Top 13 Reasons Football Players Go to Junior College First

It’s more than just a backup plan! There are many reasons football players go to Junior College first. NJCAA Junior College’s (JUCO’s) serve a great purpose for many student-athletes.

Junior College in the United States is an option for players who have graduated from high school to go and continue their higher education. JUCO’s typically offer vocational training which are courses designed to prepare you for either skilled trades, technical based jobs and to get you ready to enter professions in areas such as: nursing, medicine, engineering, accountancy, business administration, architecture and criminology. You can also attend to gain additional education and meet the grade requirements for you to go to another college at the end of the 2 years. Student-athletes typically attend junior colleges for one to two years.


Here you can access the most up-to-date college football openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

Who is Junior College (JUCO) for?

If you’re thinking about attending a Junior College and wondering if it’s for you, do you fall into one of the following categories:

    • Do you need more time to develop as a student because you can get your grades up & improve your academics at a JUCO
    • It is a good option for students who need more time to develop as athletes
    • It helps players who are in a particular financial situation
    • It’s a good preparation step for players who aren’t ready for a 4-year university just yet
    • It offers older players who are looking to get back into continuing their higher education or are looking for a new career path

Top 13 Reasons Football Players Go to Junior College (JUCO) First:

Let’s take a look at the main reasons players like yourself may choose to go to Junior College first instead of going to attend a 4 year school immediately after just graduating from high school:

  1. PLAYING TIME: The biggest reason to go to a junior college is to be able to get playing time as a freshman immediately! At a 4-year college, many athletes spend their freshmen & sophomore years being conditioned for positions and getting only small amounts of playing time (or no playing time at all) in their first couple of years. Junior Colleges typically have smaller rosters than 4-year schools which is another factor into players getting more playing time.

NOTE: Many NCAA D1 & D2 schools give JUCO’s some serious look’s for players to attend their programs.

  1. DEVELOPMENT: There are two kinds of development needed by players who typically choose to go to JUCO, these are athletic and educational. Some players need to develop in the classroom to have a chance to play at the NCAA level & some players need to develop on the court to reach the NCAA level. Having those extra two developmental years can turn a D2 athlete into a D1 recruit! Playing time is the best way to develop because without actual game time, development is limited. Because you’ll get more playing time you can prepare yourself for 4-year school and position yourself for better opportunities to present themselves.

NOTE: The development at a NJCAA school is just as good as a junior varsity program at an NAIA school

  1. LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Physically, many players are not ready to compete at four-year schools. Players who attend a JUCO are similar age which means you & your team-mates are closer to each other’s physical development. This makes a difference. There is massive difference between freshman & seniors who play on the same team in terms of time invested in talent development, as well as physical, mental, & emotional maturity.

NOTE: Colleges have different/separate financial-aid-package standards for junior college transfers than they do for incoming freshmen.

  1. A GREAT STEPPING-STONE: Two years at JUCO can help you get recruited to a higher level than you could have coming straight out of high school.  It will sharpen your skills, improve game performance, you’ll make gains lifting weights & massively improve your fitness level. You have the time to become a much better athlete! In turn, you can get noticed by bigger, better schools and coaches at the NCAA level. They will know you can handle balancing football training with your academics.

TIP: Look out for schools that offer articulation agreements – these provide specific policies that make it easier to transfer and enable you to keep your credit hours. TIP: Have a solid relationship with your junior college academic adviser, they can be your biggest ally when transferring to a 4-year school.

  1. DIFFERENT ELIGIBILITY STANDARDS: JUCO’s do not have the same eligibility standards as the NCAA or NAIA BUT, you do still need to maintain certain grades to be eligible to continue competing at the JUCO level.

NOTE: Most student-athletes find that most JUCO’s they want to attend are close to home which can be an advantage for players and their families.

  1. STILL COME OUT WITH A DEGREE: Two years at a JUCO will give you an associate’s degree whether you decide to go onto a 4-year school or not you’ll finish with a 2-year college degree!
  2. 10. UTILIZE THE NETWORK: Some JUCO coaches may have good networks with 4-year schools. You should talk and get to know your JUCO coach and take advantage of his connections and experience in helping place players in a 4-year school.
    1. 11. MAKES FINANCIAL SENSE: Financially, JUCO’s are a very good option because they offer lower tuition and some can even offer scholarships. Some states offer free or greatly reduced cost to attend their school. D1 JUCOs can award full scholarships.

    NOTE: The NJCAA does not require schools to offer fully funded scholarships to players. This means, the amount & the number of JUCO athletic scholarships can vary greatly for school to school.

    1. QUALITY PROGRAMS: Surprising to some, JUCO’s can have bigger crowds at games, even when compared to some NCAA or NAIA universities.
    2. 13. NO YEAR OFF: Going to JUCO is a better option than taking a year off because it is much harder to get recruited to a 4-year school after taking 1 year off from competing. Taking a year off will put you at a disadvantage. Going to JUCO will only give you an advantage.

    REMEMBER: There are still no guarantees of playing time and JUCO’s are still VERY competitive programs!

    Here’s a list of some NFL players who made it playing at JUCO:

    • Warren Moon – Quarterback
    • Frank Gifford – QB/RB/WR/DB
    • Jim Taylor – Fullback
    • Larry Allen – Offensive Tackle
    • O.J. Simpson – Running Back
    • Walter Jones – Offensive Tackle
    • Roger Staubach – Quarterback
    • Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback … to name just a few!


    Here you can access the most up-to-date college football openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

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