Guide to Earning a Division 1 Football Scholarship

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Your Guide to Earning a Division 1 Football Scholarship

Table of Contents

Table of Contents 2

Introduction 3


Meeting the necessary Academic Qualifications 9

Before the recruiting process 9

In order to obtain college eligibility 9

The First Step in Registering for the NCAA Eligibility Center is to Create Your Account 9

Once You Have Created Your Account Check Your Email and Log in to Finish the Registration Process 10

NCAA Eligibility Center Mailing Address 10


Once you have registered 13

Exposure and Performance 16

Recruiting Websites 16

Aside from the camps 17

Your on-field performance 18

The Decision-Making Process 19

The Recruiting Process 19

Have a Plan 19

Index 20


The purpose of this manual is to assist prospective high school football players in their quest to attain a Division 1 scholarship. This manual will give information detailing the academic requirements that are necessary to be eligible to receive a Division 1 scholarship, the type of preparation physically and dedication that will be necessary, and give some insight as to what you may be looking for when deciding on what college institution is best for you once you have put yourself in a position to have options.

As a current Division I football player myself at the University of North Texas and former Division I football player at The University of Texas, I have seen College football from a perspective that few others can say they have experienced and I want to spread as much knowledge as I can to young men that want to be in a similar situation that I am.

Division 1 college athletics is the highest intercollegiate athletics division with college sports. There are 124 football programs that qualify as Division 1 programs that make up the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), they are as follows:

American Athletic Conference

  • Cincinnati

  • Connecticut

  • Houston

  • Louisville

  • Memphis

  • Rutgers

  • South Florida

  • Temple

  • Central Florida

Atlantic Coastal Conference

  • Boston College

  • Clemson

  • Duke

  • Florida State

  • Georgia Tech

  • Maryland

  • Miami (FL)

  • North Carolina

  • North Carolina State

  • Pittsburgh

  • Syracuse

  • Virginia

  • Virginia Tech

  • Wake Forest

Big 12 Conference

  • Baylor

  • Iowa State

  • Kansas

  • Kansas State

  • Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma State

  • Texas Christian

  • Texas

  • Texas Tech

  • West Virginia

Big Ten Conference

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Iowa

  • Michigan

  • Michigan State

  • Minnesota

  • Nebraska

  • Northwestern

  • Ohio State

  • Penn State

  • Purdue

  • Wisconsin

Conference USA

  • East Carolina

  • Florida Atlantic

  • Florida International

  • Louisiana Tech

  • Marshall

  • North Texas

  • Rice

  • Southern Mississippi

  • Tulane

  • Tulsa

  • Alabama-Birmingham

  • Texas-El Paso

  • Texas-San Antonio

Mid-American Conference

  • Akron

  • Ball State

  • Bowling Green

  • Buffalo

  • Central Michigan

  • Eastern Michigan

  • Kent State

  • Massachusetts

  • Miami (OH)

  • Northern Illinois

  • Ohio

  • Toledo

  • Western Michigan

Mountain West Conference

  • Air Force

  • Boise State

  • Colorado State

  • Fresno State

  • Hawaii

  • Nevada-Reno

  • New Mexico

  • San Diego State

  • San Jose State

  • Nevada-Las Vegas

  • Utah State

  • Wyoming

Pacific 12 Conference

  • Arizona

  • Arizona State

  • California-Berkley

  • Colorado

  • Oregon

  • Oregon State

  • Stanford

  • California-Los Angeles

  • Southern California

  • Utah

  • Washington

  • Washington State

Southeastern Conference

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • Auburn

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Kentucky

  • Louisiana State

  • Mississippi State

  • Missouri

  • Mississippi

  • South Carolina

  • Tennessee

  • Texas A&M

  • Vanderbilt

Sun Belt Conference

  • Arkansas State

  • Georgia State

  • Louisiana-Lafayette

  • Louisiana-Monroe

  • South Alabama

  • Texas State

  • Troy

  • Western Kentucky

Division 1 Independent Programs

  • Army

  • Brigham Young

  • Idaho

  • Navy

  • New Mexico State

  • Notre Dame

Meeting the necessary Academic Qualifications

Before the recruiting process

can even begin for you, you have to be a full academic qualifier before a coaching staff will begin to seriously consider recruiting you. Staying on top of your grades and books is imperative. Beginning in the year 2016, freshmen will have to meet a new NCAA standard to be eligible to compete in their first year, though the standard for practicing and receiving a scholarship will remain what it is now.

