What is a Preferred Walk on in College Football?

A preferred walk-on in college football is a term for a player who is not guaranteed a scholarship spot but is invited to join the team. It means the athlete can participate in team activities and potentially earn a scholarship in the future based on performance and availability.

Essentially, preferred walk-ons are considered part of the team but are not offered financial aid or scholarship money upon signing with a school. Coaches typically extend preferred walk-on invitations to high school athletes, and some may even have an opportunity to earn playing time in their first year.

While it may not guarantee immediate financial benefits, being a preferred walk-on can lead to scholarship opportunities and a valuable college football experience.

College Football

What Makes A Preferred Walk-On?

Being part of a college football team can be a dream come true for many athletes. It not only presents an excellent opportunity to showcase their skills but also to earn a degree while doing something they love. However, not everyone who wants to play college football is offered a scholarship.

This is where preferred walk-ons come in. In this section of the blog post, we’ll dive into what makes a preferred walk-on and how they differ from regular walk-ons.

Explanation Of The Difference Between A Preferred Walk-On And A Regular Walk-On

Walk-ons are athletes who try out for a position at a college football program without being offered a scholarship. However, preferred walk-ons are highly valued by coaches. They are guaranteed a spot on the roster as long as they meet certain criteria.

Here are some differences between preferred and regular walk-ons:

Regular Walk-Ons:

  • No guaranteed roster spot
  • Do not receive any benefits, including financial aid or tuition waivers
  • Typically go through the same tryout process as preferred walk-ons

Preferred Walk-Ons:

  • Guaranteed roster spot
  • Have a higher chance of earning a scholarship in the future
  • Receive some benefits like access to the team’s facilities, equipment, and medical care

Details On How Athletes Become Preferred Walk-Ons And What Criteria They Must Meet

Becoming a preferred walk-on is not an easy feat. Coaches select athletes who have the potential to contribute to the team in the long run. Here are some factors coaches consider when selecting preferred walk-ons:

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Athletic Ability

  • Coaches look for athletes who have the necessary physical attributes such as height, weight, speed, and agility.
  • They also look for well-rounded athletes who excelled in various sports during high school.

Academic Achievement

  • Coaches prefer athletes who have a strong academic record, such as high gpas and test scores.
  • They also look for athletes who have taken challenging courses in high school, such as advanced placement (ap) or international baccalaureate (ib) classes.


  • Coaches want athletes who are coachable, disciplined, and have good attitudes.
  • They also look for athletes who have good leadership skills and can positively impact their team both on and off the field.

Becoming a preferred walk-on is an excellent opportunity for athletes who did not receive a scholarship to play college football. It is important to keep in mind that coaches carefully consider factors such as athletic ability, academic achievement, and character when selecting preferred walk-ons.

However, being a preferred walk-on is not the end goal; it is just the beginning of a journey towards earning a scholarship and becoming a valuable player on the team.

Benefits Of Being A Preferred Walk-On

Being a preferred walk-on can come with numerous benefits. Here is a brief description of some of the benefits that these players have over regular walk-ons.

Opportunities For Scholarships

One of the significant benefits of being a preferred walk-on is the opportunity for scholarships. Although preferred walk-ons may not receive a full scholarship, some colleges offer partial scholarships. That means that these players can receive some financial assistance that helps to cover expenses like tuition fees, books, and room and board.

Guaranteed Spot On The Team

Another benefit of being a preferred walk-on is the guaranteed spot on the team. It means that the player has secured their place on the team, whereas regular walk-ons may not have the same guarantee. As a result, preferred walk-ons stand a better chance of getting playing time.

Better Chance To Show Their Skills

Preferred walk-ons have better opportunities to showcase their skills compared to regular walk-ons. They get more attention from coaches, which gives them a better chance to impress their coaches. Coaches also tend to give preferred walk-ons more chances to participate in team activities like scrimmages and practices, which can help them prove their worth to the team.

Being a preferred walk-on offers several benefits over being a regular walk-on. These benefits include opportunities for scholarships, guaranteed spots on the team, and better chances to showcase their skills. If you have a passion for football and want to play at the college level but cannot secure a scholarship, being a preferred walk-on may be the perfect opportunity for you.



How Preferred Walk-Ons Differ From Traditional Scholarships

Comparison Of Preferred Walk-Ons With Traditional Scholarship Players

If you are an aspiring college football player, you may have heard about preferred walk-ons and traditional scholarship players. But do you know the key differences between the two?

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Preferred Walk-Ons

Unlike traditional scholarship players, preferred walk-ons receive a verbal agreement from coaches to join the football program, but without a written contract. This status allows them to participate in the team’s practices and workouts, but they must pay their own way through college.

Here are some points to keep in mind about preferred walk-ons:

  • They are not guaranteed a roster spot or playing time.
  • They can earn a scholarship later on if they perform well and meet certain criteria.
  • Their commitment level and work ethic are generally higher because they have to prove themselves.
  • They may have more opportunities to transfer to other schools because they are not bound by scholarship agreements.

