College Football Recruiting and College Football Recruiting Rankings

Every year thousands of high school football players become a part of the high-stakes world of the college football recruiting rankings system. Here is a glimpse at current recruiting class rankings as well as a FAQ section that includes vital information on what it takes to be noticed by college football coaches.

College Football Recruiting Rankings

Throughout the season, companies such as 247 Sports, ESPN, Rivals, and Scout update their rankings systems to recognize the best players and the top recruiting programs in the country. Here are a list of the best players and the top-ranked programs for 2020 and 2021.

2020 College Football Recruiting Rankings: Top 10 Teams

Here are the top ten teams for 2020 in college football recruiting:

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. Miami
  4. Clemson
  5. Ohio State
  6. Florida
  7. Michigan
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Georgia
  10. Texas A&M

*Our ranking system is based on composite college football team rankings from 247sports.com, rivals.com, espn.com, and scout.com. Last updated March 2019.

Team Total 5-stars 4-star 3-star Avg Points 247 Sports Rivals ESPN Scout Rank*
Alabama 12 1 10 1 92.95 224.49 1 1 n/a 1 1
LSU 10 1 8 1 93.26 202.1 2 2 n/a 2 2
Miami 9 0 8 1 92.39 179.48 3 3 n/a 3 3
Clemson 8 0 8 0 94.14 176.13 4 4 n/a 4 4
Ohio State 7 1 4 2 93.31 153.7 5 5 n/a 5 5
Florida 6 1 4 2 92.94 131.31 6 8 n/a 6 6.7
Michigan 7 0 4 3 88.83 122.95 9 6 n/a 9 8
Oklahoma 6 1 2 3 91.42 123.07 8 9 n/a 8 8.3
Georgia 5 1 4 0 94.69 119.6 12 7 n/a 12 10.3
Texas A&M 6 1 3 2 91.21 121.8 11 10 n/a 11 10.7

2020 College Football Player Rankings: Top 10 Players

Here are the top ten players that schools are pursuing for 2020 in these college football player rankings:

  1. Zachary Evans
  2. Bryan Breese
  3. Justin Flowe
  4. Paris Johnson, Jr.
  5. Julian Fleming
  6. DJ Uiagalelei
  7. Sav’ell Smalls
  8. Myles Murphy
  9. Arik Gilbert
  10. Jordan Burch

*Our ranking system is based on composite college football team rankings from 247sports.com, rivals.com, espn.com, and scout.com. Last updated March 2019.

Player Pos Ht Wt Team 247 Sports Rivals ESPN Scout Rank*
Zachary Evans RB 6’0″ 213 Undecided 2 2 1 2 1.8
Bryan Bresee DT 6’5″ 290 Undecided 1 6 4 1 3.0
Justin Flowe ILB 6’2″ 225 Undecided 3 3 6 3 3.8
Paris Johnson Jr. OT 6’7″ 295 Ohio State 4 5 7 4 5.0
Julian Fleming WR 6’3″ 210 Undecided 5 12 3 5 6.3
DJ Uiagalelei PRO 6’4″ 240 Undecided 6 1 20 6 8.3
Sav’ell Smalls OLB 6’3″ 230 Undecided 7 8 14 7 9.0
Myles Murphy SDE 6’5″ 255 Undecided 11 11 5 11 9.5
Arik Gilbert ATH 6’5″ 253 Undecided 10 7 13 10 10.0
Jordan Burch SDE 6’5″ 250 Undecided 8 13 12 8 10.3

2021 College Football Recruiting Rankings: Top 7 Teams

Which teams will reign supreme with their college football recruits for the class of 2021? Here’s the rankings so far:

  1. Miami
  2. Florida
  3. Ohio State
  4. Washington
  5. USC
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Oregon

*Our ranking system is based on composite college football team rankings from 247sports.com, rivals.com, espn.com, and scout.com. Last updated March 2019.