Prospective student-athletes

graduating from high school who achieve the current minimum initial-eligibility standard on the test score-GPA sliding scale with at least a minimum 2.3 core-course GPA would continue to be eligible for athletically related financial aid (a scholarship) during the first year of enrollment and practice during the first regular academic term of enrollment. Student-athletes serving this academic redshirt year would have to successfully complete nine semester or eight quarter hours during their first academic term to be eligible for practice during their second term. For immediate access to competition, prospective student-athletes will be required to present at least a 2.0 GPA and an increased sliding-scale credential. Specifically, prospects need to earn about a half-point higher GPA for a given test score compared to the standard for aid and practice. For example, an SAT score of 820 would require a 2.5 high school core-course GPA for competition and a 2.0 high school core-course GPA for aid and practice. Incoming student-athletes will be required to successfully complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of their seventh semester in high school. Seven of those 10 courses must be in English, math and science.

In order to obtain college eligibility

following the completion of the required high school courses and achieving the required SAT score, prospective student-athletes have to submit their transcript to the NCAA Clearinghouse. The NCAA Clearinghouse is an organization outside of the NCAA which performs academic record evaluations to determine if a prospective student-athlete is eligible to participate at an NCAA Division I or II college as a freshman student-athlete. All freshman and two-year college transfers who do not have an associate degree and would like to participate in any sport at an NCAA member institution (Division I or II) must register for the academic portion of the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is an essential step to becoming eligible to play college sports. Over 180,000 potential student-athletes register with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

The First Step in Registering for the NCAA Eligibility Center is to Create Your Account

all athletes will eventually create an account. It is best to create your account by the start of your junior year in high school to avoid getting caught it the backlog of athletes trying to get cleared at the end of the year. Once you account is created you will have several more steps to submit your transcripts, test scores and answer you amateur status questionnaire before you are finished.

Once You Have Created Your Account Check Your Email and Log in to Finish the Registration Process

NCAA Eligibility Center Mailing Address

NCAA Eligibility Center

P.O. Box 7136

Indianapolis, IN 46207

*please note, you cannot send transcripts or test scores on your own. They need to be sent by your high school and testing center.

Once the NCAA has your complete academic records and test scores, they will not review your information unless it has been requested by an NCAA University. If you have registered with the NCAA and have not had your eligibility status completed, chances are it has not been requested by a coach.

Over 60% of athletes who are registered with the NCAA are never recruited by a college coach.

The following describes all of the sections within your NCAA Eligibility Center account:

About You: This section contains three subsections that ask for students’ basic information (Student Name, gender, date of birth, race/ethnicity).

Contact information: Address, Country, City, zip code, email, and phone number

Residency: Verification of countries in which you have lived, including dates that you resided there.

Your School Coursework: Here you will be asked question of schools that you have attended. In the general coursework section, you will be asked these “yes” or “no” questions about the athlete:

  • Have you attended any school OUTSIDE of the United States and U.S. Territories after age 11?

  • Have you attended a U.S. Department of Defense school after age 11?

  • Have you been home schooled after age 11?

List of Schools Attended: You will need to list each school the student has attended along with date began and grade completed.

Where did you attend ninth grade? (State/ Province, City, School, Date that you began school and grades attended at this school.)

Additional Coursework: Students will be required to answer more “yes or “no” questions, if athletes answer “Yes” to any of 5 questions they will need to provide specific examples for each including; Course name, School, Date Range and Actions.

  • Did you ever fail and retake a class?

  • Did you ever retake a class to improve a grade?

  • Have you ever taken a college course at a junior college, community college, two-year college, or 4-year college?

  • Did you ever take summer school at a different location than your U.S. high school? Or Have you ever take any of the following:

  • Correspondence course- a course completed at your own pace that does not require a teacher’s supervision or assistance. Online or internet class.

  • Course where the lesson, assignments and tests were on the computer

An additional set of questions will be asked if there needs to be more clarification from your previous answered questions. Questions may include: Have you ever repeated a year of high school or secondary school?

Your Sport:

This is the most time consuming section in terms of detailed questioning and information that the student-athlete needs to provide to the eligibility center. The questions will cover information about teams and clubs that you have been a part of; including the events you have participated in. This section consists of 5-8 sections depending on the sport you play, including Introduction, Expenses, Training Expenses, Athletics Contacts and Teams, Awards, Additional Questions, and Event Registrations.

Select the sport that you want to participate in college. If you wish to be registered for 2 sports, you will first complete one sport and then enter in information on other sports you plan to participate in at the DI or DII level.

Expenses: Have you ever competed in a sports event where any part of your expenses was paid for by someone other than your family, your team/club or the sponsor of the event? If your answer is yes you will need to provide: Event Date, Event Name, expenses that were paid The person/ organization who paid expenses, amount paid, country the event took place, state, city. If you answer No, you will have to electronically confirm your response with your initials.

Training Expenses: Have you ever received funding to cover your training expenses from someone other than your family or the team/sports club with which you were training? If you respond with YES, you will need to add a new entry that will include: Who paid for your training expense(s), Who / what was the source and the amount of money that was supplied. If you respond with NO, you will be asked to verify your response by initialing response.

