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The Division 1 Athletic Scholarship is the most sought after scholarship in all of the NCAA. So how do you stand out in a sea of applicants and stand out from the rest? First, you must understand the process of getting a football scholarship. Second, you need a strategy of how to get the scouts to recruit you. Finally, deciding where to apply or focus your efforts with recruiters will help increase your chances of success.
Understanding the Process
To get a football scholarship, first, you must become eligible. The NCAA Eligibility Centre handles the application process and clears all athletes for eligibility prior to any scholarships being awarded. Legally, coaches cannot contact prospects until their junior year of high school. This being said, there are a few things every prospect must have in order to be considered by the scouts. Remember, you are solely responsible for understanding all of the eligibility requirements.
It all begins with an online profile. Think of this as the MySpace or Facebook of the recruiting world. Here you must have all of your updated contact information, game schedule, and a list of camps and combines you plan on attending. Secondly, you must have your highlight video and full game films available. Finally, you must have varied combine stats, and we will get into those in more detail below. These profiles are the baselines for scouts and coaches to begin their recruiting process. Prospects with incomplete profiles will not even be considered.
Getting Noticed by Scouts
Once your profile is complete, and you have been cleared for eligibility, now you can focus your attention on getting recruited. Getting noticed by scouts is probably the hardest part of the recruiting process. All the training and hard work feel like it's paying off once a school begins to show interest in recruiting you. Camps, combines, and showcases are the best possible way to get noticed by scouts.
The scouts will then report back to their coaches with a list of the prospects that stood out. Accredited open combines such as Nike SPARQ combines will give you some real scores for your profile, and exposure to elite scouts that hold the key to the invite-only combines such as Schuman’s and Nike Football Training Camps. Getting invited to these camps and combines significantly improve your chances of being recruited and being offered the ever sought after athletic scholarship.
Where to Apply?
There is a lot of information, several different divisions, and a dizzying number of kids trying to get a scholarship to any school they can. You must determine what level of football you plan on playing at the college level, and be honest and practical in your approach to earning a scholarship.
Once you decide where you want to play, begin contacting coaches to express your interest in joining their program, and that you are pursuing a football scholarship. The NCSA Recruiting Network is in place to help you network with coaches and administrators of the programs you want to join. Become your own recruiter, by actively pursuing the coaches and schools you want to be recruited by.
The process sounds daunting, and a little bit like winning the lottery, but if you are diligent in your applications, and proactive in your pursuit of the schools and scholarships you want to win, then you greatly improve your chances of success. There are a lot of tools and resources out there to help you with your search, be sure to do your due diligence and give yourself the best possible advantage.