25 Things College Recruiters Look For on Film

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

Jacksonville State University (Ala.) recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach J.R. Sandlin became a social media star this fall through a series of Twitter posts in which he provided instructions to recruits with the hashtag #Recruiting101. Sandlin knows something about what college coaches are looking for. He worked as a recruiter at Alabama under Nick Saban for two national championship seasons in 2011 and 2012. He also recruited for Tennessee, Notre Dame and Central Florida.

He shared with FNF Coaches a list of 25 things coaches look for on film, whether it be footage of games, practices, combines or camps.


  • Overall athletic ability
  • Initial quickness
  • Footwork
  • Foot quickness
  • Body quickness
  • Ability to change direction
  • Explosiveness
  • Lower body flexibility
  • Balance
  • Body control
  • Burst/acceleration
  • Reactionary athleticism
  • Ball skills/hand position


  • Do you see the player hand the ball to the ref?
  • Does he pick the opponent off the ground?
  • How does he celebrate? 
  • Does he play with passion?
  • Does he sprint to the ball?
  • How does he get off the ground?
  • How locked in is he on the sideline?
  • How does he communicate with coaches and teammates?
  • How is he outfitted?
  • Does he lead warmups? How vocal is he?
  • What does the trainer/photographer/school official say about him?
  • How does he interact with officials?
What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk