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High School Football Rankings

football player holding a football

High school football is one of the most popular sports at that level as communities throughout the country gather every Friday night to support the nation’s 16,000 teams and a million players. And, in some cases, high school football games can mean so much more than what happens on the field.

Of course, high school football also serves as the breeding ground for college football, which increases interest in its teams and players as well. As a result, high school football rankings, high school football statistics, and fans of the sport regularly consult high school football scores.

Benefits of high school football rankings

The benefits of national high school football rankings are plentiful. At a state level, these allow teams, players and fans see where their teams compare with their competitors as they look to advance to the playoffs and win state championships. They also provide a way for neutral fans and recruiters to get more of a feel for where the better players showcase their skills. National high school football rankings are of even greater importance to teams who are at or near that level, and they’re useful for college recruiters as they look for the elite in the high school ranks.

Of course, do not overlook a football high school because it isn’t ranked or is ranked less highly than another, and no one should overly respect any team due to placing high in the high school football rankings. What counts is what happens on the field. However, high school football rankings do help clarify, in general, who the best teams are, but they shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all.

Football rankings

MaxPreps football sponsors some of the most respected high school rankings, starting every year with it’s a preseason top 25. Here are its final 2018 high school football rankings. Of course, MaxPreps football is not the only quality resource for high school football rankings. For example, USA Today also has its own Super 25 ranking of high school football teams.

Do note that it is not easy to put together high school football rankings of the top high school teams in the country and determine national champions year after year. It’s difficult enough to do so within a state, but nation-wide rankings require comparisons of teams that, in most cases, have not and will not play each other. They are based solely on how their strength of schedule judging and the margins of victory that they have. And a human element plays a significant role too. Just like in the college top-25 polls used in football and other sports, the opinions of people are fallible.

However, MaxPreps football does provide national high school football rankings that have been done mathematically for every team via its computer rankings, which update throughout the high school football season. For example, these team rankings had Michigan’s Spring Lake High School entering the 2019 season 4,197th nationally and 113th within its state. These comprehensive national high school football rankings ignore all polls and opinions as well as the sizes of the schools and any accomplishments that the team’s had in previous seasons. Instead, MaxPreps football takes into account the quality of the wins – which the opposition was – and if the game was a playoff contest while compiling these.

Also note that, in some cases, MaxPreps high school football hasn’t been notified of a score, lowering the accuracy of these national high school football rankings some, but it does its best to secure all of the scores possible. Of course, even mathematical high school football national rankings are not perfect, but they do not include the fallibility of pollsters’ opinions, which many believe is a positive step. Regardless, MaxPreps’ respected Xcellent 25, its national high school football rankings of the nation’s top 25 teams, is determined by staff writers, who consider these mathematical high school football national rankings as well as opinions, both their own and others who they consult.

Player rankings

Player rankings are also of significant interest to followers of high school football but perhaps even more so to college football fans, coaches and other interested people. That’s because these football rankings help show who the top college teams, the ones looking to be national champions, as well as the rest of the schools are recruiting to play there. One quality resource for this is You can see all of the top high school football players in one list as well as see other lists that have been broken down by position and by state. It can be interesting to look at the state rankings and see how many of its top players are looking to play college ball in-state and who are looking to head elsewhere.

In comparison, Sports Illustrated’s college football rankings top 100 is the college version of these football rankings. Of course, the goal of every player ranked in the top 100 in high school is to achieve a spot on the college football rankings top 100, but surprises always happen as players sometimes develop more or less in college than had been anticipated.

High school football scores

The resources that you should use to follow high school football scores will vary depending on several factors. One of the best ones for finding high school football scores is MaxPreps. Also consider the websites for local newspapers and other news outlets in the area of the school that you’re interested in as they often regularly update those teams’ high school football scores. Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook can also be a good resource for high school football scores.

