Recruiting FAQ by DTheaterFan

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/08/02 | Printable Version

Title - NCAA Football 2003
Platform - PlayStation 2TM
Version - 1.1
Author - "DTheaterFan" Greg Necastro
E-mail -
Updated - August 8st, 2002

Table of Contents

i.   Legalese
ii. Acknowledgements
1.   Introduction
2.   Changes from 2002
3.   Getting Started
4.   Who's Leaving?
5.   Time to Recruit
6.   Training
7.   Cut Day
8.   Depth Chart
9.   Start Season
10.  Redshirts
11.  Schedule Changes
12.  Go Get 'Em!

i. The legal stuff

This guide is authorized to appear on these websites:

If anyone finds it on any other site please inform me ASAP.

E-Mail Address:

(c) Copyright 2002 Greg Necastro. 

This document is protected by US Copyright Law and the Berne Copyright
Convention of 1976. It is for private and personal use only -- it cannot be
reprinted in part or in whole, or reproduced in any way or in any form
(written or otherwise). It is a free document that cannot be used in any
sort of commercial transaction, including selling it or giving it away as a
gift.  This Guide cannot be referenced, altered, or used by anybody
(including web masters, publishers, and magazine staff) without my express
written permission. 

ii.  Acknowledgements

I had a lot of fun creating my recruiting guide for NCAA Football 2002.  It
seemed to help people and I received a lot of positive response from
players.  I am hoping that this guide will prove to be a good reference for
guiding players through the recruiting process.  

I want to give thanks to the on-line community of gamefaqs.  This is the
place I spend my time answering and asking questions about video games.  I
want to say special thanks to two NCAA vets who are still trolling the
boards:  XainRaider and DZombieSlayer (fka OregonStateFan31).  Good guys
who's only crime is the colleges they support, Syracuse and Oregon State.
Hopefully, one day they will see the way of enlightenment is on the blue
turf of Boise State.

1. Introduction

The game within the game.  Probably the most exciting feature of playing
college football is recruiting.  Playing an NFL game, you spend your
off-season trying to keep your star players and make shrewd trades and
drafts to improve your team.  In college, however, it's a totally different
world.  Players graduate or decide to leave early and there is nothing you
can do to stop them.  Even if you get a freshman who becomes an All-American
his first year, you will only have him for four seasons at most.  With good
planning and a little luck, your goal is to add players to your team that
not only fill needs, but improve the overall strength of your team.

2.  Changes from 2002

If you played NCAA Football 2002, then the recruiting process looks very
similar.  The screens are a little fancier.  The recruiting points system
has been revamped.  But, basically it's the same process.  Except for
redshirting.  In 2002, redshirting was part of the off-season schedule.  In
2003, it is part of the pre-season schedule.  My first impression is that I
like the new format better.  The reason is that I can go back and redshirt
players up until I start playing games.  In the old game, you had one chance
to redshirt players and once you did, you couldn't go back.  With the new
format, you have the chance to repeatedly review your depth chart to make
sure you haven't shorted yourself in any positions as well as identify any
possible overloaded positions where you can redshirt any additional player.

3. Getting Started

Well, you've finished your season as a head coach.  Are you pleased with
your results?  Do you have an idea of what are your team's strengths and
weaknesses?  It's time to start recruiting new players to turn those
weaknesses into strengths.

After the last week of bowl games, you will be prompted to enter off-season.
But, don't jump into the off-season just yet. Most importantly, if you want
to leave your current school, you have to do it before the off-season
begins.  Also, if you want to look at final standings and stats, you need to
do this before you begin the off-season.  Whenever you are ready to advance,
simply go to the play week option and choose weekly schedule.  The begin
off-season prompt will reappear.

If you have come to the end of your contract, you have to decide if you wish
to remain with your school.  If you have met your coaching objectives, the
school will offer you a new contract (probably with new goals).  This
happens after the last bowl game is played and you have to make your
decision right then.  You can't go any further with the game until you do.
So, if you are accepting the new contract, or will continue with your
current one, you can enter the off-season anytime you wish.  

