What is a Preferred Walk on in Football? 2023

A preferred walk on in football is a recruited athlete who is not offered an athletic scholarship but still has a spot on the team. Essentially, it means the coach would like to have the player on the team, but it will not come with financial aid.

Football is arguably the most popular sport in the united states, and with such a huge following comes the pressure to excel on the field. While many student-athletes dream of receiving a scholarship to pay for college, only a small percentage are offered one.

This is where preferred walk-ons come in. Being a preferred walk-on means that the coach believes in your abilities and wants you to join the team, but it also means that you will not receive an athletic scholarship. Despite the lack of financial aid, preferred walk-ons have the opportunity to earn a scholarship in the future through hard work and dedication to the team.

What is a Preferred Walk on in Football

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Table of Contents

Understanding The Concept Of A Preferred Walk-On In Football

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and attracts millions of fans. Apart from the famous and highly-regarded players, there are also some lesser-known players known as preferred walk-ons. Preferred walk-ons are players who join a football team voluntarily but without receiving any scholarship or financial aid.

This means that they have to pay for their training expenses, accommodation, and other costs themselves. Understanding the concept of a preferred walk-on in football can provide insights into the sports industry and the commitment required to pursue a career in football.

Introduction To Preferred Walk-On

Preferred walk-ons have become increasingly popular in american football, and their participation has become an essential aspect of the sport. For many football players who are not offered a scholarship, a preferred walk-on opportunity can be their chance to obtain a spot on the team.

The following points will reveal the essential aspects of a preferred walk-on in football.

  • A preferred walk-on is a player who has been invited to join a team voluntarily but without any financial help or scholarship.
  • Preferred walk-ons may earn scholarships later if they prove themselves worthy on the field.
  • From a coach’s perspective, preferred walk-ons may be crucial players who provide backup support to scholarship holders or supplement the depth of the team.
  • A preferred walk-on player must pay for their own expenses, including gear and other training-related expenses.
  • Preferred walk-ons may eventually earn a scholarship, but it depends on various factors such as their performance, commitment, and team’s budget.

Becoming a preferred walk-on in football demands a robust work ethic, determination, and passion for the sport. It may not be a glamorous role in the sport, but for players committed to football, a preferred walk-on position may provide a valuable opportunity to showcase their skills and contribute to the team’s success.

Definition And Overview Of Preferred Walk-On

The Meaning Of Preferred Walk-On In Simple Terms

In football, a preferred walk-on is a player who is not offered an athletic scholarship but is invited to join the team as a walk-on player. This means that the player is not guaranteed a spot on the team but still has the opportunity to earn playing time and potentially a scholarship in the future.

Essentially, it’s a way for talented players who may have been overlooked during the recruiting process to still have a chance to play at the collegiate level.

  • Preferred walk-ons are typically recruited by the coaching staff and offered a roster spot without a scholarship.
  • These players may have been lightly recruited by other schools or had late-developing talents.
  • Being a preferred walk-on means that the player is given the same opportunities as scholarship players to prove themselves on the team.

Why Is It Called Preferred Walk-On?

The term “preferred walk-on” signifies that the player has been selected by the coaching staff to join the team over other potential walk-ons. Essentially, being a preferred walk-on means that the coaching staff has shown an interest in the player’s skills and potential.

  • The term “walk-on” refers to a player who is not offered an athletic scholarship and must try out for the team.
  • The term “preferred” implies that the player is being singled out as having potential to contribute to the team in the future.
  • The coaching staff may offer certain preferred walk-ons scholarship opportunities if they perform well during practices and games.

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

While both preferred walk-ons and regular walk-ons are not offered athletic scholarships, there are key differences between the two.

  • Regular walk-ons must try out for the team without any prior interest or invitation from the coaching staff.
  • Preferred walk-ons have been recruited by the coaching staff and offered a spot on the team without a scholarship.
  • Preferred walk-ons are more likely to receive playing time and scholarship opportunities than regular walk-ons if they prove themselves during practices and games.
  • Regular walk-ons may have a less clear path to earning a scholarship or playing time due to higher competition levels and fewer chances to showcase their skills.