Live video and audio coverage

In addition to following high school football scores, perhaps you want to watch high school football teams play live or listen to audio coverage of their games. This will take some more research, but some resources provide live video coverage and, more often, audio coverage of their games. Browse local media coverage of the sport as well as the school’s social media outlets to see if they provide any information on games that may be covered live. For example, some will have their entire high school football season schedule broadcast on a local radio station, which will, in most cases, be accessible worldwide.

Also, the top teams sometimes broadcast on national television. For example, the ESPN family of networks broadcasted seven games from Aug. 23-25, 2019 with some of those on ESPN and ESPN2. Games that decide state championships can be seen on television within that state and, in some cases, are available online elsewhere as well.

High school football statistics

MaxPreps might be the best resource for high school football statistics. Although these stats may not be complete as the reporting of high school football statistics is not always done, it is pretty comprehensive, especially for the top teams. Of course, team rankings and individual player stats do not consider the strengths of schedules of those teams, and those do skew the high school football stats significantly one way or the other. But they do give you a good idea of the skill levels of the top high school football players. Local media outlets can be a good resource for high school football stats too.

Do note that some positions have more stats on them than others. For example, quarterbacks can be judged by completion ratio and passing yards while running backs are often ranked by how many rushing yards that they accumulate per game.

Conversely, offensive linemen, despite being incredibly important to the success of a team, don’t have measurable stats of their performances even though they play significant roles in a running back’s rushing yards by providing holes to run through and the number of times that their quarterback gets sacked. One stat that has been come up with is a pancake block, which is measured by knocking defensive linemen and linebackers back. However, this is not an official statistic so cannot be used to compare linemen.

Of course, those looking to recruit offensive lineman from a football high school as well as other players know what to look for. For example, an FBS program looking for an offensive lineman will want somebody who meets these general guidelines: 6’4″, 297 pounds, multiple-year all-state honors, physically dominant and consistently moves the line of scrimmage 5 yards.


The country’s top high school football players get recruited to play in college. Many get actively recruited by a number of the top programs while others have the more normal experience of needing to be much more proactive in the recruiting process to find a good fit. Regardless of the level of interest shown by schools, high school players must impress on the field, including during practice, and it’s also essential to bring something to the table academically and have a professional demeanor.

Players need to understand terms that are regularly used to describe them during the recruiting process. Some of these are prospect, recruit and commit. A prospect is a player who is eligible to play college ball. How likely that is to happen is irrelevant. Conversely, a recruit is someone who is being recruited by one or more schools. The coaching staff at that institution has shown signs of being proactive as well. A commit is a player who has come to an agreement with a school and has decided to play there.

Note that there are a few types of commitment. The player can sign a National Letter of Intent, which is a binding agreement for a scholarship, verbally commit by making the decision public or be a silent commit, meaning that just those close to the coaching staff and the player know of the decision.

The recruiting experience also differs from college to college. Variability is partly due to the multitude of institutions that sponsor this sport. For example, the recruiting process for Army is going to be different than at Marshall due to the differing requirements of those places. Also, it’s going to be different at a place like Stanford than it might be for another institution due to the very high academic standards and expectations at that school. Additionally, football programs that are higher in profile will have more financial means to use for recruiting, and the recruiting process tends to be more intense on both sides.

NCSA resources

It’s important to go into and experience the recruiting process with as much knowledge as possible. NCSA offers several resources to help do that, one of those being its NCSA Power Rankings. In addition to a school’s athletic performances, this considers things like graduation rates and costs of attendance. It’s also useful to understand the recruiting calendar. The most important thing to take from that is that there are strict rules on when college coaches can contact you or observe your play, but you may contact them at any time. You’ll also want to consider making and disseminating highlight videos and taking part in camps, combines and showcases.

NCSA has been helping football players and athletes in a wide variety of other sports find the best college fits possible since it was founded in 2000 by Chris Krause, who had been a recruited football player himself in the 1980s before deciding on Vanderbilt. However, it was not an easy process, and he wanted to ensure that those who came after him would be much more educated on it than he was. Ever since its founding, NCSA has received top reviews, including averaging 4.9 stars out of 5 on Google Reviews and helps dozens of thousands of athletes commit to a college for sports every year.