However, if you did not meet expectations, the school will fire you and you
will have to find a new school to coach.  Also, you may leave your school
before your contract expires (for a small hit to your prestige).  To leave
your current position, select the coach's contract under the coaching
options menu from the main dynasty menu.  At the contract screen, select the
option to resign your position and verify your selection.  When selecting
your new school (either by choice or force) you will be able to coach at any
school who's prestige is equal to or less than your coach's prestige.  So,
if you have a bad run with Rutgers, don't expect Oklahoma to want you taking
over their program.  Once you have selected your new school, you can proceed
to the off-season.

The off-season menu has a couple of differences from the dynasty menu.  The
first option is the off-season schedule.  Select this one and you will see a
menu of seven steps that are involved in the off-season, each is addressed,
in order, in the following sections.  This is the screen you use to progress
through the off-season (like the play week during the season).  Recruiting
Recap can be selected after the recruiting is completed to see what players
were drafted for each team and see who had the best recruiting class.  The
rest of the menu should look familiar.  To complete the off-season, the
Off-Season Schedule is the option you want to choose.  Select the schedule
and go to the off-season list.

The off-season schedule looks like this:

	1) Players Leaving
	2) Recruiting
	3) Training Results
	4) Cut Players
	5) Set Depth Chart
	6) Start New Season

Each option will be addressed in order.

4. Who's Leaving?

Cross your fingers and hope for the best.  When you select players leaving,
it's a matter of random luck.  Hopefully, you will not lose to many star
players.  You will be presented a list of players who have used up all of
their eligibility or have elected not to return next season and enter the
NFL draft.

Of course, all of your seniors are gone.  They have used up their
eligibility and can no longer play on your team.  Also, some of your top
underclassman may decide to leave and take their chances in the pros.  You
have no control over who decides to leave early.  You can't beg them to
stay.  Your only option is to find a suitable recruit to take his place.

At this point, there is an option to export your draft class.  What this
does is it creates a file of all the players who are leaving their college
teams.  This file can then be imported into Madden 2003 (it is not backwards
compatible to Madden 2002) and the players will make up the draft class in
the dynasty mode for Madden.  If you don't have Madden 2003, you don't need
to export your class.  If you have Madden and want to use your college
players in the draft, this is the only chance you have to create the file.
Once you move on to recruiting, all the leaving players are removed from the

Being an old guy, I still rely on pen and paper.  One of the things I like
to do is to list each player that is leaving.  When you see your list of
leaving players, you can press the select button to see their final college
career stats.  The important thing is if you have a player that never played
a game, you aren't losing anything other than a body.  For example, say you
lose a SR halfback who never played.  But, you have two others returning,
including last year's starter.  Well, because of roster minimums (discussed
in the next section) you will have to recruit a new halfback (or accept a
walk on).  But, since you haven't lost an active player, you may decide not
to concentrate on that position if you cannot find a suitable recruit.  This
will be further explained in the recruiting section.  For now, just keep in
mind which positions you are losing key players and which are just unused
roster spots.

Once you've reviewed all the information you wanted on your leaving players,
it's time to advance to the next step.  On the off-season schedule screen,
select Recruiting to move to the next step.  You will be prompted that
moving ahead will complete the previous step.  Select OK to move on.

Note: Going to the next item is how you complete the previous one.  You will
always get the warning prompt.  As long as you go step by step, there is
nothing to worry about.  

5. Time to Recruit.

Enter recruiting and you are presented with a map of the US in front of you.
You will notice that your school's home state is highlighted.  From this
screen, you have a few options.  The most important screen (actually, an
overlay) for recruiting can be accessed here (and in several other places
mentioned later) by pressing and holding the circle button.  When you let go
of the button, the screen overlay goes away.  This brings up a roster
overview.  You will see a listing of each position: QB, HB, FB, WR, TE, T,
G, C, DE, DT, MLB, OLB, CB, FS, SS, K, and P.  The next four columns will
show you how many players you have at each position, broken down by year (FR
- Freshman, SO - Sophomore, JR - Junior, SR - Senior).  In the next column
is the total number of players you have for that position.  The year of the
player relates to their eligibility.  Your seniors have one more year.  Your
freshmen are all redshirts from the previous season.  Obviously, if you are
recruiting in the off-season, you don't have any true freshmen on the
roster.  The new recruits will be freshman.  Remember that the grade
classification is strictly related to athletic eligibility.  A redshirt
sophomore is a player who has used one year of his eligibility.  (In
academia, he could be a freshman, sophomore, or junior, but that doesn't
apply to the game and would make things really confusing.) 