Benefits Of Being A Preferred Walk-On In Football

Playing college football is every high school athlete’s dream. With potential scholarships, bright future, and fame, it is no surprise that many aspiring athletes consider football as their ultimate goal. However, not everyone who wants to play college football obtains a full scholarship.

Fortunately, there is an alternative option, a preferred walk-on. In this blog post, we will explore what being a preferred walk-on entails and the benefits of being one in college football.

Full Scholarship Vs Preferred Walk-On

Ncaa colleges give out many scholarships to high school recruits. These scholarships cover tuition, books, and board. However, not all recruits receive these full-ride scholarships. The majority of recruits who manage to play college football and accomplish the title of preferred walk-on must pay their way through college or require some financial aid.

A full scholarship athlete does not have to worry about paying for tuition, books, room and board, or medical expenses, but preferred walk-ons have to finance by themselves or receive financial support. A preferred walk-on position will not benefit you in this degree if you can get a full scholarship.

The Advantages Of Being A Preferred Walk-On

Being a preferred walk-on has its advantages. Despite facing the financial burden, preferred walk-ons have higher chances of playing on a team than a regular walk-on. Here are some benefits:

  • Opportunity to work with division i players and coaches

Preferred walk-ons practice with the team, are part of the team meetings, and receive access to everything else that a scholarship player receives. They get the full experience of being a division i player without the scholarship. Being present at these atmospheres will only strengthen the player’s chances of being successful.

  • Assured spot on the team

A preferred walk-on is guaranteed a spot on the team and the chance to compete for a scholarship when vacancies become available. Regular walk-ons, on the other hand, have to prove themselves in order to secure a spot on the team, and get away with less time with the team.

  • Development of the player

Preferred walk-ons receive first-hand experience and exposure to division i athletes which helps them improve as players. The level of the competition teaches them to be resilient and consistent in order to improve their performances.

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Benefits Of A Preferred Walk-On Over A Regular Walk-On

A preferred walk-on not only has higher chances of seeing playing time but also has certain benefits over a regular walk-on. They receive:

  • Priority treatment

Preferred walk-ons receive greater attention from coaches in comparison to regular walk-ons. Coaches always prioritize scholarship and preferred walk-on players over regular walk-ons. This provides an increased probability of playing time and time with the coaches.

  • A more comfortable environment

Being a preferred walk-on shows that you are wanted. You belong in this roster. It is an honour, and players can enjoy smoother conditions in terms of access because of this type of recognition.

  • Other opportunities

Many teams that have preferred walk-ons also have other benefits that increase a player’s experience as a football player. They might receive specialist support, meals, mentorship or equipment that they would not have experienced if they were a regular walk-on.

A preferred walk-on in college football is a valuable opportunity, but not a cure-all solution. It provides a chance for athletes to work closely with the team, develop their craft with d1 players and coaches, and receive priority treatment and other benefits over regular walk-ons.

The experience may come with extra financial burden, but it is worth it for those who have the ability and determination to earn a spot on the team.

The Process Of Becoming A Preferred Walk-On In Football

Becoming a preferred walk-on in football is not an easy feat. While many high school athletes aspire to play football at the collegiate level, only a handful of them ever get recruited by universities. But for those who did not receive an offer, there is still hope.

This is where a preferred walk-on option comes in. This blog post aims to provide a detailed explanation of the entire process of becoming a preferred walk-on in football.

The Recruitment Process

The process of becoming a preferred walk-on in football is different from the traditional recruitment process. Here are the key things to know:

  • Contacting coaches directly: Unlike the regular recruitment process where coaches come to the athlete, for a preferred walk-on spot, you need to contact the coaches directly. Reach out to the coach of the position you play and express your interest. Share any relevant accomplishments or accolades to catch their attention.
  • Making a connection: It’s important to establish a connection with the coach. Attend the school’s camps, observe their practices, or attend their games. This helps you get familiar with the program and demonstrate your passion for the sport.
  • Highlighting your strengths: Showcase your skills and strengths in the sport through a highlight reel or a video. If the coach sees potential in you, it increases the chances of a preferred walk-on spot offer.
  • Getting academic support: Your academic record plays a key role in securing a preferred walk-on position. High grades and test scores demonstrate your capability to handle rigorous academic work while playing at the collegiate level. Seek academic advisors’ help to ensure you are on the right track.

