College Football Recruiting: how it works

Recruiting is the process of acquiring players in college football. It is a key element of the sport. Recruiting involves both high school football players and transfer portal players.

College Football Recruiting

Recruiting in college football is a key element of the sport. Recruiting is simply the process of acquiring players. It is the process where college football coaches and staff members offer scholarships to players that they want on their team, and subsequently try to convince those players to enroll at their school.

Recruiting involves high school football players and transfer players. High school players are new to college football and are seeking to enroll in their first school. Transfer players are established college football players looking to move on to a new school. Transfer players use the transfer portal to change schools.

Recruiting Staffs for College Football Teams

College football teams have staff members specifically for recruiting. Some schools have much larger recruiting staffs than others, which usually leads to much better recruiting results. Schools with larger budgets and more resources are typically the schools with the largest recruiting staffs.

Recruiting staffs do everything from scouting players, reaching out to those players, organizing visits and phone calls, and convincing players to sign with their schools. Coaches are often recruiters as well, in addition to their coaching responsibilities.

How has NIL affected Recruiting?

Name, image, and likeness (NIL) has to do with the ability of college football players to earn money from sponsorships and other advertising opportunities. Name, image, and likeness has had a significant impact on recruiting since the NCAA lifted its NIL ban in 2021. Coaches cannot directly offer NIL deals to recruits; however, recruits are now commonly being promised various advertising dollars in exchange for their commitment.

There is little governance in college football around recruiting and NIL. College football recruiting has changed dramatically as a result of NIL, and the full consequences have yet to be realized. Many coaches are calling for rules to be put in place about the future of NIL and how it relates to the recruiting process.

Recruiting Rankings

High school recruits and transfer portal players are given rankings based on their skillset and physical attributes. There are multiple outlets that rank recruits, including: 247Sports,, and ESPN. Recruiting rankings are very good indicators of how much talent a school has on their roster. Teams that are selected for the College Football Playoff typically have recruited top classes for years leading up to their on-the-field success.

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