Note at the bottom of the screen are the total number of players by grade.
The thing to remember is the total number of players you have.  Each
recruiting year, you may offer 25 scholarships.  But, you can only have 55
players on your roster.  So, if you have 44 players returning from last
season and recruit 20 new players, you will have a total of 64 players and
will have to eventually cut 9 players to make the roster limit.  Will get
into that later.

If you want to save a little time, you can create a chart to resemble the
roster overlay.  The advantage would be that you could add some notes to
help yourself.  Such as, highlighting players that have never played and
could be replaced if a suitable recruit is available.

To the right of the total column are the lists of committed players,
targeted players, and needed players.  Committed players are the number of
recruits who are coming to your school.  Offered players are ones that you
are actively recruiting and have made a scholarship offer to.  These players
have not committed to a school yet, so you have to decide if you want to
continue to pursue them.  The needed players column, on the far right,
indicates when you have to get players for a position.  NCAA does not
provide a list of the actual minimums you need.  After go through
recruiting, my best guess to the minimums are:

4 - WR, CB
3 - QB, HB, T, G, DT, DE, MLB, OLB
2 - FB, TE, C, FS, SS
1 - K, P

If you do not fill the position with a recruit, you will receive a walk-on
player after the recruiting is completed.  Walk-ons are generally low
skilled players and you will not be able to cut them if they are the only
player for that position.  Stop for a moment and consider my previous
comments.  Say you need one HB.  However, your starter is returning and you
have a fairly solid backup.  As you proceed through recruiting, you don't
find a decent HB that is interested in your school.  But, you are finding
better players at other positions where you don't have a need.  You could
pass on trying to get a weak HB and pursue a better player at another
position.  What will happen is you will get the walk-on at HB and you will
not be able to cut him.  But, unless both of your HBs get hurt, he will
likely not play.  Then, next season, you may find some better players who
are interested in your school.

At the bottom right of the screen is the number of available scholarships.
You start with 25.  Every time you select a player to recruit, this number
decreases by one.  Therefore, you cannot try to recruit more players than
you have scholarships for.  If a player commits to another school or you
withdraw your offer, the available scholarship total goes up by one.  If the
player commits, that scholarship is unavailable for the rest of recruiting.
Once a player commits, you cannot withdraw your offer.

Releasing the circle button gets you back to the main recruiting screen.

The next thing to do is press the x button to call up the report menu.
There are several reports you can look at to help you in recruiting.  The
information they contain is identical, but presented in a variety of useful
ways.  Here's a listing of the reports:

State recruits - These are the prospects from your team's home state.
Generally, colleges recruit a majority of players from their home state.
Very prestigious schools, like Miami, Notre Dame, and Nebraska are very
successful recruiting anywhere in the country.  But, if you have a lower
prestige school, you will have more success at finding willing recruits in
your home state.

In NCAA 2003, it will cost you more recruiting points (explained later) to
recruit players that do not live in the same state as your school.  The
further they are away, the more they cost.

Current targets - These are the players you are currently pursing by
visiting them.  At first, this list is empty until you select at least one
player to recruit.  As the weeks progress, you will be able to see which
players have committed to your school, committed to another school, or are
still undecided.

Top 100 - These are the blue chippers for the year.  The players here are 5
star caliber and are the most highly sought players.  If you look towards
the top of the screen next to the player's name, you will see a blue diamond

All Prospects - Anyone and everyone who you can recruit.

Interested - These are players that have placed your school in their top 3
choices.  These aren't the only players who may have a high interest in
coming to your school, just the ones that have you in the top 3.  This list
will change as the weeks go by.  In this menu, all players will be in red.
Red indicates a player that has you in their top 3 choices.  This is true in
every report.