The Walk-On Experience

Being a walk-on is different from being a scholarship player. Here are a few things to note:

  • No athletic scholarship: Walk-on players don’t receive athletic scholarships. However, some programs offer financial assistance for walk-on players. Seek clarification from the coach regarding the availability of such programs.
  • Proving yourself on the field: As a walk-on player, you need to work harder to earn playing time since you’re not guaranteed a spot on the roster. Prove your worth through your work ethic, commitment, and dedication.
  • Opportunities for scholarships: If you consistently perform well, walk-on players can earn scholarship offers. The coaches may decide to offer them a scholarship after witnessing their performance, work ethic, and attitude.
  • Learning experience: Being a walk-on player presents an opportunity to learn from more experienced players on the team. Observe and learn from their techniques and try to implement them.

Becoming a preferred walk-on in football requires a lot of effort and commitment. It takes a different approach than the traditional recruitment process, and it’s essential to showcase your strengths and make a connection with the coach. As a walk-on player, continue working hard, proving yourself on the field, and constantly striving to improve.

With dedication and hard work, it’s possible to achieve your goals.

The Role Of College Football Coaches In Recruitment

College football coaches play an essential role in the recruitment of players, including preferred walk-ons. While walk-ons do not receive scholarships, they can still be a vital part of a team’s success. Let’s take a look at what coaches look for in preferred walk-ons and the importance of academic performance.

What Coaches Look For In Preferred Walk-Ons

Coaches consider several factors when recruiting preferred walk-ons. Some of these factors include:

  • Athletic ability: While preferred walk-ons may not be offered scholarships, coaches still seek players with high athletic ability and potential for growth.
  • Positional need: Coaches also recruit preferred walk-ons to fill gaps in their roster. Students with unique or diverse skill sets may be particularly attractive to coaches.
  • Work ethic: Coaches want players who are willing to work hard and contribute to the team’s success. They seek individuals who display leadership qualities, are motivated, and coachable.

The Importance Of Academic Performance For A Preferred Walk-On

While athletic ability is crucial, academic performance is also considered when coaches recruit preferred walk-ons. Academic performance is essential for several reasons, including:

  • Ncaa eligibility: All athletes must meet ncaa eligibility requirements, including maintaining satisfactory academic performance in college.
  • Academic support: Athletes require assistance in balancing academic and athletic responsibilities. Many schools provide academic support services to athletes, including tutoring and time-management resources.
  • Future opportunities: Academic performance can impact future opportunities beyond college athletics. Graduation and strong academic performance can open doors to graduate school, internships, and careers beyond football.

Coaches consider athletic ability, positional need, and work ethic when recruiting preferred walk-ons. They also value academic performance for ncaa eligibility, academic support, and future opportunities. Preferred walk-ons play an essential role in college football, and coaches value the contributions they make to the team’s success.

Recruitment Timeline For Preferred Walk-Ons

When Should You Start The Recruitment Process?

If you are dreaming of playing college football, it’s never too early to start thinking about recruitment. The earlier you start the recruitment process, the better chance you have of getting noticed by coaches and earning a preferred walk-on spot.

Ideally, you should start your recruitment process at least 18-24 months ahead of your intended enrollment date.

Some key steps to take during this time include:

  • Researching colleges and their football programs
  • Creating an online presence that highlights your athletic achievements
  • Attending football camps and clinics to connect with coaches and showcase your skills
  • Sending highlight tapes to coaches
  • Reaching out to coaches via email or phone to express your interest and ask any questions you may have

The Timeline For The Entire Recruitment Process

While it’s essential to start the recruitment process early, it’s also crucial to understand that the process can take time. Generally, the entire recruitment process from initial contact to official commitment can take anywhere from six months to two years.

