Survey of Football Recruiters Proves the Power of a Highlight

We reached out to college recruiters to learn why highlight videos are so important - and what they’re looking to see in yours.

Updated February 9, 2017

Arguably the most important part of applying for any job is submitting a strong, compelling resume. Even the best candidates can be submarined by a sloppy or boring one. If it doesn’t catch the interviewer’s attention, it’s going in the trash.

The same goes for highlight videos. Players with poor highlights will be dismissed, often within a matter of seconds. But a great highlight video does just the opposite. It can shine light on a prospect, getting his foot in the door with coaches and recruiters.

But just how powerful is that highlight? Is it enough to vault a player from the ranks of the underrecruited into a bevy of offers? 

To answer those questions, we turned to the experts, surveying a team of college coaches and recruiters from Division I to NAIA. Their answers provide a clear picture of the value of a highlight video.

“A well-done highlight with the proper amount of plays can make or break recruitment.” 

Matt Mueller, Michigan State Director of On-Campus recruiting

Highlights get you in the door.”

Tom Luginbill, ESPN National Recruiting Director of scouting

“For most prospects their initial highlight tape is our first impression. If we believe he is up to the standards of the program then we will look at full game tape and in-person evaluations.”

Nate Turner, Morningside College co-defensive coordinator

So it’s clear that highlights play a huge part in recruiting. But how does a player go about capturing the attention of the viewer? Coaches have told us that if a video doesn’t catch their eye within the first 90 seconds, they’re moving on to the next one. They simply don’t have time to sift through hours and hours of highlights.

The purpose of a highlight is to entice coaches and convince them to watch game video, which will give them a true evaluation of a player’s ability. How is that bridge built? Again, we’ll let the experts do the talking.

Athletes that really pop out on film. Giving full effort on plays and playing through the whistle.”

FBS Manager of Player Personnel

It always catches my eye when an athlete is hustling on every play.”

FBS Recruiting intern

I want to see a wide range of skills. I don’t want to just see TD catches or big hits at LB. I want to see a full route tree if possible or dropping into coverage.”

University of Georgia offensive assistant

Speed, agility, agressiveness in that order.”

Andy Frye, Centre College head coach

There is no doubting the value of a strong highlight video. While your game video is ultimately what’s going to land scholarship offers in your mailbox, the highlight is the step that ropes a coach in and catches their attention.

So don’t delay. Make a highlight that coaches won’t want to stop watching, then use social media to blast it out. Recruiters leave no doubt - highlight videos are imperative. Catch their eyes and your chances of making it to next level skyrocket.

Key Takeaway

Highlight videos are an important part of the recruiting process, and coaches expect to see hustle and a variety of skills.