It is no secret that it is often a young football athlete's dream to play their favorite sport at the division I level. They spend their entire lives working on their plays, reps and reps in the gym, thousands of minutes watching videos, and more, all in the hopes they will find themselves on a DI football roster after high school.
There is definitely not a one path fits all ideal of how to play DI football, but listed below you will find common steps of action the majority of athletes make throughout their careers to achieve their goals of playing division 1 football, and hopefully, on a scholarship.
Review Your NCAA Academic Eligibility Often
No matter how good of an athlete you may be, if your grades are not within the requirements of the NCAA, you won’t be getting any sort of scholarship to play football. It’s important to remember that throughout school and university, you are a student athlete, academics come first.
According to the NCAA, In order to be eligible to compete at the NCAA Division I level straight out of high school, you must have completed 16 core courses. These courses consist of:
- 3 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
- 2 years of social science
- 4 years of English
- 2 years of natural/physical science
- 4 additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
You will also need to:
- Earn a minimum 2.3 GPA overall in your core courses
- 10 core courses, including seven in natural/physical science, English, or math all before your 7th semester. After you have begun your 7th semester, you may no longer replace or repeat any of the 10 courses listed above to improve your overall core-course GPA score.
- Earn an ACT sum score or combined SAT score that matches your overall core-course GPA on the DI sliding scale. This scale balances your test score and overall core-course GPA. For example, if you have a low test score on either the SAT or ACT, you will need to have a higher overall core-course GPA in order to be NCAA DI eligible. Looking at it from the other perspective, if you have a lower, overall core-course GPA score, you will need to earn a higher test score on the ACT or SAT.
Have Organized Highlight Videos For Coaches
You may have read the headline and thought “videos”? Yes, videos. As a football player it is important to always have an up to date highlight video, along with all of your past videos you have created that showcase your football capabilities throughout the years. It is said that to achieve the highest exposure to send to coaches, especially when you are in communication with a DI program, is to create a highlight video each week after a game. This can also be known as “Friday night lights turned into Saturday morning edits” according to Davinci Athletics.
Along with having weekly highlight videos, it is important to have a mid-season football video as well as a full season football video. These videos will end up being almost the same, but the mid-season video is perfect to have on hand for the showcases and combines when you don’t have a full season video quite yet.
Develop The Division-I Football Measurables
To be a division I football player, it is said that you will have the most success if you meet the physical mesurables programs look for in players while recruiting to fill the upcoming seasons roster spots.
Here is a picture graphic taken directly from the NCSA with the average measurable requirements for a quarterback, wide receiver, running back and tight end, linebacker, defensive back, and offensive & defensive linemen:
Now don’t worry if you don’t meet these mesurables exactly, some of these are simply on a sliding scale. You can always improve your weight, strength, speed, etc. with your coaches and on your own time. For example, if you are shorter, be stronger or faster. Just because you don’t physically have one thing, does not mean you cannot have the other.
Start Contacting Coaches Early And Build A Relationship
As of 2022, there are 1,093,234 high school football players in the United States. If you want to get noticed by a coach or a program, take the opportunity to put yourself on their radar instead of hoping they will someday notice you exist. Once you have put yourself on a coaches radar and expressed interest in their program, it is important to not only tell them, but show them why you are the right fit for their program.
During this age of technology, there are many different ways you can get in contact with coaches and programs. Utilize university websites, find the people you want to talk to, and gather all of their contact information. Send them emails, call them on the phone, as well as even using social media to tag and interact with the program. When you have the attention of a program, you will have a lot more chances to earn yourself an official or unofficial visit.
As long as you keep your head down, your grades up and work hard, you have all of the opportunities in the world to make your division I football dreams come true.