NFL Dreams, Collegiate Reality

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by Andy Hilton, recruit757

football_recruiting_numbersOne of the things we do at recruit757 and in our Game Plan scholarship workshops is preach the value of a college education.   After all, it’s great to dream about the NFL, but if you’re going down that path, you’ll want to use football to get a college education before football uses you up.   Playing football doesn’t last forever.    You’ll need to have a day job once you can no longer play football.  Even if you have a long NFL career, which few people do, you’ll want to have a career after you hang up your cleats.

Here are the stats from the NCAA and the NFL.

There are 1,086,627 student athletes playing high school football as of September, 2013.*

310,465 of those athletes are high school seniors.

There are 70,147 student athletes playing college football in the NCAA.  Remember, a large percentage of them are NOT on an athletic scholarship.

Of that group, there are 20,042 roster positions for freshman student athletes.

That’s some significant math to consider right there.   While there are a lot of opportunities to play college football as an incoming freshman, only 6.5% of high school seniors playing football will go on to play college football.  It’s quite an achievement just to get to the college level of athletics.   It’s even more rare to get to college and play with an athletics scholarship.

Here’s why it’s important to use that college scholarship to earn a degree that’s going to pay you at the level of a college graduate once you’re out of college.   Not many athletes make it to the NFL.

There are 15,588 senior student athletes playing football.  256 of those athletes will be drafted into the NFL.   That’s 1.6% of all NCAA seniors playing football that get drafted.   .008% of all high school athletes get drafted.

When you look at the NFL’s numbers, the opportunities get even more scarce.

Every year, the NFL scouts 6,500 players.    The NFL has the resources.   They will find you no matter where you are if you are talented.   We’ve talked about that before.   You can be in Division I, Division III or anywhere in between.   If you have NFL level talent, they will look for you.

Of those 6,500 players that are scouted, 350 players get invited to the NFL combine.   256 players are drafted, as mentioned above.   590 free agents are picked up in the off season.  That means that 946 players with new opportunities go to training camp with NFL teams each July.    From that group, 646 players are cut before the season ever starts.

Between Free Agents and Drafted Players, 300 players will make an NFL team.   Even with free agency figured in, that’s close to the 1.6% of all NCAA Athletes that make an NFL team after college ball.  Remember, that’s also less than a tenth of a percent of all high school athletes achieving the NFL dream.

Once you get into the NFL, the numbers are still grim.   The average NFL career is just a little over three seasons long.  Only 10% of players get to 10 years in the NFL.    The average player earns $1.9 million per year in the NFL.  The league minimum salary in the NFL is $420,000 per year in 2014.   Most players are lucky to make it into the NFL.   If you get there and last for three years at the league minimum, after taxes you’ll earn less than a million dollars.   That’s not enough to live the rest of your life on.

You need an education and a career whether you make it to the NFL or not.   Remember the statistics.

You’re one of over a million high school football players that wants to move on to play college ball, many of whom want to make it to the NFL.

If you’re one of the over 20,000 college freshman that get into playing college football each year, only 1.5% of that group will make an NFL roster.   On average, by the age of 24, you’ll be done playing football if you make it that far.

It’s time to hit the books.

- Andy Hilton

*Source: NCAA Research, updated September 24, 2013.

At the Game Plan scholarship workshop events, we can show you how to get recruited, how to get to college on scholarship, and show you your alternatives.   Sign up for the next workshop in Franklin on March 18.   It’s FREE and registration is available through this link.