Here is a timeline to give you an idea of the typical recruitment process for preferred walk-ons:

  • Freshman/sophomore year: Start researching colleges and their football programs, attend camps and clinics, and create an online presence.
  • Junior year: Begin contacting coaches and sending highlight tapes, start taking visits to colleges and meeting with coaches in person.
  • Summer before senior year: Attend college football camps and showcase events to attract more attention from coaches.
  • Fall of senior year: Continue communicating with coaches, narrowing down your options, and deciding whether to accept preferred walk-on offers or pursue other opportunities.
  • Signing day: Sign your national letter of intent (nli) or sign as a preferred walk-on.

The Paperwork Timeline For Preferred Walk-Ons

Once you have verbally committed to a college as a preferred walk-on, there are still several official steps you must take before enrolling. Here is a timeline of the paperwork process for preferred walk-ons:

  • Signing day: Sign your preferred walk-on offer letter (not the same as the nli).
  • February-april of senior year: Complete the fafsa and apply for admission to the college.
  • May of senior year: Receive financial aid package and provide additional documentation as needed.
  • June-july: Attend summer orientation and complete ncaa compliance paperwork.
  • August: Report to preseason camp and finalize all remaining paperwork.

By carefully following this recruitment timeline and paperwork process, you can increase your chances of earning a preferred walk-on spot and achieving your dream of playing college football. Remember to start early, be persistent, and stay committed to your goals.

Requirements To Be A Preferred Walk-On In College Football


College football offers many opportunities for students who want to participate in the sport. One of these opportunities is the preferred walk-on program. However, not everyone can be a preferred walk-on. Here are the eligibility requirements for this program:

  • The student must meet the academic requirements set by the ncaa and the school they want to attend.
  • The student must have a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate.
  • The student must be able to pass the ncaa eligibility clearinghouse.


Besides the eligibility requirements, there are also qualifications that the student must possess to be a preferred walk-on. Here are the qualifications:

  • The student must have played football at a high level in high school.
  • The student should have good physical attributes, such as height, weight, speed, and strength.
  • The student should have good football skills, such as blocking, tackling, and catching.
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To be considered for a preferred walk-on, the student needs to meet certain requirements. These requirements show the coach that the student is serious about playing football for the school. Here are the requirements:

  • The student should contact the coach and express their interest in the preferred walk-on program.
  • The student should attend the school’s football camp, if available, to showcase their skills and meet the coaching staff.
  • The student should have a highlight video, transcripts, and any accolades available to share with the coaches.
  • The student must be willing to put in the hard work and dedication necessary to compete at the college level.

The preferred walk-on program offers an opportunity for athletes who did not receive a scholarship to play college football. However, students must meet certain eligibility requirements, possess the necessary qualifications, and demonstrate their commitment to the program to be considered.

Eligibility Requirements For Preferred Walk-On

Football is one of the most popular sports globally, and players from different parts of the world aspire to become football players. However, only a lucky few get the chance to play at the college level, let alone play for a division i school.

Many talented players may not receive any scholarship offers yet want to play college football. This is where the preferred walk-on program comes into play. In this section, we’ll discuss the eligibility requirements for preferred walk-on players.

Ncaa Eligibility Requirements

The ncaa sets the eligibility standards for college football players, and the same rules apply to preferred walk-ons. Here are the ncaa eligibility requirements for college football players:

  • The player must have graduated from high school or an equivalent program.
  • The player must have completed a certain number of core courses in high school, which varies depending on the college.
  • The player must have taken either the act or sat test and achieved a qualifying score. Again, the qualifying score varies by college.

Academic Qualifications

Preferred walk-ons must have good academic qualifications to participate in college football. Here are the academic requirements:

  • The player must have a minimum gpa of 2.3 to join the preferred walk-on program of a division i school.
  • The player must have a minimum gpa of 2.0 or higher to join the preferred walk-on program of a division ii school.

