Football Recruiting Timeline

Set your goals and make the commitment. As a football player, you study tape, build camaraderie with your teammates, lift weights to build strength, perfect your skills and it’s all to prepare to be the best on game day. It’s a process. Recruitment is similar. Every day you work towards reaching the goal of a roster spot on a collegiate football program. It starts with putting together a game plan. Below is your football recruiting timeline, broken down by year.


Freshmen Year: Research. Exposure.

  • Create a list of 100 prospective schools (Each week research 2-3 schools)
  • Send an introduction letter to coaches of programs of interest
  • Fill out questionnaires received in the mail and send them back right away
  • Follow-up with phone calls and letters to coaches
  • Find camps or combines in your area (Nike SPARQ and Under Armour are recommended)
  • Attend the combines and keep track of your accomplishments during the camps
  • Start thinking about filming highlight tape
  • Try to go on at least 3 unofficial visits


Sophomore Year: Relationships. Film Footage.

  • Continue to send letters and make calls to coaches for programs of interest
  • Schedule unofficial visits to programs
  • Hone in on the schools you’re most interested in from your list of 100


Tips from the Expert:

  • DI and DII coaches can’t personally contact you, but you can contact them by sending letters
  • DIII and NAIA coaches can contact you, stay in touch and build the relationship!
  • High level DI will make offers during summer of your sophomore year


Junior Year: 5-5-5 List. Highlights. Proactive Athleader.

  • Develop a 5-5-5 List: 5 programs that may be slightly above your reach, 5 programs that are a good fit, 5 back up schools
  • Follow-up with coaches with phone calls/email/letters and where you stand on their list of recruits
  • Attend combines, camps and one-day college-sponsored camps
  • Make highlight footage tape

Tip from the Expert:

If you haven’t heard from DI coaches, reach out to DII, DIII or NAIA programs


Senior Year: Committing to Success athletically and academically.

  • Follow-up with coaches and schedule official visits (only 5 total official visits to DI and DII schools)
  • Start your financial aid planning, register for FAFA ( as soon as January 1
  • Officially commit to a program (Signing Day is first Wednesday in Feb. through April 1)
  • Find out when you need to report to camp

Tips from Expert:

  • DI coaches can start calling on a weekly basis on Sept. 1st, most cases they have already made offers
  • DII, DIII, NAIA schools do most of recruiting and make offers in Spring of Senior Year
  • Junior College is an option for student-athletes who want to develop academically