Athletic Recruiting football

What High School Football Players Can Learn from Tony Romo’s Recruiting Process

Most people know Tony Romo as the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who transitioned from barking signals in front of thousands of NFL fans to a star in the announcer’s booth, where he adds insightful commentary and entertains millions of fans each week. What most people don’t know about is Romo’s unlikely journey from high school athlete to star college quarterback.

Despite huge stats and awards, Romo’s talent went unnoticed

The four-time NFL Pro Bowl and 2nd Team All-Pro player actually struggled to get college recruiters to take notice of his football skills. A multi-sport athlete, Romo didn’t focus on football until later in high school. As a two-year varsity starter for Burlington High School in Wisconsin, Romo threw for 3,700 yards and 42 TDs. Those numbers were good enough to gain him All-State honorable mentions his junior and senior year, but they weren’t good enough for top scouts to take notice.

By limiting his options, Romo limited his offers

Romo waited for the University of Wisconsin—or any Big Ten school—to come knocking at his door. But none did.

It’s likely the “no star” (unrated) QB from Wisconsin was limiting his college options and could have used some support from a recruiting service such as NCSA. Our representatives provide prospective recruits with the tools they need to get college recruiters to notice their on-field talents and find the right school where they can be successful.

While D1 programs passed on him, he received interest from smaller colleges, including University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Minnesota State University, Mankato. Ultimately, he was offered a partial scholarship to Eastern Illinois University and went on to become a three-time All-American quarterback.

Choose your path early and start getting noticed by college recruiters

Being a multi-sport athlete is a rare and exceptional talent to have. However, Romo’s many interests may have caused some hesitation. Burlington’s athletic director has stated that in high school, Romo felt basketball was his “best sport.” Romo himself has admitted that he never considered playing college football until his senior year. After considering all of his options, he decided that football is what he wanted to pursue.

Determining where your passions lie early on will allow you to invest your time in refining the right skills and finding your best college fit.  You need to market yourself to college recruiters prior to your senior year in high school and the sooner you decide whether you want to play at the college level, the sooner you can being your recruiting process.

If you are a high school student-athlete who is serious about playing at the next level, fill out a free athlete profile to begin your recruiting process with NCSA.

About the author
Jasmin Thames