Team Total 5-stars 4-star 3-star Avg Points 247 Sports Rivals ESPN Scout Rank*
Miami 4 2 2 0 98.19 110.50 1 1 n/a 1 1
Florida 4 1 3 0 97.65 108.36 2 1 n/a 2 1.7
Ohio State 1 0 1 0 99.92 29.92 3 1 n/a 3 2.3
Washington 1 0 1 0 93.00 29.52 4 1 n/a 4 3
USC 1 0 1 0 99.20 29.20 5 1 n/a 5 3.7
Notre Dame 1 0 1 0 98.07 28.07 6 1 n/a 6 4.3
Oregon 1 0 1 0 97.99 27.99 7 1 n/a 7 5

2021 College Football Player Rankings: Top 10 Players

Deep into high school football recruiting are some promising young athletes poised to make their mark on the college landscape in a couple years. These players have already been identified as top prospects for the class of 2021.

  1. J.T. Tuimoloau
  2. Garrett Dellinger
  3. Jack Sawyer
  4. Bryce Langston
  5. Quintin Somerville
  6. Preston Stone
  7. Isaiah Johnson
  8. JC Latham
  9. Julian Nixon
  10. Rocco Spindler

*Our ranking system is based on composite college football team rankings from 247sports.com, rivals.com, espn.com, and scout.com. Last updated March 2019.

Player Pos Ht Wt Team 247 Sports Rivals ESPN Scout Rank*
J.T. Tuimoloau DT 6’4″ 277 Undecided 1 n/a n/a 1 1
Garrett Dellinger OT 6’0” 250 Undecided 2 n/a n/a 2 2
Jack Sawyer SDE 6’6″ 219 Ohio State 3 n/a n/a 3 3
Bryce Langston WDE 6’2″ 237 Florida 4 n/a n/a 4 4
Quintin Somerville SDE 6’3″ 210 Undecided 5 n/a n/a 5 5
Preston Stone DUAL 6’2″ 185 Undecided 6 n/a n/a 6 6
Isaiah Johnson CB 6’0″ 177 Undecided 7 n/a n/a 7 7
JC Latham SDE 6’6″ 270 Undecided 8 n/a n/a 8 8
Julian Nixon WR 6’4″ 205 Undecided 9 n/a n/a 9 9
Rocco Spindler DT 6’4″ 250 Undecided 10 n/a n/a 10 10

What is a 5 Star Recruit in College Football?

5 star recruits are the best of the best. They’re identified as having starting potential the first day of their true freshman season. Coaches consider them a complete mismatch in ability and talent when compared to their opposition. They stand far above their peers in knowledge of the game, technique, and athleticism. A 5 star recruit will immediately impact their team’s performance in the upcoming season. Every scout in football recruiting is going to be looking for that .01 percent of players that fit the bill of being a 5 star recruit.

If you want to give it a shot, here’s what it takes:

  1. You’ll need football skill: This covers your positional technique and your general playing performance.
  2. You’ll need media information: All your stats and videos needed to assess you as a player need to be easily accessible to coaches. This makes it easy for them to quickly judge whether or not they want you on their team.
  3. You’ll need to have your academics in line: Make sure your GPA is up to par, your ACT or SAT scores are in, and that you have everything in place so you can be NCAA eligible.
  4. Extra-curricular and “intangibles” don’t hurt: These are your extra off the field activities and on-field characteristics that make you attractive to coaches and set you apart from the upward of 50,000 other players out there.
  5. Your mentality: Your Football IQ, work ethic and how quickly you can grow as a player will definitely make a difference when a coach comes judging about your collegiate future.
  6. The honors, stats, and awards to your name: Recognition for the football player you are now can definitely make a difference in how quickly or how you best get recognized for your efforts. An All-State Award, for example, can help you stand out.

When Does College Football Recruiting Start?

The timing of NCAA football recruiting is bogged down by legislation. They can’t initiate real contact until junior year, but coaches can communicate with a recruit before then if the recruit initiates the communication. Outside NCAA D1 and D2 programs, such as in the NAIA, there aren’t any regulations about phone conversations or email. Those coaches might start calling you during your younger years. Rare exceptions aside, most coaches won’t begin evaluating prospects seriously until sophomore/junior year of high school. You, however, can take matters into your own hands and start creating a list of colleges as soon as high school begins.

