High School Football Requirements

What are the minimum high school football requirements? How fit do you have to be to play high school football, and do you need good grades?

High School Football Requirements

The minimum grades in your state are probably low – they’ll let a C student but maybe not a D student play high school football. You may also need a decent attendance record to play. You should practice football and stay in shape off-season to make the team. 

As a high school football coach, I encourage everyone to lift weights during the off-season to get stronger. You can also train your agility and not just your strength. 

High School Football Requirements

Different states have different eligibility requirements for high school football. Many schools require acceptable but not good grades. For example, a 2.0 GPA on a scale that goes up to 4.0 is often the minimum for high school football.


You can also lose eligibility if you have poor attendance. A high school might look at your attendance record for the last two semesters and disqualify you if it’s below a certain standard. 


Sometimes, you can appeal if they say you are not eligible. If you have a good excuse for a lot of absences or poor grades, they might let you play. 

Athletic Requirements

Players need speed, agility, stamina, and football skills. High school football is open to a lot more people than college football, but not everyone makes the team. 

High School Football Requirements


Agility and speed are as important as strength. You can avoid being tackled and get past defenders if you can move around effectively. 

An agile player can suddenly change direction without going off balance. Football players also have to stop moving immediately. You can train your agility like you train strength. 

One of the simplest agility drills is to practice suddenly slowing down and stopping when running. You can also do figure 8 runs, where you run around a figure 8 pattern as fast as possible. This teaches you to maintain speed while turning and to run on a curve. 


Football players move around so much that they cover 10 kilometers each game. You need a lot of stamina to move that much that fast without tiring out and slowing down. 

Simply running laps outdoors is a good way to improve your stamina if you put some effort into it. You can also sprint for ten seconds, stop for twenty seconds, and then go back to sprinting for ten seconds. Repeating this many times in a row will train you for the explosive bursts of speed you need in football. 


Weight lifting and other strength exercises are part of being a football player. Teams that lift weights during the off-season beat teams that don’t train. 

First, start with standard lifts – bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and power-clean. After you learn to do these with good form, learn to do some uncommon lifts properly. Sled pushes, fireman carries, and farmer carries are all great for football players. 

You might use bodyweight exercises instead of weights to strengthen your core. If your core muscles (abs, diaphragm, obliques, transverse abdominal muscle ext) are weak, you won’t be able to apply your upper body or lower body strength fully. With a strong core, you can keep your balance and avoid getting hurt when tackled. 

How to Play and Succeed at High School Football

Joining a high school football team can be difficult even though it is much less competitive than high school football. It is easiest to get good at football or any other sport if you start as a kid. You don’t always have to start as a kid, but earlier is better. 

Try training even when you don’t need to train. Don’t only practice football or exercise hard during football season. Be in good shape and ready to play when the season starts. 

You can also go to football camps to improve your skills. When it comes time for tryouts, show up prepared to try your hardest. Have a regular sleep schedule during the weeks leading up to trying out for the team. 

College Football Requirements

You must have a 2.3 GPA to start playing D1 football right away. With a GPA between 2.0 and 2.3, you can only practice and not play with your team during the first year. You must pass 16 core high school courses to qualify. 

High School Football Requirements

For D2 football, you can start playing right away with a slightly lower GPA. There are no minimum grades for D3 college football. However, a very poor student won’t get into or be able to stay in a college. 

Your SAT and ACT sum scores also matter. If you have a fairly low GPA, you will need higher SAT/ACT scores to play college football. They do not expect high SAT scores. 

high school student athletes

Professional Football Requirements

You have to be out of high school for three years to play in the NFL. Usually, you have to use up all of your eligibility to play college football before you can enter the NFL draft. 

You usually have to have played four seasons of college football to enter the NFL draft. However, there are some exceptions where you can enter even if you have not played four seasons or used up your eligibility. 

Key Takeaways

  • You don’t have to be an A student to play high school football, but you might have to be a C student. Something like a C average or a 2.0 GPA on a 4-point scale may be the minimum. Different states have different academic requirements.
  • To succeed at high school football, start the season in shape. Practice on your own time and don’t get out of shape during the off-season. 
  • Strength training is important for football players. Teams that lift weights and do bodyweight exercises beat teams that don’t build up their strength. You should exercise your upper body with weights, your lower body with weights, and your core with bodyweight exercises.
  • You can also train your agility by running in a figure 8 pattern, stopping suddenly when running fast, and doing other agility exercises. 

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