College Football

How to Walk on to a College Football Team

Evan Judge's image for:
"How to Walk on to a College Football Team"
Image by: 

Many of these questions can be answered at

How to walk-on to a college football team can be broken down into three phases:

'''Phase One: High School'''

This phase is necessary to get yourself noticed so your name is out there. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of athletes receive attention without extra assistance, the majority of athletes need help in recruiting.
1. Important Note: It is never too early to get your name out there, start now! Start gathering stats, game film, and information now.

2. Attend as many summer camps as possible. Attend your local state colleges and other area schools to get noticed. This is important because:
-It will give you more chances to get noticed by college coaches
-It will give you an idea of how to practice at the next level and what coaches expect
-Most importantly, you will become a better football player

3. Get on the same page with your high school coach. Have a sit down with your high school coach. Discuss your expectations for the upcoming season and for your goals to play at the next level. Your coach will not automatically throw your name into recruiting discussions unless he knows you are serious about playing.

4. Look into local and national recruiting services. Make sure the company is reputable and has a history of success. Do not pay too much for services you can do yourself(i.e. sending out tapes, letter of introductions, etc)

5. After your first season of playing on the Varsity, send out your first letter to college coaches. Please see the Form Letters page for letter examples. Send this letter to every Division I school out there. It is important get your name in their database so you can keep in touch with each other. They will likely respond back with a general form letter requesting game film.

6. TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN! One of the best pieces of advice I learned through college was "practice your trait." Practice and train yourself to be the best at the little things and the details of your position. Physically and mentally prepare to be the best at your position.

7. ACADEMICS! This should be at the top of the list but it is not due to the obvious nature. Without proper grades, COLLEGES WILL NOT WASTE THEIR TIME! Get the work done in the classroom!

'''Phase Two: Senior Year'''

1. This is the most important step in the entire process, what do you WANT to do? You must decide whether or not you want to commit to the walking-on process. Ask yourself the following questions:

-How much do I love this game?
-Do I feel like I can compete at a higher level?
-Am I willing to sacrifice to attain my dreams?
-How much am I willing to sacrifice to attain my dreams?
-Do I have the commitment, desire, and the WANT to succeed?

This decision is the most important because it takes a serious commitment to play at the next level, whether you are a scholarship athlete or a walk-on. It will take time, patience, desire, and the WANT to succeed. Most of all, it is HARD. However, if you are not ready to give it up, it will be well worth it in the end.

2. Do your research, do not throw darts to pick your school. Look for these factors to find the best opportunity to walk-on and earn a scholarship:

-What schools have shown interest?
-Will I be invited to Fall Camp?
-How many players are currently at my position? What are their ages? Do not forget to include the players they just signed at your position.
-Have you been in contact with their coaches?
-Does the school have a quality walk-on program?(how many scholarships have they given walk-ons the past few years?)

3. Narrow the list down to 5 schools and answer the following questions;

-Can I get into the school?
-Can I afford the school?
-Does the school have a quality academic record?
-Does the school have a quality football program?
-Is the overall package suitable?(school, program, academics, location, etc)

Without thinking too negatively, decide whether you would want to attend the school if football did not work out.

4. Contact the coaches and inform them of your intentions to walk-on to their program. Hopefully, you already have some sort of contact to the program, if not, find your position coach's number and contact him directly. Ask them to give you all the proper information and requirements necessary to make this a reality. Tell them that making it to Fall Camp is a top priority and ask them what your chances of that are.

5. Start training like you received a scholarship and train like you have never trained before. Be physically and mentally ready from day one, earn the respect of your coaches and teammates from day one and you will build a solid foundation for your future.

6. Start applying for Financial Aid now. Remember, you will have to pay your way until you earn your scholarship.

'''Phase Three: Expectations'''

Physical Expectations:

1. As previously stated, TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN! From the end of your senior year to day one of college football, do everything it takes. Want to be at an advantage? Be in shape!

2. Continue working out and getting as strong as possible. If your high school training program was effective, continue using that, if not, find an effective program to maximize your efforts. There is a HUGE leap in the size, speed, and talent of players from the high school level to the college level, prepare yourself as much as possible.

3. Speed. Do not rely solely on the weight room, make sure you are preparing for the speed of the college level. You need to be faster and more agile than you were in high school, so do not take this aspect lightly. Most cities have quality speed and agility centers for maximizing overall speed, if not, then find your inner self-commitment and train yourself.

4. Practices are run at a high level ALL THE TIME. Be prepared to work your tail off from the minute you step on the field until the last whistle.

Mental Expectations:

1. This is NOT the movie RUDY, however, your road will be an uphill battle. Expect from day to come in and compete and earn everything you get. From my experience and other stories, you will be treated as an equal, so be prepared to be coached and pushed just like other players.

2. Remember the quote, ACT AS IF. Act as if you are a scholarship player, act as if you are the next big player on the team. Remember, you are an important part of the overall success of the team, act like it!

3. Know your role. Expect to be on the scout team until you can prove yourself otherwise. Do not sweat it, most scholarship players go through the same route. Take advantage of it, you get to make yourself better by going against the first defense.

4. Put your head down and go to work. Do what is asked and what is told.

5. Take advantage of opportunities when they occur. Injuries and other issues are a fact of life in football, when you are given an opportunity to shine, seize it!

6. Expect to be put at the back of the line until you prove otherwise. Yes, scholarship athletes will be given more opportunities and more leeway. Remember, college football is a business and there is a big investment put into scholarships. However, that does not mean you cannot over come this hurdle.

7. Find your niche. If your position is full of players and you do not see an immediate opportunity to play there, find it somewhere else.

8. Make your name on special teams! This is where most walk-ons earn their role. The NCAA only allows a certain number of players to travel to each game(usually around 65), so if you can earn your role on a few special teams' spots, the coaches will have to travel you. If it is between a special team starter or a 3rd team non-starter traveling, the special teams starter will always travel.

9. Stay out of trouble. Coaches have a lot less leniency for walk-ons who get in trouble. Do not make it easy to cut you! This includes grades, keep your grades up. Coaches will not put time and effort into a player who will be ineligible, they will move on.

10. Have patience and enjoy yourself. Take a step back and realize where you are and what your doing, it will be the best time of your life

More about this author: Evan Judge

From Around the Web