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How to Make a Football Recruiting Video Coaches Will Watch

Football recruiting video.

We’re not going to mince words here: a football recruiting video is a crucial, must-have tool in an athlete’s recruiting toolbox. Most college coaches don’t have the time to travel across the country and watch hundreds of football recruits in person. That’s why a recruiting video is one of the most important parts of a recruiting profile. It takes just a few minutes for a well-made recruiting video to show coaches what a high school football recruit can do on the gridiron.

For a football recruiting video to be effective, athletes need to know what football coaches are looking for. We’ve included guidelines on how to use a football video, as well as specific tips on what skills to showcase based on position.

How to use football highlight videos in your recruiting

An athlete’s football recruiting video should be the first thing that they send college coaches when they contact them. The benefit of a football recruiting video is that it can give college coaches a good view of if the athlete is qualified to play at that school. If the coach likes what they see in a football recruiting video, they might request full game footage or more clips. At the very least, it will encourage the coach to strike up a conversation to learn more about who the recruit is as a student-athlete.

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How long should a high school football highlight tape be?

Athletes don’t need a 20-minute video to get a college coach’s attention. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Football recruiting videos should include an athlete’s best 25 plays or be about 3-5 minutes long. Always start with the best plays—athletes want to hook the college coach early on. Don’t worry about adding in music, sound effects, crazy transitions or slowing down/speeding up the film. In other words, stick to the basics!

Most football players benefit from having all their games filmed for them by their high school. The camera crew should be in the press box, using a wide angle so they can capture all 22 players in the same shot. Some coaches will also arrange for footage to be taken from the end zone in a tight shot to show the 10 players on the line of scrimmage. This type of film can be really beneficial to show college coaches the alignment of players and their footwork.

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What kind of footage should athletes use in their football recruiting video?

For most positions, college coaches are looking for full-padded, full-speed game film. Punters and kickers should include mostly skills footage—which involves athletes showing off specific skillsets on an open field. A separate 7on7 film can be created to supplement the full recruiting video, but for most athletes this won’t be necessary unless a college coach specifically asks for it. If a recruit has an unbelievable, Sports Center Top 10 highlight from a 7on7 game, they can include it in the full video, but it really has to be spectacular. College coaches might ask for full game footage, but that will also be on a case-by-case basis.

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How to edit your football highlight video

Once your family has all their film, it’s time to start editing it down. Families who aren’t sure what plays or skills footage to use should talk to their high school coach or contact NCSA’s team of football recruiting experts at 866-495-5172. They know exactly what college coaches are looking for at every position, and they can help you pick out the plays that really show off your skill set.

To start the football recruiting video, athletes should always include a slide or two with their information. Here’s what you should include:

  • First name, last name
  • Height, weight
  • Position(s) played
  • Phone number, email address
  • Cumulative GPA, ACT and/or SAT scores (if you have them)
  • Your head coach’s name
  • Head coach’s phone and email address

Before each play, athletes should use a drop shadow or arrow to identify who they are. Start the footage a couple seconds before the play, so the coach can see how the play unfolds. Don’t mess with speed of the film and don’t add special effects—let the athlete’s talent speak for itself! As we mentioned earlier, start with the very best plays to capture the coach’s interest immediately, and keep the full football recruiting video to no more than five minutes.

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How to use Hudl for football

Hudl has replaced VHS and DVD as the No. 1 way for recruits to send their football recruiting videos to college coaches. Because of Hudl, it’s easier than ever to share film with college coaches, and for that reason, coaches have come to expect to be able to find recruits on this platform. Recruits should use the following tips to make sure that they get the most out of their Hudl account:

  • Athletes should consistently update their Hudl account with new football recruiting videos. This ensures that college coaches have the most up-to-date view of that athlete’s skillset and talent level.
  • Recruits can link to their Hudl account on social media, in emails and in their NCSA profile. These are all easy ways to get coaches to watch a recruit’s video. Because Hudl has become the platform to host football recruiting videos, families need to find ways to drive coaches to the recruit’s account. Coaches aren’t typically browsing through Hudl, hoping to find that diamond in the rough. Instead, they go on the platform to watch film of specific recruits they are interested in.
  • Learn how to make a football highlight video on Hudl. Hudl has video editing features that recruits can use to add drop shadows and arrows, as well as to cut up game footage into a manageable series of highlights. For families who aren’t investing in a professional video editing service, this is a great way to get the clips their recruit needs.

While Hudl is a great platform for editing, hosting and distributing football recruiting videos, athletes still need an online recruiting profile where they can house all the information college coaches are looking for, such as social media handles, academics, personal statement, coach contact information, a link to their Hudl account and more.