Athletics Contacts: Have you ever given permission to anyone other than a parent, legal guardian or coach to market (advertise or promote athletic skills) your skills in your sport? If you respond with YES, you will need to add a new entry including this information: Name of the individual you gave permission, Individuals relationships to you, Individual’s phone number, individual’s email address, types of service you received and additional questions.

  • Did you enter into a written or verbal agreement with this individual?

  • Did you enter into an agreement for future representation?

  • Did you pay for these services?

If you respond with No to all questions, you will have to verify response by initialing.

Teams/ Clubs: Listing of all teams/clubs you have practiced or played with since turning 14 years old (other than a U.S. high school team) also you will be asked to answer specific questions related to playing for the team. Basic team information: Name of team/ club, Country, City, League, Division/Level, Team/Club contact name, Team/Club contact phone number and/or email address, start date and end date of team.

Additional Questions:

  • Which of these items did the team/club provide to you to participate? (Entry fees, Equipment, facility usage, Health / Medical Insurance, Lodging, Meals, Physical Therapy, Stipends and Transportation.)

  • Which of these items did the team/club provide to any of your teammates for them to participate? (Entry fees, Equipment, facility usage, Health / Medical Insurance, Lodging, Meals, Physical Therapy, Stipends and Transportation.)

  • How many events or games did you participate in as part of this team/club, per season?

Awards: Have you ever competed in an event as an individual (not as part of a team/ club) where you received any type of award for your participation? If Yes, you will have to enter in an entry for each award that will include these additional questions:

  • Did the event span multiple days, date which the event took place, Name of the event and of the award that was accepted, type of award received ( Money, gift certificate, merchandise, prize money, voucher) Amount received for this specific event;

  • Who paid for this award;

  • Did you have any expenses related to this event;

  • Was participation in this event by invitation only and location of event.

Event Registrations: Have you ever indicated on any type of registration form that you are competing in an event as a professional player? If Yes, you will need to mark when the event took place, the name of event, country the event took place, state, city, event representative name- phone and email If No, you will be asked to initial verification.


The NCAA eligibility center clearly states that eligibility registration cannot be complete unless payment has been received. The cost is $70.00 for U.S. citizens and $120.00 for international students.

Once you have created your account, need to have every high school you have attended submit your complete official transcripts. This includes submitting your information at the end of your senior year. Second, you need to have the SAT or ACT testing center send your official test results directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Each time you take the SAT or ACT, you will want to have the test scores submitted to the NCAA.

Once you have registered

with the NCAA clearinghouse, you will be sent back the information informing you whether you are a qualifier or non-qualifier.


Eligible for athletically related financial aid, practice and competition during your first year of enrollment at a NCAA member institution.
You have 5 years to play 4 seasons in your sport if you maintain your eligibility from year to year.


Ineligible for athletically-related financial aid, practice and competition during your first year at a NCAA member institution.
You have 4 years to play 3 seasons in your sport if you maintain your eligibility from year to year.

I was a full qualifier coming out of high school as I kept a high grade point average, therefore my SAT score did not have to be very high. I recommend taking the SAT or ACT following your sophomore year in order to already have a score ready, so that you know what level of grade point average that you need to maintain your junior and senior years of high school in order to ensure that you are an academic qualifier when the time comes. The other benefit of having taken the SAT early is that if your grades do happen to slip your final two years of high school, you will know what score you would need to get on the SAT if you took it again to offset your grade point average. You can take the SAT or ACT as many times as you want and the highest score you make will be the one that is used as the barometer by the NCAA Clearinghouse. There are study guides that you can buy that will help prepare you for the SAT and ACT as well.

A copy of what the SAT study guide looks like.

Exposure and Performance

How you perform on the field will ultimately be the most important factor that determines whether or not you will be given the opportunity to play Division 1 football. But say you live in a small town or play at a very low classification of high school football, how will you be seen? How do you put yourself on the map? This chapter will give you some options that will allow you to help yourself be seen by college coaches and also some workout tips that will help you improve your on-field performance.

Recruiting Websites

are sites run by companies that have a passion for scouting high school football talent across the United States and broadcasting recruits nationally. The top sites that provide these services are:





Each of the listed sites is extremely popular nationwide to not only recruits and fans, but these sites are visited regularly by countless college coaches. These sites rank recruits by position and state, and they all have a “star” system which is their way of giving their opinion on how much potential a young football player possesses to be a good college football player and possibly professional football player. and are the two biggest entities in the high school recruiting and ranking business. Both companies host numerous camps throughout the country during the summer and ESPN airs some of their camps on National Television on the ESPNU channel.

