People also don't realize how small the recruiting budget is at so many smaller schools. You really have to let them know that you're here and you're interested. My oldest son ended up with 5 offers of combined academic and athletic money.

    All I can say is grades, grades, grades. Other than D1, there rest are package deals of academic money, athletic money, and financial aid. You can get a full or close to full ride at smaller schools if you're a good student and a good athlete. D2 football is a very high level of football.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 14

    At the FCS level. Schools can only give out football schorlship money to 85 players total. They have 63 full rides but can only spilt that up among 85 players.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 17

    Great read! I am in the final stages of this marathon (he's coming upon his senior season). I wish I had seen this his freshman year. We are working hard though. You didn't mention Hudl. I've used that to put together highlights. Should I still shoot my own? This has been a great help. He get that aid, I got two tickets for you.

  8. #8
    oldgrappler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 14

    I don't remember if I read it in Ram's thread or elsewhere, but the thought is you should make your own film because you can post it on youtube and/or you can make a web site for cheap and post all of his info along with video you've made and a link to Hudl. The video you shoot can be adjusted to better feature your child and not just be a wide angle shot from the top of the press box. The article I read said to not just focus in on your child but make it wide enough so a coach can see the formation and all the action. So the level of zoom should be between most press box film and the close up a mother would want to have.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 17

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgrappler View Post
    I don't remember if I read it in Ram's thread or elsewhere, but the thought is you should make your own film because you can post it on youtube and/or you can make a web site for cheap and post all of his info along with video you've made and a link to Hudl. The video you shoot can be adjusted to better feature your child and not just be a wide angle shot from the top of the press box. The article I read said to not just focus in on your child but make it wide enough so a coach can see the formation and all the action. So the level of zoom should be between most press box film and the close up a mother would want to have.
    Thanks, that hadn't crossed my mind. Much appreciated.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 17

    Great article! I wish I had seen this sooner. My son is a senior and we knew nothing about the eligibility center until this read.