All of these reports have the same layout and present the same information.
How you want to pursue your recruiting is up to you.  I'll explain how to
read the information.  How you choose to work through the rercuiting process
is up to you.

So, let's select the top 100 report (you can select any of the reports.  The
information will appear the same way).  Here's the list of the 100 high
school studs that are ready to become the big man on someone's campus.  When
you access this report, the first player is highlighted.  At the top of the
screen you will see the players name and hometown on the left.  At first,
the name will appear with a blue background.  There are several background
colors used.

Blue - A player who has not committed to any school and can be recruited.
Green - A player you are actively recruiting.
Red - A player who has placed your school in his top 3 choices, but you are
not recruiting.
Team colors - Once committed, the colors will reflect the school colors of
the team the player has chosen.

These colors are also used in the listing of players at the bottom of the
screen.  The only change is that once a player commits, he will be displayed
in gray.

A plain white helmet is in the middle.  Once a player commits, this helmet
will change to the team he has selected and the word "committed" will appear
over the helmet.

On the top right, is the players position and rank.  For example, if you are
looking at the top 100, the first player may be listed as 1-QB.  This means
that this is the number one quarterback available.  The rank is position
specific.  So, you may see that the number 85 player in the top 100 is
listed as the number one strong saftey.  You interpret this to mean that he
is the 85th best player available, but, also, the best strong safety
available.  Below the position is the player's caliber displayed in stars.
Five stars represents a blue chip prospect.  Also, a blue chip icon will
appear below the caliber ranking.  To the right is the players height and
weight.  If you press select on a highlighted player, you will be brought to
a more detailed report on that specific player.  

The top of the screen will look the same as the previous one.

Below that, there is some new information.  Tendency describes the type of
player.  For example, a quarterback may be shown as a QB-Pocket Passer or
QB-Scrambler.  This overall description will help you decide if a player is
right for your system.  If you are recruiting offensive lineman and you
primarily pass the ball, you will be better suited looking for lineman who
are listed as pass blockers instead of run blockers.

In the middle of the screen you will see the stats on the player:  Height,
weight, 40 time, vertical leap, hands (how well a person can catch and hold
on to the ball), bench press, and squat.  The stats shown will be related to
the type of player you are looking at.  You will see strength numbers for
lineman.  Backs will show their leaping ability and hands (how good they can
catch).  Each of these statistics is designed to help you evaluate a player.

As you get to the bottom third of the screen, you will see the interest
level and top 3 schools for the player.  Interest level is how interested he
is in coming to your school.  Levels of interest are Very High, High,
Average, Low, Very Low.  The higher the interest, the better chance you have
of recruiting a player.  The top 3 schools are the players top choices.  If
your school is listed, than it will be easier to recruit this guy to your
team (but, by no means a guarantee).  Also, just because a player does not
list you in his top 3, it doesn't mean you can't pursue him.  If he receives
no interest from his top 3 schools, he will be more open to other schools.
In the game, a player cannot go to a school who does not offer him a

Under this is some blank space.  As you pursue a player, information from
the coaches will start to appear.  This will tell you how the recruiting is
progressing.  You will find things about if the player is more or less
skilled than his numbers, is he interested in your school, does he have room
to grow, etc.

After looking over the information of a player, you can use the up and down
arrow to scroll to the next player in the list.  Or, you can press triangle
to get back to the report list.  For the example, press select to go back to
the report.

Let's say that the player we just looked at was interested in your school
and you want to try and recruit him.  Pressing x brings up the recruiting
submenu.  At the top is a bar that gives a graphical representation of the
player's interest in your school.  The fuller the bar is (it fills from left
to right) the better chance you have of signing him.

For each player, you have four options of recruiting.  You can do one or all
four of them.  Each option cost a certain amount of points.  The more points
you spend, the better you chances are.  The options are:

Visit by head coach 
Visit by assistant coach 
Call by head coach 
Call by assistant coach 

The points it cost to recruit depend on the location of the player.  Players
in state cost the least: V-HC (8), V-AC (4), C-HC (2), C-AC (1).  Players
out of state cost more, depending on how far away they are.  It appears that
the costs are either double or triple the instate charges and depend on how
far away they are.