Traditional Scholarship Players

On the other hand, scholarship players are offered a written contract (national letter of intent) that guarantees them a spot on the roster and financial assistance from the school.

Here are some points to keep in mind about traditional scholarship players:

  • They are expected to perform at a high level and meet certain team and academic requirements.
  • They have less flexibility to leave the program or transfer to other schools without consequences.
  • They may face more pressure to perform because they are receiving financial assistance.

Preferred walk-ons have the opportunity to prove their worth and earn a scholarship while traditional scholarship players have more security and support, but also greater expectations. It is up to the individual player to decide which path is best for them.

An Inside Look At Being A Preferred Walk-On

Football is an intense sport, and playing at the college level is a tremendous accomplishment. For many college football players, the road to playing time involves being a preferred walk-on. While some people may assume that being a preferred walk-on means you’re a backup player, quite the opposite is true.

In this blog post, we’ll take an inside look at being a preferred walk-on in college football and get insights into the daily life of these athletes.

A Profile Of An Actual Preferred Walk-On Athlete

Preferred walk-ons are not on scholarship, meaning they must pay for their education while still competing at the highest level. These athletes have to be incredibly dedicated, motivated, and passionate about the game to make it happen. Let’s take a look at a profile of a typical preferred walk-on athlete:

  • Hardworking and dedicated to the game
  • A positive attitude towards training and competing
  • A disciplined student-athlete who can balance academics and athletics
  • A team player who puts the team’s success above individual accolades
  • A great work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile to improve their craft

These are just a few of the traits that you’ll typically see in a preferred walk-on athlete. It’s essential to remember that even though they’re not on scholarship, that doesn’t mean they’re any less talented or committed to the game.

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Insights Into The Daily Life Of A Preferred Walk-On

Being a preferred walk-on requires discipline, dedication, and resilience. Every day, these athletes face a unique set of challenges and responsibilities that require their full attention. Here are some insights into the daily life of a preferred walk-on:

  • Balancing academics and athletics is crucial. Most preferred walk-ons have to work just as hard, if not harder, than scholarship athletes to excel in their studies while still competing on the field.
  • While scholarship athletes typically have a set schedule, preferred walk-ons must work around their studies to find time to train and practice. This often means early morning or late-night training sessions or squeezing in extra reps whenever possible.
  • Preferred walk-ons must continually prove themselves to their coaches, teammates, and themselves. They have to show their worth every day in practice and in games to earn playing time, respect, and recognition.
  • Unlike scholarship players, preferred walk-ons do not have guaranteed playing time, meaning they must always be ready to play when called upon. This adds an extra level of pressure and responsibility to every game.

Being a preferred walk-on in college football is a challenging and rewarding experience that requires grit, determination, and a love for the game. While it’s not an easy path, the lessons learned and the memories made along the way make it all worthwhile.

[FAQs] Frequently Asked Questions On What Is A Preferred Walk On In College Football

What Is A Preferred Walk-On In College Football?

A preferred walk-on is an athlete who is offered a roster spot on a college football team, without receiving scholarship aid. They are not bound to the national letter of intent, and can choose to join a team where they have good chances of making the cut.

What Is The Difference Between A Preferred Walk-On And A Walk-On?

The main difference between the two is that a preferred walk-on is given a guaranteed spot on the roster, whereas a regular walk-on has to try out for the team like any other candidate. Preferred walk-ons may also be given favorable treatment in terms of access to equipment and training facilities.

Can A Preferred Walk-On Earn A Scholarship Later On?

Yes, preferred walk-ons can earn scholarship offers as they progress with the team. In many cases, coaches use preferred walk-ons as a way of evaluating their potential before offering them scholarship opportunities. In other cases, walk-ons who display exceptional talent or make significant contributions to their team may be awarded scholarships.

How Do Coaches Identify Preferred Walk-On Candidates?

Coaches usually look to their network of high school coaches and other contacts to identify potential preferred walk-ons. They may also hold walk-on tryouts or attend recruiting events to identify hidden gem prospects who may not have received major scholarship offers.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Preferred Walk-On?

Preferred walk-ons get the chance to compete at the division i level and develop their abilities at top visibility programs. They also get access to top-notch athletic facilities, equipment, and training staffs. Over time, they may also earn scholarship offers or become important contributors to their team.


As we have learned, a preferred walk-on position can be a great opportunity for high school athletes who did not secure a scholarship offer from a division i school or any other program. The preferred walk-on designation can be an honorable recognition of the athlete’s skills and potential, and it may lead to more opportunities to play and earn a scholarship in the future.

When considering the preferred walk-on pathway, it is important to understand the difference between a guaranteed spot and non-guaranteed spot, as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, choosing to walk-on is a personal decision that should be made based on the individual’s goals and priorities.

While it may require more effort and dedication, a preferred walk-on athlete can still make an impact and achieve success on the field and beyond.


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