In the early stages, coaches will cast a wide net of prospects through recruitment questionnaires and camps. Coaches are constantly evaluating talent, even if they can’t talk to you. Find out what general physical requirements your target school is searching for and be sure to get into their system early.

If you get a camp invite to a school of interest, attending it will help develop a lasting relationship with the coaching staff. When it comes time to narrow down their pool during your junior year, you have a better chance at being on that list.

When Can NCAA Football Recruiting Begin?

NCAA football recruiting begins based on the recruiting calendar set forth by the NCAA. The

calendar officially begins in late July where the school and player must enter a “Quiet Period” where contact is limited. High school football recruiting enters a “Dead Period” during the month of August where no contact is allowed.

Starting on September 1st, NCAA schools and players enter an “Evaluation” period that means no home visits to the player, but coaches can visit the player’s school for evaluation purposes. Official visits are allowed at this time and players can receive written and electronic communication from the staff. This is a prime period for scholarship offers to remaining uncommitted seniors.

How Does the College Football Recruiting Process Work?

The entire recruiting football process can seem a bit complicated. However, the whole process can be simplified into four major components:

  1. Contact with Coaches: Whether it’s you sending out info about yourself or the coaches contacting you later on, the initial conversations will help get everything started.
  2. Visit the University campus: Whether it’s unofficial or official, (official visits are paid for) try and visit as many campuses that are on your radar as possible. This will also help you get some one-on-one time with coaches.
  3. Money Talk: Normally, at one point—a scholarship will be talked about. This will mean that you’re closing in on the recruiting process.
  4. Sign the National Letter of Intent: The final steps of the college football recruiting process.

The college football recruiting process officially begins during the player’s junior season. Unofficial spring visits give the player and their families a chance to visit the campus and meet the program’s coaching staff. A player’s closest relationship with a coach on the staff will be with their position coach, so these visits work as a first meeting between the two.

Next for the player is a spring and summer filled with camps and combines. Players are run through a battery of drills and tests. 40-yard dash times, vertical jump and bench press reps are measured at these events, posted on recruiting websites and used by colleges to determine a player’s physical condition.

Recruits also begin to see position coaches visit their campuses to watch practice, talk with the player’s current coaches, and gather information on the student’s background. It is during these spring months that rankings begin to take shape and a player sees where they rank against other players from across the nation.

As the player moves into their senior season, their high school football schedule becomes the focus. Players are now allowed to take official visits to college campuses. The student-athlete is eligible to take five official trips that are paid for by the recruiting college.

This entire process leads up to college football signing day where the player signs a letter of intent to play football at the school. There are now two signing days, one in December and the more traditional date at the beginning of February. A player can sign with a school during either period.

When Can College Coaches Contact High School Athletes?

Phone calls or electronic correspondence, such as texts, DMs, or emails, begin September 1 of junior year. College football recruiting does have one exception window – between April 15 and May 31 before you start school as a junior – where coaches can make one phone call to you or your family. The NCAA has created recruiting calendars that you can find on this page. There is also a FAQ here created by the NCAA that will help you navigate the language used by coaching staffs. Players will need to be familiar with these terms and the dates that correspond with these contact and no-contact periods.

The good news? During that window, coaches can start bringing athletes in for official and unofficial visits. The main difference between the two is that official visits are paid by the school and are limited in amount, while unofficial visits are not. These are excellent opportunities not only for a coaching staff to get to know you, but for you to familiarize yourself with the school, their program, the current team, possible fields of study, scholarship opportunities, and other demands outside of practice.

Don’t fret if you’re a junior and haven’t been flooded with visit invitations. Colleges often want to build a rapport and relationship with their prospective student athletes before shelling out resources to bring them on campus. Your best bet to get an invite is develop that relationship early on by filling out questionnaires, attending camps, and making a massive impact on the field that they can’t ignore.