Below the recruiting options, there is the balance of how many recruiting
points you have remaining.  Points are given based on your performance in
the past year.  The better you and your team does, the more points you get.
As you select recruiting options for a player, your available points are
deducted by that amount.  You start with the same total every week, so use
them all.  Highlight your choice and press x to select (pressing x again
will deselect).  Underneath the options are two choices.  Continue, which
accepts your choices and goes back to the report menu.  Withdraw offer,
which removes this player from your current target list and returns one
scholarship to the available total.  When you are sure you want to recruit a
player, make your choices and select continue.  You will be taken back to
the report menu and you will notice that the player is now listed in green.
Green indicates players you are pursing.

How much recruiting you can do for each player depends on where the players
are.  If you concentrate on instate players, you will be able to use more
recruiting options for less points.  For example, if you did all four option
on a player instate, it will cost you 16 points.  To do a head coach visit
for one player across the country, it will cost you 24 points.  

And, that is the mechanics of recruiting a player.  You would continue to do
this until you have used up all of your recruiting points or have no more
available scholarships to offer.  At any of the report menus, you can press
(and hold) the circle button to see the roster overlay.  As you recruit
players, you will see numbers fill up the active column (2nd from the right)
and your number of available scholarships reduced accordingly.

After you have made all your choices for the week, press the triangle button
to get back to the main recruiting screen (the one with the US map on it).
Press the start button to begin recruiting.  You will be given the option to
advance one week, advance through all the recruiting, or cancel.  You will
want to select advance one week.  The game will then take a couple of
minutes (surprisingly fast actually) to process all the information for the

At the start of the new recruiting week, you will see a screen listing any
players who have committed to you.  You've got these guys and you can now
use those recruiting points on other players.

Once you exit the signed screen, press the circle button to get a quick
overview of your recruiting status.  You can now see how many players have
committed indicated by a number in the commit column.  Also, you can see if
players have signed with other schools.  Here's how.  Let's say you have
recruited 25 players.  So, your available scholarships are 0.  At the start
of week 2, you have 4 players commit to your school, but you also have 3
available scholarships.  Those available scholarships are for players you
recruited who signed with another school.  Any player you recruited who has
not committed to any school will still be listed under the offered column
and holds one of the available scholarships.  So, in this example you have 4
scholarships committed to players, 18 scholarships for players you are still
pursing, and 3 scholarships that have not been offered.

At this point, you repeat the recruiting process.  You can look at the
current target report to see the status of your recruits.  Pressing select
will show you the observations the coaches have made from the previous week.
Players who are now listed in gray have committed.  In place of the top
three schools, you will see the school they committed to.

There are five weeks of recruiting to complete.  As you view the reports
each week, you will find changes.  More players may start to take an
interest in your school as time goes on and their chances of making their
"dream" school get fainter.  Remember, your weekly recruit points stays the
same even as the number of recruits goes down (due to signings).  So, make
sure you max out the recruiting in the later weeks.  

After the fifth week of recruiting is signing day.  You will be shown the
class evaluation screen that lists the schools in order of their recruiting
class.  It will show the number of players signed by caliber (5 - 1 stars)
and the total numbers.  This report is a way to see how successful you were
in recruiting top players compared to the rest of the NCAA.  Of course, it
does not necessarily reflect on the future performance of that team.

6. Training

Go back to the off-season schedule and select training.  This will close the
recruiting process, but you were done anyway.  Training is a time where your
players can improve their skills.  This is all handled by the game.
Afterwards, you can review a report to see in what areas a player has
improved.  As you review each players training results, a star will appear
on the screen to give you an idea of how much improvement was made.  The
ratings are minimal, moderate, and breakthrough.  The brighter the star, the
more they improved.  There will also be one player per team with the tag
"Most improved".  Which, as it implies, means this player made the most
improvement during training.

7. Cut Day

After training is complete, it's time to trim the fat.  Select cut players
from the off-season schedule list to begin the process.  You will then be
brought to a listing of your team players.  You can sort by position using
L1 and R1 to determine who will go.  You will see the attributes of the
player to help you make your decision.  On the right side of the screen, you
will see the number of players, by grade, you have at the selected position.
When you first enter the roster screen, this box will show the total number
of players you have.  Since you can only have 55, whatever the number of
players you have over will have to be cut.