Required Physical Attributes

While a player’s academics are important, football is an athletic game, and players need to have specific physical attributes to participate. Here are some of the physical attributes required by athletes to take part in a preferred walk-on program:

  • Players must meet the height and weight requirements set by the program.
  • Players must meet the speed and agility requirements set by the program.
  • Players must display good technique and fundamental skills required on the field.

The ncaa has set guidelines for football players for both academic and athletic requirements. These guidelines are essential to ensure that players meet specific standards and excel both academically and on the field. Aspiring college football players must meet these requirements to have the opportunity to participate in the preferred walk-on program.

Important Factors To Consider Before Becoming A Preferred Walk-On

Considerations Athletes Should Make Before Considering Walking On

Becoming a preferred walk-on athlete in football can present an exciting opportunity for those individuals who did not get recruited but still want to play at the college level. However, before making the choice to walk on, athletes must consider certain factors to ensure they are making the right decision.

The Level Of Commitment Required

Making the decision to walk on as a preferred athlete is no small feat, as it requires significant commitment. Before diving in, prospective preferred walk-ons should consider the following:

  • Understand the realistic expectation of playing time
  • Be prepared to tackle the grueling and rigorous training schedule and practices during and outside the season
  • Realize the commitment that is required outside of playing, including traveling, film study, and volunteering.

Potential Playing Opportunities

Before players decide to walk on as a preferred athlete, they need to assess the potential playing time that they may or may not receive. They should be prepared for the following:

  • Understand that there is no guarantee of playing time, and many preferred walk-ons do not receive an opportunity to play in games.
  • Assess where you stand against other players in the roster and the type of depth chart position
  • Discuss with the coaching staff if there is a chance that they could eventually earn a scholarship in the future.

Financial Considerations

Another important factor that athletes need to consider is finances. They should consider the following:

  • Understand that as a preferred walk-on, no scholarship is promised or guaranteed
  • Assess if they are financially stable to handle the costs of playing without a scholarship
  • Explore alternative funding options such as financial aid, student loans, or work-study programs.

Before deciding to become a preferred walk-on athlete, one must give a considerable amount of thought and consider their goals, abilities, finances, future scholarship opportunities, and many other factors. With the right mindset, hard work, and dedication, walk-ons have the opportunity to prove their worth and achieve their dream of playing at the highest level of collegiate football.

The Life Of A Preferred Walk-On In College Football

Preferred Walk-On Experience And Expectations

The life of a preferred walk-on in college football can be a unique and challenging one. Unlike scholarship players, walk-ons pay their own way to attend college and play football. Below are some key points to keep in mind regarding the preferred walk-on experience and expectations.

  • An uphill battle: As a preferred walk-on, you’re not guaranteed playing time, and you’ll have to fight for every opportunity you get. You’ll have to prove yourself in practice day in and day out.
  • Scholarships can open doors: If you’re a preferred walk-on, there’s always a chance that you could earn a scholarship. This can happen if a scholarship player is injured or leaves the team.
  • It takes a lot of dedication: Walk-ons must be willing to put in the extra effort to succeed, which includes supporting their teammates and being patient until they get their chance.
  • Academic pressure: As a preferred walk-on, you’ll not just need to be great on the field but also succeed academically.
  • Network: Preferred walk-ons should develop relationships with their coaches and other walk-ons since they might act as access points to resources, such as scholarships and placement on the field.


Being a preferred walk-on comes with expectations beyond making the team and playing time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be self-reliant: Preferred walk-ons don’t have the backup of scholarship money or academic support. Thus, it would be helpful if you take on responsibly for financing and arranging academic support independently.
  • Maintain a positive attitude: Walk-ons who complain about their status or playing time will find it hard to earn the trust of their coaches, making it hard to get playing time.
  • Team first mentality: Coaches look for players with the right attitude of putting their team first. As a preferred walk-on, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
  • Ruthlessness with time and goals: Walk-ons need to be excellent time managers and goal setters. They must balance academics, football, and social lives.

