How Does College Football Recruiting Work?

How Does College Football Recruiting Work

College football is one of the most exciting sports in America, and the rosters for its teams change with each season. Thousands of high school athletes try to get recruited for college teams every year and maybe even receive an athletic scholarship as well. Read on below to find out how colleges recruit their football players!

How Does College Football Recruiting Work?

College football coaches generally recruit prospective players through group events and highlight videos. At these group events, coaches and other college personnel get a chance to witness the talent of many potential recruits in person and all at one time. Highlight videos, meanwhile, allow coaches to see a player’s stats and clips from past gameplay.

Combines, Camps, and Showcases

One of the most popular ways for colleges to recruit new athletes is through combines, camps, and showcases. Though each type of event has its own set of rules and formats, these are all different group events for displaying fresh high school talent and even sometimes giving players official stats and rankings that they can show to interested colleges.

Though they all serve the same purpose, combines, camps, and showcases have different requirements for attendance and formal end results. These differences include:

  • Football camps often focus on specific skills and drills.
  • Football camps do not necessarily have a recruiting component.
  • Football combines give players verified stats they can give to interested coaches.
  • Football showcases give rankings and ratings shown on national recruiting websites.
  • Football showcases are typically invite-only.

Highlight Videos

Highlight videos are short films that show data and play footage of individual football players. These videos are one of the best, and sometimes the only way for high school athletes to get the attention of interested college coaches. It is standard for highlight videos to have a player’s name, contact information, position, cumulative GPA, and standardized test scores in addition to their head coach’s name and contact information.

The most important part of a highlight video is footage of the player on the field. Each clip is usually limited to one play at a time and should show off the talents of the player during real gameplay. The kind of footage shown will heavily depend on each player’s position. For example, a kicker’s highlight video would likely show successful kicks in a game, while a running back’s highlight video might show them successfully running the ball with a drop shadow or arrow drawn to point them out on screen.

NCAA Recruiting Rules

The NCAA follows strict rules and regulations for when and how interested college coaches can contact potential football recruits. In football, these rules vary depending on the division in which each college team plays.

The main recruiting rules of each NCAA division are listed below:

  • Coaches of any division can send non-recruiting materials to athletes at any time.
  • Coaches of any division can give verbal offers to athletes at any time.
  • Division I coaches cannot privately communicate with athletes until September 1 of their junior year.
  • Division I coaches cannot contact athletes off campus until July 1 going into their senior year.
  • Divisions I coaches cannot call athletes or invite them for official visits until September 1 of their senior year.
  • Division II coaches can start sending printed recruiting material on July 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year.
  • Division II coaches can begin calling athletes and conduct all other off-campus contacts on June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year.
  • Division III coaches can send recruiting materials, make contact of any kind, and have unofficial visits at any time during an athlete’s high school career.
  • Division III coaches can invite athletes to official campus visits after January 1 of their junior year.


What is the best way to get recruited for college football?

The best way to get recruited for college football is through combines, showcases, and highlight videos. Combines and showcases are a great way to display talents directly in front of interested coaches and other team personnel, while highlight videos help show athletic ability during actual gameplay.

What are the NCAA rules for recruiting football players?

NCAA rules for recruiting football players depend on the division in which the school’s team plays. Division I coaches must follow the strictest rules and have different dates of when and how they can contact interested athletes. Division II coaches follow a more relaxed set of rules on how they can interact with athletes. Division III coaches follow very few rules and regulations on contact with potential football recruits.