Here's one piece of advice for cutting.  You are playing a game.  Loyalty
means nothing.  Cutting players have no effect on your prestige or the
schools.  Also, this is why I make notes of players who haven't played.  I
will cut them first because I'm not losing anything.  So, keep the most
useful 55 players you have. 
Once you've made all the cuts, press triangle to get back to the schedule.
If you have too many players, you will receive a message that more players
need to be cut.  The computer will offer to do it for you, but I would pass
on that option.  No idea how the game determines who to cut.  

8. Depth Chart

Now you are at the final step.  It's time to decide who is playing.  Again
using the same screens you've seen countless times, you can select your
starters and backups for each position.  Use the L1 and R1 buttons to scroll
through the positions.  Pressing up and down on the d-pad will highlight the
players in the depth chart.  Pressing x will select that player and bring
you to the lower list.  Here you can pick which player to place in that slot
and press x to place him in that slot.

One thing I've noticed is that the computer tends to rank players by their
overall rating.  Most noticeably with linebackers.  I've often found that I
have a middle linebacker not in the starting lineup because the right
outside linebacker has a better overall rating.  It's up to you if want to
leave things this way.  Just make sure you check all the positions.  The
default choices aren't always the best.

You can adjust the depth chart at any time.  So, if you want to skip this
step for now, you can go back later and make your adjustments.

9. Start Season

The off-season is done.  The last thing to do is select the start next
season button.  This will generate the new schedule and you will soon be
ready to start the new season.

10. Redshirts

Before you play or sim any games in the new season, there is a Pre-Season
option that you can select from the main dynasty menu.  Here, you can
redshirt players and change your non-conference schedule.

Now that you have your roster, you can determine whom to redshirt.
Redshirtting a player means that the player will be inactive for the year
but will not lose a year of eligibility.  So, if you have a senior
quarterback who is going to lead your team in the upcoming year, you can
redshirt the kid you just signed and be able to use him for a full four
years beginning the following season.

Unlike reality, you can redshirt any player who has not been redshirted.
Players with a (RS) next to their grade have already been redshirted once
and cannot be selected.  Players listed in gray have already been
redshirted.  Players in blue are eligible for redshirting.  Players in red
are redshirted this season.  Using the same roster screen you are used to by
now, select the player you want to redshirt and press x.  This will place a
redshirt icon next to the player's name.    When you are done, press
triangle to exit.  

After the players are redshirted, they are removed from the depth chart
automatically.  So, this is one reason why you may want to wait until now to
set your depth chart.

11. Schedule Changes

New to this year's game is the ability to adjust your non-conference
schedule.  Selecting this option from the pre-season selection brings you to
your team's schedule.  On this screen, there are two boxes.  To the left is
the schedule you cannot change.  Games you cannot change are any conference
games or any traditional rivalries, such as Notre Dame - Boston College or
Miami (OH) - Cincinnati.  To the right, is a box of the games you can
change.  This box shows every week of the season that does not have a
conference/rivalry game scheduled.  These are the games you can change.  You
can also move your open weeks around.  To change an opponent, select the
week you want to change.  This will bring you to a pop up window of all the
teams available that week.  Remember, every team has their schedules set and
will not be available if they already have a game selected.  To select no
game for that week, select "Open", which is at the top of the list.

When you are changing your schedule, there are no restrictions other than if
a game is already scheduled.  If you are coaching Prairie View A&M and you
want to schedule Florida State to play at your field, you can if you select
a week that they do not have a game.  So, you can use this to play higher
ranked opponents to increase your own prestige (when you beat them), weaker
teams to pad your stats, or for whatever reason you want to.  After you
select an opponent, the circle button will toggle the game between home and

12.  Go Get 'Em!

You can make changes to your schedule or redshirts as often as you like
until you play or simulate the first game of the season.  Once you do that,
everything is set and cannot be changed.  So, once your roster is set and
your travel plans are made, it's time to get on the field and being a new
quest for college football glory.