Being a preferred walk-on in football is an enriching experience despite the challenges. Giving your best efforts in academics and on the field, keeping a positive attitude, and maintaining a team-first mentality can lead to remarkable opportunities and rewards.

Expectations And Practice Schedule Of Preferred Walk-Ons

In college football, there are scholarship players, walk-ons, and preferred walk-ons. Preferred walk-ons are athletes who are not initially offered a scholarship but are guaranteed a spot on the team. In return, they are expected to meet certain requirements set by their coach and the athletic department.

In this post, we will discuss the expectations and practice schedule of preferred walk-ons, including the comparison of practice schedules between them and scholarship players, the expectations placed on them, and the differences in facilities and resources available to them.

Comparison Of Practice Schedule Between Preferred Walk-On And Scholarship Players

The practice schedule of preferred walk-ons is not as extensive as that of scholarship players. However, they are expected to attend all the team meetings, practices, and workouts. The schedule may vary from team to team, but generally, a preferred walk-on will practice with the team but will not receive as many repetitions as scholarship players.

It is worth noting that some preferred walk-ons earn significant playing time or even a scholarship due to their hard work and dedication.

The Expectations Placed On A Preferred Walk-On

The expectations placed on preferred walk-ons are high. They are expected to attend all activities related to the team, including practices, workouts, and meetings. Also, they are expected to maintain a high level of academic performance and represent their team and university well, both on and off the field.

A preferred walk-on is evaluated on their commitment to the team, work ethic, and overall contribution to the program.

Differences In Facilities And Resources Available To Preferred Walk-Ons

Preferred walk-ons are not offered the same financial and academic benefits as scholarship players. In return for their commitment to the program, they receive a spot on the team and access to team facilities. However, they do not receive financial assistance from the athletic department, except in cases where they may qualify for academic scholarships or other financial aid.

Additionally, they do not have access to the same amenities as scholarship players, such as academic support and training facilities.

Preferred walk-ons are valuable members of any college football team. They have the opportunity to earn a scholarship and significant playing time through hard work and dedication to their program. While the expectations and resources available to preferred walk-ons may differ from scholarship players, they offer a unique perspective and experience to any team and contribute to its overall success.

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The Experience Of Being A Preferred Walk-On

College football is a dream for thousands of high school football players across the us. While scholarship offers can be the ultimate goal, not every player is fortunate enough to receive one. Some players are invited to be a preferred walk-on, where they pay their way through college but still get a chance to play football.

In this section, we’ll explore the experience of being a preferred walk-on football player.

The Role Of Preferred Walk-Ons In College Football

At the college level, preferred walk-ons can play an essential role in the football team’s success. They may not receive a scholarship, but they are still an integral part of the team. Here are a few ways in which preferred walk-ons contribute to the team:

  • Provide valuable depth: Preferred walk-ons may not have the same level of talent as scholarship players, but they can help fill in the gaps, especially when there are injuries or suspensions.
  • They are excellent practice players: During practice, walk-ons are often used to simulate plays run by the opposing team. They provide a valuable service to the team by helping the starters practice efficiently.
  • They embody the team mentality: By being a preferred walk-on, a player demonstrates a commitment to the team. They are willing to go above and beyond to contribute, regardless of whether they receive recognition or not.
  • They challenge scholarship players: Competition is an essential aspect of football, and preferred walk-ons can push scholarship players to perform their best.

Comparison Of The College Football Experience Of Preferred Walk-Ons And Scholarship Players

The college football experience can differ significantly between preferred walk-ons and scholarship players. Here are a few comparisons between the two groups:

  • Scholarship players receive financial support: Scholarships cover the cost of tuition, room, and board, and sometimes provide a stipend for living expenses. Preferred walk-ons, on the other hand, have to pay their way through college.
  • Scholarship players may receive more playing time: Scholarships are often awarded to players with exceptional talent, and they typically receive more playing time. Preferred walk-ons may not see the field as much, but they still have a chance to earn playing time through hard work and dedication.
  • Walk-ons have less pressure: Scholarship players are expected to live up to certain expectations because of their financial support. Preferred walk-ons, on the other hand, may have less pressure to perform and may, in turn, enjoy the game more.
  • Walk-ons may have to prove their worth: Scholarship players have already been identified as having exceptional talent. Preferred walk-ons, on the other hand, may have to prove themselves over time to earn the coach’s trust.

