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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. Learn more about football plays.

Creating a football recruiting video coaches want to see can be especially difficult if your season was cancelled or postponed, or you didn’t have a chance to attend camps or combines over the summer season. So, what can football recruits do to stand out? Creating a football skills video provides a great opportunity to get on a coach’s radar and demonstrate athleticism and technical abilities. 

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.

According to Zcruit CEO Ben Weiss, “A lot of schools have run out of film to watch and players to evaluate. With no new film coming in and not much else to do other than evaluate, coaches feel a rare sense of ‘caught up’ with recruiting work.” This presents prospects with an opportunity to get creative with their recruiting videos.

Right now, recruiters are desperate for new game film—which can be difficult to obtain for some prospects—and are looking out for any new film they can get from prospects in states that are playing football during the 2020-21 academic year. These prospects may have a leg up on recruiting, but prospects dealing with a canceled or postponed season can help themselves by getting creative with training videos. This includes position-specific footage that shows off an athlete’s skill set. 

While it can be difficult to get on the recruiting radar of a top program with a training video, recruiters will watch anything they can get their hands on. If the prospect is already on their radar, they’ll use the video as a decision-point for their evaluation. For an example of what top programs are looking for, check out this Penn State virtual combine video.

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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:

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:

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

Learn how to make a football quarterback skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football quarterback expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

NCSA Senior Recruiting Coach Brendon Albert highlights what football quarterbacks need to include in their skills video, including:

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Receivers: Focus on your athleticism

Learn how to make a football wide receiver skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football wide receiver expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

Former wide receiver player and coach Jordan Wells highlights what football wide receivers need to include in their skills video, including:

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Running backs: Block, catch and run the ball

Learn how to make a football quarterback skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football quarterback expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

Check out the video below to see what a running back should include in their football skills video!

NCSA Senior Recruiting Coach Brendon Albert highlights what football quarterbacks need to include in their skills video, including:

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Defensive backs: Big hits, big plays

Learn how to make a football defensive back skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football defensive back expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

NCSA Recruiting Coach and former defensive back college athlete James Cooper highlights what football defensive backs need to include in their skills video, including:

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

Learn how to make a football linebacker skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football linebacker expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

NCSA Recruiting Coach and high school football coach AJ Foster highlights what football defensive linebackers need to include in their skills video, including:

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Defensive Linemen: Focus on tackle technique and using your hands

Learn how to make a football defensive line skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football defensive line expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

NCSA Recruiting Coach Bill Perkins—who has over 25 years of experience as a football defensive line coach—highlights what football defensive line players need to include in their skills video, including:

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Offensive linemen: Good feet and flexibility

Learn how to make a football offensive line skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football offensive line expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

Former football player and coach Brett Morris highlights what football offensive linesmen need to include in their skills video, including:

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Punters and kickers: Mostly skills footage with some game film

Learn how to make a football kicker or punter skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football kicker and punter expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

NCSA Senior Recruiting Coach Brendon Albert highlights what football kickers and punters need to include in their skills video, including:

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Long snapper: Focus on skills footage

Learn how to make a football long snapping skills video during COVID-19 and what college coaches are looking for at your position/level. Watch our football long snapping expert analyze skills footage and get actionable tips for showcasing the skills coaches want to see in your video.

NCSA Senior Recruiting Coach Brendon Albert highlights what football long snappers need to include in their skills video, including:

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