Academics and Character

The second of a three part series by UCLA Football Recruiting Analyst Branden Jones. In this piece, he lends his expertise to help student-athletes with off the field behavior.

Academics and Character

High School/7 on 7 Coach: Hey, I got this kid that will be perfect for you!

College Coach: How are his grades?

High School /7 on 7 Coach: He will be an instant starter for you guys!

College Coach: Do his teachers and teammates respect him?

High School /7 on 7 Coach: His brothers were monsters and his dad is 6’6”!

College Coach: What’s he like at practice?

High School /7 on 7 Coach: Are you guys going to offer him?

College Coach: How is he in the weight room?

While this conversation could go a million different ways, these are fundamental questions that coaches will want to know about a prospective student-athlete over the course of the recruitment. Are there situations where the offer comes first and the research comes later? Yes. Are there some programs that just skim the surface without digging too deep? Absolutely. For the most part, colleges and universities are going to do their due diligence for someone they are considering giving a four-year scholarship that could be worth more than $250,000. We have already addressed how to properly present yourself on film, let’s address the off the field aspect of your resume; academics, character, and social media.


Get your grades right! For minimum NCAA requirements, you need at least a 2.30 Core GPA, which is made up of the following 16 core units:

  • 4 years of English

  • 3 years of Math

  • 2 years of Natural/Physical Science

  • 2 years of Social Science

  • 1 additional year of English, Math, or Natural/Physical Science

  • 4 additional years of English, Math, Natural/Physical Science, Social Science, Foreign Language, or other NCAA approved electives (most fine arts, health, PE, sports, and office aides don’t count for credits and/or GPA)

Ten of these 16 core credits must be done before the start of your senior year and seven of them must be in English, Math, or Natural/Physical Science. While the 2.30 Core GPA, NOT cumulative, is the bare minimum for NCAA eligibility, each institution will have different requirements, most of whom well exceed this bare minimum. If you failed courses early in your career, retake them in summer or through approved online institutions to both get those credits and boost your GPA!


Your transcript is a tangible representation of your academic standing, but character is just as important for a college program to welcome you into their locker room. You may get good grades, but do your teachers/counselors respect your work ethic? Are you a good citizen on campus? Are you a good teammate and hard worker year-round, not just on game days? These are all questions that more often than not can hurt you more than help, but do your best to have favorable reviews in these categories.

Twitter – The Ally

Not every prospective student-athlete comes across a coach/recruiting department via direct recommendation. A college could be watching someone else’s film and they see you and from there, they will check a roster to get your name then head to Twitter to find you. They could be scrolling through Twitter and one of your friends retweets your film and he watches it. Like a highlight film, here are some tips to maximize your Twitter appeal:

  • Make sure your name is either in your handle or the “Name” component of your profile

  • Have your DM’s open

  • Graduation year and position(s) in “Bio”

  • Have your school spelled out in the “Bio” (if you go to Eastlake HS, don’t put EHS)

  • GPA and SAT/ACT in the “Bio,” especially if you are a high academic kid

  • Link to your most recent highlights in the “Website” portion of your profile

Do a Google search for yourself and see if you can find your Twitter with ease. If you can’t find you, the coach may have a hard time. Don’t make it hard for a coach to find you or get in touch with you!

Social Media – The Enemy

You are what your put on the internet! Once it’s there, it’s somewhere forever! While these sound like archaic statements made by what you feel are your out-of-touch parents, this is similar to the character component as this can harm you more than hurt you. Division I programs have the resources and manpower to do weekly social media reports on all prospective student-athletes and already offered/committed prospects. Will your social media presence award you a scholarship? Nope. Can your actions deter colleges from pursuing you or make them pull your scholarship, even if committed? Absolutely! Your retweets, likes, mentions, stories, snaps, etc. are combed through on all platforms to gain insight to the complete you. Now, what each program does with this information is dependent on the head coach. If there is a pattern of questionable material that you post/support, colleges that may have pursued you never will or those that were may cool off. Think twice before pressing once!

Just because you are a have a proper highlight film like we talked about last month and are a great student with flawless recommendations DOES NOT mean you are a candidate for just any college program. Stay tuned as we break down your options for playing at the next level next time.


Part 1 of 3: How to: Highlight Films for ALL positions

Part 3 of 3: What is your WHY