The Importance Of Being A Team Player

Regardless of whether a player is a scholarship player or a preferred walk-on, the most crucial aspect of football is being a team player. Here are a few ways in which being a team player is critical:

  • Football is a team sport: No single player can win a game alone. All players need to work together and trust one another to succeed.
  • Encourages personal growth: By being a team player, a player learns to become selfless and focused on the team’s success rather than their individual goals.
  • Builds long-lasting relationships: Football is a team sport, and the bonds formed between teammates can last a lifetime.

Being a preferred walk-on in college football can be a unique experience that comes with its advantages and disadvantages. While scholarship players may receive more financial support and playing time, preferred walk-ons can still play a critical role in the team’s success.

At the end of the day, what’s most important is being a team player and contributing to the team’s success, regardless of whether a player receives a scholarship or not.

Conclusion: Should You Become A Preferred Walk-On In College Football?

Are you a high school football player considering your options for college football? Have you heard of preferred walk-ons? If you’re unsure about whether to pursue this option, keep reading. In this section, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of being a preferred walk-on in college football and help you decide if it’s right for you.

The Pros And Cons Of Being A Preferred Walk-On

Becoming a preferred walk-on can be a viable option for those players who want to play college football but didn’t receive a scholarship offer. This option is especially true for players who aren’t highly recruited but still possess the skills necessary to play at the college level.

However, before making a decision, it’s essential to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a preferred walk-on.


  • Opportunity: While preferred walk-ons don’t receive athletic scholarships, they still have an opportunity to prove themselves on the field. Depending on the program, there may be a chance to earn a scholarship during the season or in the future.
  • Experience: As a walk-on, you’ll have the experience of playing football at the college level without the pressure of losing a scholarship. You’ll also have access to top-level facilities, equipment, and resources.
  • Networking: Football is a highly connected sport, and being a preferred walk-on gives you an opportunity to network with coaches, players, and alumni. This networking can help in getting a part-time job or an internship.
  • Motivation: In some cases, being a walk-on can serve as motivation to prove yourself. Walk-ons have the chance to compete against scholarship players, showcase their talent, and prove worthy of a scholarship offer.


  • Financial burden: As a preferred walk-on, you won’t receive an athletic scholarship, which means you’ll have to pay for college tuition, room, and board. For many players and families, this can be a significant financial burden.
  • Playing time: Coaches may give playing time priority to scholarship players over walk-ons. As a walk-on, you’ll have to work harder to prove yourself and earn playing time.
  • Risk of injury: As a walk-on, you won’t have access to the same medical coverage as scholarship players. That means if you get injured, you’ll have to pay for medical expenses and take a risk of ending your football career.

Becoming a preferred walk-on can provide opportunities and experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be available. But it’s essential to understand and weigh the pros and cons before deciding if it’s the right choice for you.

Comparison Of The Benefits Vs. Challenges Of Being A Preferred Walk-On

In the world of college football, there are two types of players: those who are on scholarships and those who are preferred walk-ons. While scholarship players are typically guaranteed a spot on the team, preferred walk-ons are not. However, being a preferred walk-on does come with its own unique set of benefits and challenges.

In this post, we’ll explore the comparison of the benefits and challenges of being a preferred walk-on in college football.

