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September 6, 2021

What NCAA Head Football Coaches Look For in Recruits

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LRT Sports spoke to several head football coaches in the NCAA and asked them what the most important quality that they look for when recruiting athletes is. Academics and character are the two words that stood out to us. When you reach out to a coach, the first question they likely ask will be about your academic standings. If your academics do not meet their standards or you do not have enough time to bring your grades up, then they will have to pass you up.

We’ve included more specific coaches’ responses as well:

Coach Reno Yale University 

Coach Pete Shinnic, University of West Florida
Type of person and student they are.

Coach Rich Lackner, Carnegie Mellon University
Academic admissibility.

Coach Mike Gutelius, The Catholic University of America
First is always academics. If they are not qualified for us academically, I am not interested in how good they are. The second is love for the game. Do they love it enough to cut the non-essential parts of their life down enough to be a champion?

Coach Chad Martinovich, University of Rochester 
Character, academic excellence, and athletic ability.

Coach Travis Burkett, Cornell  
TOUGHNESS: Long-Term (GRIT) and also play-by-play (CONTACT COURAGE).

Coach Jeff Devanney, Trinity College 
Athletic talent. All the intangibles are great, but the first thing that stands out is the ability to compete athletically at this level.

Coach Scott Yoder, Shenandoah University
Athletic ability and yield ability. Student-athletes must be able to compete at our level and help our program. At the same time, if they can’t gain admittance to the institution, I am wasting my time.

Coach Joe Adam, Saint Anselm
They have to love football and have a burning desire to get better every day.

Coach Sherman Wood, Salisbury  
GPA and SAT/ACT scores. We have higher admission standards than most, and we don’t look at a film until we see grades.

Coach Jonathan Michaels, Bowdoin College
Ability and character.

Coach Kevin DeWall, Hobart and Williams Smith College 
Character, competitiveness, and athletic potential.

Coach John Troxell, Franklin and Marshall
Academics first, character, and the ability to run and bend.

Coach Ian Shoemaker, Eastern Washington University
Drive. We want student-athletes that want to improve themselves both on the field and in the classroom.

Coach Russ Martin, Colorado Mesa University
Talent to help us win, academic success to graduate, and character to put it all together.

Coach Tony Volpone, Castleton