How to Get Recruited for College Football

  1. First and foremost, take the right classes. This can be done through the guidance of your high school counselor throughout the remainder of your pre-college academic time.
  2. Then, don’t forget to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. This will label you as an amateur athlete and deem you eligible to play collegiately. All you need is $50 and your Social Security number. Try and do this by your Junior year.
  3. Create a list of your top five colleges based on academics and athletics.
  4. Set up a highlight reel of your best athletic levels on tape. The video should be professional,short, and simple.
  5. Reach out and make first contact. This initial e-mail or letter can put you on their radar. Link your highlight video and player profile.
  6. Head to the University’s college camps so you can be on their radar and possibly other football scouts as well.
  7. After hearing back from coaches, making visits, and evaluating offers, choose the best environment for your athletic and academic success.

How Good Do You Have to Be to Play College Football?

“Am I good enough?” It’s an important consideration when players ask how to get recruited for college football.

The answer? It really depends on where you want to play.

You better shoot for a top 10 spot if you’re aiming to go to a top 10 school. However, plenty of D2, D3, NAIA and other schools sign college football recruits each year that might not even be near the top 100 of college football recruiting rankings. So how do you know if you make the cut?

First, ask your coach. Tell them to honestly evaluate you and ask them if you’ve had any interest from college football recruiting programs. They usually have a good measure of what college-bound talent looks like, as former players have gone on to play college ball. And don’t forget – college coaches will talk to high school coaches first. So, if a football scout is interested in you, they’ll know.

Second, check out the stats of programs you’re interested in. Look at the roster on their athletic website and see if your skills and measurements align with those in your position. If they do, chances are you’re qualified. If not, don’t be discouraged. Instead, look at lower-level programs until you find where you fit best.

Finally, you can attend camps and showcases to test yourself against the other prospects in-person. Or you can always turn to a college football recruiting website such as the one you’re on right now. Thousands of coaches across the country come to us each year in search of their next star player.

What Are the Physical Requirements to Play College Football?

Much like the question of being “good enough”, there’s no hard line regarding physical requirements, as each coach has their preference. However, there are certain physical measurements coaches and scouts look for when determining prospects.

Defensive backs, for example, should be quick and stand around 6-feet, 185 lbs. That’s way too small for linemen to attract attention, of course, who instead should run around 6’5, 270 lbs. and bench much more than body weight. When talking skill positions, a 4.4 40m will grab the eyes of football scouts, with quarterbacks and tight ends on the taller side.

Again, your best bet is to check out your ideal school’s current roster and go from there. For a more extensive list of positional stats, visit our article that discusses physical characteristics for most college football players.

How Many College Football Scholarships Are Given Each Year?

The short answer: 85.

Normally, college football programs can only give out 85 full scholarships every year, which can be divided among the players. They can also sign up to 25 players for every upcoming year.

The number of scholarships will change based on the division the school is in. The lower the division, the lower the number of scholarships available:

  • NCAA DI FBS: 85 full scholarships
  • NCAA DI FCS: 63 full/partial scholarships
  • NCAA DII: 36 full/partial scholarships
  • NCAA DIII: 0 athletic scholarships
  • NAIA: 24 full/partial scholarships
  • NJCAA: 85 full scholarships

How to Get College Scholarships for Football

There are two requirements for playing college football. The first is that you must be offered a spot to play on a team, regardless of level. This offer may come via a college football scholarship or through the walk-on process, but it is essential to playing at the collegiate level.

The next step is that the player must qualify academically according to the standards set forth by the NCAA. You can find those requirements at the NCAA website. Most high schools have set up compliance programs to assist their student-athletes in meeting those requirements, but if you feel that you want to play college football then it is vitally important to begin to tailor your academic plan to these standards immediately. All college football recruits will have their academic records examined before a scholarship is offered.

Get Started with a Free Recruiting Profile

Build your free recruiting profile today so you can see where you stand with college coaches. Our network allows you to connect with more than 35,000 college coaches.

To create a profile: Athletes start here. Parents start here.

For Further Reading

Looking for more information? Visit one of the pages below for related content.

You can find more information on football scholarships here.

Being cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center is a required step before getting a scholarship.

Find out more about attending football camps or combines here.


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