Summary Of The Benefits Of Being A Preferred Walk-On:

  • Opportunity to prove yourself: While preferred walk-ons may not have a guaranteed spot on the roster, they do have a chance to earn a scholarship by performing well in practices and games. This can be a great opportunity to showcase your skills and impress the coaching staff.
  • Chance to develop your skills: Even if you don’t earn a scholarship, being a preferred walk-on provides you with the opportunity to practice and improve your skills alongside scholarship players.
  • Access to all team resources: Preferred walk-ons have access to the same facilities, training, and equipment as scholarship players, which can be a huge advantage in terms of fitness and skill development.
  • Being part of a team: Playing for a college football team is a unique experience that can provide you with lifelong friendships and a sense of camaraderie. As a preferred walk-on, you are part of that team, regardless of whether or not you have a scholarship.

The Challenges A Preferred Walk-On Will Face:

  • Financial burden: Unlike scholarship players, preferred walk-ons will need to pay for their own tuition, room and board, and other expenses. This can be a significant financial burden, particularly if you’re attending a school with high tuition fees.
  • Limited playing time: Due to their lack of scholarship, preferred walk-ons may not receive as much playing time as scholarship players. This can be frustrating, particularly if you feel that you’re skilled enough to compete at a high level.
  • Uncertainty about your future: Even if you perform well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll earn a scholarship. This means that you may need to put in a lot of time and effort without any guarantee of future benefits.
  • Pressure to perform: Because preferred walk-ons are not guaranteed a spot on the roster, there can be a lot of pressure to perform well in practices and games in order to earn a scholarship or even a spot on the team.

Comparison Of The College Football Experience Between Preferred Walk-Ons And Scholarship Players

While there are benefits and challenges to being a preferred walk-on, the college football experience can be quite different for these players compared to scholarship players. Some of the key differences include:

  • Scholarship players often have a guaranteed spot on the roster, allowing them to focus exclusively on their athletic performance. Preferred walk-ons, on the other hand, may need to balance their football commitments with academic responsibilities and other obligations.
  • Due to their scholarship status, scholarship players often receive more attention and resources from the coaching staff and athletic department. This can include access to special training programs, nutritionists, and other resources that may not be available to preferred walk-ons.
  • While both scholarship players and preferred walk-ons can be key contributors to a team’s success, scholarship players will typically receive greater recognition and opportunities for awards and accolades.

While being a preferred walk-on in college football can come with its own unique set of challenges, it can also be a valuable opportunity to develop your skills and prove yourself as an athlete. Whether you ultimately earn a scholarship or not, being part of a college football team can be a rewarding experience both on and off the field.

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

What Is A Preferred Walk-On In Football?

A preferred walk-on is an athlete who is not offered an athletic scholarship but is guaranteed a spot on the team. They can earn scholarships and playtime based on their performance.

Can A Preferred Walk-On Earn A Scholarship?

Yes, a preferred walk-on can earn a scholarship if they perform well on the field. Coaches can offer scholarships to preferred walk-ons based on their performance, work ethic, and attitude.

How Is A Preferred Walk-On Different From A Regular Walk-On?

A preferred walk-on is guaranteed a spot on the team while a regular walk-on has to try out for a spot. Preferred walk-ons can also earn scholarships based on their performance, while regular walk-ons do not have the same guarantee.

How Is A Preferred Walk-On Recruited?

A preferred walk-on can be recruited through conversations with coaches and attending camps or visits. Some preferred walk-ons may also be recommended by their high school coaches.

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

Being a preferred walk-on allows athletes to be a part of a college football team, gain experience, and earn the opportunity for a scholarship. It also gives them the chance to compete at a high level and potentially earn playing time.


Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, and being a preferred walk-on is a great way to make a name for yourself in this sport. It allows you to showcase your talent even if you’ve not been officially recruited for the team.

It is important to remember that preferred walk-ons are not guaranteed a spot on the team and the competition is still fierce. However, with hard work, determination, and a bit of luck, you may find yourself on the field in no time.

Remember that being a preferred walk-on allows you to compete at a high level, experience the camaraderie of a team, and could potentially lead to scholarship money. So, aim high, work hard, and don’t give up on your dreams. Who knows, you may just become a star player and make a name for yourself in the world of college football.

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