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Quarterbacks: Vary your throws and show off your footwork

The name of the game for quarterbacks is to show different types of throws, footwork and running plays to get a better idea of the type of player you are. Athletes need to make sure they are focusing on the skills that will get them to the next level. If you are a dual-threat QB show a mix of running and passing plays. If you are a pro-style QB, you want to be running a pro-style offense and focus on making plays from the pocket with some ability to scramble. Here are the types of skills coaches want to see in quarterbacks’ football recruiting video:

  • Touchdown passes
  • Rushing touchdowns
  • Precision passes – hitting WR in stride
  • Out passes
  • Deep throws
  • Quick series throws
  • Scrambles
  • 3- and 5-step drops to focus on footwork
  • Option-style running QB highlights
  • Defense recognition

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Receivers: Focus on your athleticism

Receivers are often the most athletic players on the field in high school, so they want to choose plays that really show off their ability to move and out maneuver your opponent. Before they start filling their football highlight video with footage of them out-running average football players, they should take a step back and re-strategize. Instead, focus on route running, possession catching, field awareness and blocking, as well as:

  • Touchdown catches
  • Great fundamental catches, such as:
    • Sideline
    • In-traffic
    • In-stride
    • Coming back to the ball
    • Tipped ball
  • Running with the ball – Proper technique, breaking away
  • Downfield stalk blocking and crack blocks

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Running backs: Block, catch and run the ball

For running backs, coaches really want to see how well they block, catch and run the ball. They need to show their agility and quickness through plays like outrunning defenders who have an angle on them. Also include:

  • Footwork and reading the line of scrimmage
  • Touchdowns—rushing and receiving
  • Yards after contact
  • Breakaway runs – field vision (cutback runs)
  • Blocking ability in pass protection

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Defensive backs: Big hits, big plays

Overall, college coaches want to see defensive backs show off their big hits, pass coverage, ability to read routes and defending. If they can incorporate versatility with different big plays at the beginning, they’re showing a coach everything they can do, which is the ideal scenario.

  • Open field tackles
  • Pass deflections and interceptions
  • Flowing to the play and stopping the run
  • Cover speed (in coverage and downfield)
  • Recovery speed (chasing down a play)
  • Ability to read, react and change direction

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Linebackers: Show off solid technique on your tackles and big hits

Coaches want to see that linebackers have solid technique with no wasted steps—don’t include footage that shows a false step or losing ground. Focus on shedding blocks, going in with the correct shoulder and taking angles.

  • Pass drops – Lateral and vertical footwork
  • Pass deflections and tackles for loss
  • QB pressures, knockdowns and sacks
  • Gap filling on run plays – Defeating the block (OL and RB)

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Defensive Linemen: Focus on tackle technique and using your hands

For defensive linemen, their football highlight video should show solid technique in their tackles as well as big hits. They should include footage using their hands and being able to hand fight, as well as shed blocks. Also show footage of

  • Forced fumbles and batted passes
  • QB pressures, knockdowns and sacks
  • Tackles for loss and defeating the block (OL)
  • DL techniques – Swim move, spin move, bull rush technique and rip move
  • Initial quicks off the ball
  • Pursuit of the ball carrier

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Offensive linemen: Good feet and flexibility

For offensive linemen, it’s pretty simple: Coaches want to see that they possess good feet and flexibility. They should avoid plays that make them look stiff! Here are some other key skills to include in their football recruiting video:

  • Low pad level
  • Solid technique
  • Good footwork
  • Pulling blocks
  • Any knock downs

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Punters and kickers: Mostly skills footage with some game film

For punters and kickers, college coaches need to see both game film and skills footage, with an emphasis on the skills footage. The game film will illustrate how well they perform under pressure, their game technique and more. Skills footage will give coaches a chance to review technique and form. An extra bonus: the versatility to kick and punt is intriguing to college coaches—if an athlete has both of these skills, they should show them off in their football recruiting video.


  • For your skills footage, set up a tripod 5 yards behind you and 2 yards to the side. Film the following:
    • Kickoffs from the 30-yard line
    • Technique: approach, follow-through, consistency in technique and accuracy
    • Film kicking off the ground and off blocks
  • For your game footage, include all your successful field goals with your longest/farthest kicks first to highlight what you’ve done in a game; show your approach, follow-through and kick—distance and hang time are important. Make sure you also include:
    • Every touchback on kickoff
    • Successful onside kicks (no more than three per video)
    • All successful field goals
    • Two to three successful point after attempts


  • Wide angle film to show distance and hang time
  • Highlight furthest kicks first
  • All punts that land Inside 20 and beyond; want them to stay out of the end zone
  • Directional punts—corner kicks
  • All tackles made

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Long snapper: Focus on skills footage

Skills footage—or film not taken during a game setting—is what college coaches are looking for. Review the correct camera angles always include film that shows the punter catching the snap.

  • Film from 5 yards in front of snapper and few yards to the side; also include side view footage to show your technique
  • Must have punter catching the snap

With these tips, families should be off to a great start! If you have any questions about football highlight videos, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at NCSA. Not only do we have a team of football recruiting experts ready to answer all your recruiting questions, but we also have a video department that specializes in creating top-of-line highlight videos for student-athletes. To learn more, give us a call at 866-495-5172.

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