All of the listed sites provide sections on their front page for all high school non-seniors to go and fill out questionnaires, create profiles, and also submit a highlight film of you. My freshman year of high school I filled out a questionnaire on and created a profile of myself.

Here is an example of what my profile looked like:

Where the recruiting process really took off for me was the summer following my sophomore season, I attended a camp that was hosting in a nearby town. After performing very well at the camp, my picture was placed on the front page of the Rivals website and I was the centerpiece of an article that detailed the camp and my performance as well as others that stood out in the setting. Not long after that exposure, I began receiving mail and interest from schools nationally that wanted to see me play and visit their campuses. Go to the websites I gave you, look up their camp schedules, and try your best to attend the one that is closest to you. The least that you will get out of it is the experience of going up against very good competition and just by attending the camp you will have a profile created for you.

Aside from the camps

that are held by the recruiting websites, all Division 1 colleges hold camps on their campuses during the summer that anyone can attend and participate in. The price varies per school on how much it costs to sign up. There isn’t a much better opportunity than to attend a camp hosted by a school that you are interested in and competing in front of their coaching staffs. If a college campus is too far away from you do not worry, as many Division 1 schools also host “Satellite Camps” which is the term used to describe camps held at high school locations by college programs. For example, Oklahoma State may set up a Satellite Camp and Denton Guyer high school. This is just a way for coaches and schools that aren’t necessarily local to make themselves more available to prospects and create an opportunity for prospects that may not have transportation out of state or a long ways from home to have an opportunity to work out in front of them near their own homes.

Your on-field performance

is what sells you as a prospect/player to college coaches. When you participate in these camps you have to perform. On Friday nights for your high school team, you have to perform. The work to perform at a high level begins months before the football season. The off-season is where the hard work is put in, so that the actual season is the easy part. Below are some exercises and training methods that you can use in order to make yourself a more explosive athlete:

Squat Jumps

Begin in a “squat” position with feet hip width apart and your hips almost parallel to the floor, as if you were sitting in a chair. Lower your hips a few inches, engage your buttocks and raise your arms to jump as high as you can. Land with knees bent in the “squat” position and repeat. Rapidly repeat two to three sets of eight to twelve consecutive repetitions.

Split Squat Jumps

Begin in a “Split Squat” position. Stand with your feet hip width apart and extend your left leg about three feet behind you. Bend both knees ninety degrees. Align your right knee directly over your ankle; align the sole of your left foot parallel to the back wall. Lower your hips a few inches closer to the floor, engage your right buttocks and raise your arms to jump as high as you can. Land in the starting position but with your left leg forward and your right leg behind you. Rapidly repeat two to three sets of eight to twelve consecutive repetitions.

Explosive Pushups

Start in a “Plank” position with your torso and legs parallel to the floor. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Firm your abdominals (flex your abs) and your thighs. Slowly bend your elbows 90 degrees. Aggressively press your hands into the floor to “push up.” Use enough force to lift your torso and hands off of the floor. Rapidly repeat two to three sets of eight to twelve consecutive repetitions.

These three exercises if done correctly and consistently, will improve your upper and lower body strength as well as increasing your core strength and speed.

The Decision-Making Process

The Recruiting Process

Once you have attracted interest from Division 1 programs you are free to make a verbal commitment to a school at any time. A verbal commitment is non-binding and you can change your mind on where you want to go any time before National Signing Day, which is the first Wednesday of February every year. You are allowed to take 5 official visits to campuses. Official visits are 3-day, 2-night trips to whatever school is recruiting you, and it is paid for by the University that is hosting you.

I only took one official visit, and that was to the University of Texas at Austin. I had been verbally committed to the school for since my junior year of high school, and I was dead set on attending Texas no matter what as that was my favorite school growing up as a youngster and I idolized their Head Coach, Mack Brown. One of my biggest regrets in life is not giving other schools an opportunity to show me what they had to offer. I limited myself and ultimately ended up making a decision that I will regret the remainder of my life.

Have a Plan

Before the recruiting process really gets under way and serious for you, you should have a plan pertaining to what it is that you’re looking for. What is most important to you? What are you looking for in a university and coaching staff? Are you most concerned with graduating? If so, a program with a strong track record of graduating their players should be high up on your list. Is location a factor? If so, a schools’ proximity to your hometown will be a big deciding factor. Is your biggest focus to make it to the NFL? A school that has a track record of getting guys to the pros at your position would be big. Only you can decipher what matters the most to you. Figure out what your priorities are and sort through your options based on your list of priorities. As enticing as it may be to go to what was your “favorite” school growing up, you have to try to keep emotion out of it and attempt to make the best business decision for you.


Clearinghouse, 3, 9

commitment, 17

exposure, 14

GPA, 3

recruiting, iii, 3, 13, 14, 17

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