In short, each year, around 853 players (0.00075 percent) are drafted from a population of almost 1.1 million high school athletes. The other 1.25 million players who don't get drafted must choose between staying in school and playing football or leaving town and trying to make it as a professional player.
The number of people who play college football has increased over the years, and so has its economic impact. A record-breaking 2015 season saw more than $1 billion in revenue, with most of that coming from television contracts and bonuses for winning games.
Players can expect to be paid anywhere from less than $100,000 to well over $1 million if they're selected in the first round of the NFL draft. That's because the top players in college football are in such high demand that they can easily command seven-figure deals. In fact, according to Forbes, there were already more than $150 million in contract guarantees signed by NFL players after the first day of free agency this week.
The total amount of money invested in the sport is even higher. According to ESPN, as much as $200 million has been spent on equipment and services that help colleges recruit and prepare players.
Only one in every 16,000 high school players goes on to a professional sports career. The majority of professional athletes never play college football or basketball.
The highest percentage of high school graduates who go on to play major college football is likely the National Football League. About 1 in 20 players comes out of high school each year; however, only about 1 in 150 who try out make the team.
In the NBA, about 1 in 50 tries out for an organization; however, only about 1 in 500 makes the roster out of camp.
There are several factors that can lead young people to try out for professional teams including money, fame, and opportunity. Some see it as a way to get attention from colleges. Others just want to have some fun playing ball. Either way, the chances of success are very low.
In both the NFL and NBA, money is usually not the reason people give for trying out. In fact, most who try out cannot afford to pay the fees required to join either league.
Fame is another common reason why people try out for professional teams. They hope to be noticed by colleges or employers. Only a small number actually make it.
There are 1,093,234 high school football players in the United States, with 6.5 percent (or 71,060) going on to play in college. The decrease from college to pro is even more dramatic: just 1.2 percent of collegiate players are drafted into the NFL. That's only about 150 players per year.
The odds are against you. Factor in all the other people trying out for teams, and the chances of making it as a professional athlete are incredibly slim.
The NFL Draft's Evolution However, with over 1 million high school players and only roughly 300 NFL vacancies each year, the odds of a player making it from high school to the top levels of the sport are enormous.
In fact, according to data provided by the NFL, there are currently more than 600 people who have played in at least one game in an official NFL football game. Of those, only 42 have ever thrown a touchdown pass. There are also only 17 active head coaches among all 32 teams.
Thus, it is no surprise that most professional football players come from some type of college program. In fact, according to data provided by the NFL, nearly 90% of all players end up playing for a team other than the one they were selected by during the draft.
This is because players are required to sign contracts with the teams that select them during the draft. If they don't sign with one of these teams within 10 days after being drafted, then they have the right to join any other team in the league as a free agent.
In addition to signing contracts, players can also be assigned to one of the eight NFL teams as a practice squad member. These are the teams that carry players on their rosters but aren't permitted to play them in games.
Do you want some hard numbers? Even if you do everything correctly and obtain a coveted full-ride scholarship to college, just 1.7 percent of collegiate soccer players go on to play professionally in the United States. (And only 0.08 percent of high school players make it to the pros.)
If you're making it work anyway shows that you have something special about you.
Overall, just more than 7% of high school athletes (approximately 1 in 13) go on to play varsity sports in college, while less than 2% (1 in 57) go on to play at NCAA Division I colleges.
The numbers are higher for boys who play football. According to the National High School Athletic Association (NHSA), approximately 17% of high school football players will go on to play college football. That's about one in six players.
And the number is even higher for black boys. According to a study published by the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, almost 20% of black male high school football players will go on to play college football.
There are several factors that may account for the lower rate of college participation among girls' teams. For example, research has shown that many young women do not have the physical ability to compete at the collegiate level. There also seems to be a preference among parents and students to let boys play football, which may influence whether or not a player chooses to continue with sports as they get older.
In conclusion, the overall rate of college participation among high school athletes is low. However, it is higher for boys who play football and for black boys.
Every year, around 250 players are drafted by NFL teams. For example, there are 129 Division I football teams, and each school is permitted 85 scholarships, thus the maximum number of scholarship athletes is 10,965; for convenience of calculation, I'll add roughly 2,000 walk-ons to get to 12,900 DI athletes. This means that about 1 in 5 DI football players gets drafted.
In addition to the 10,965 student athletes at the top Division I schools, another 3,500 or so players from smaller schools who were not given athletic scholarships will also be looking for a career in the NFL. Although they may not have been able to earn a full ride, these players still receive expenses paid trips to all or most of their games, which includes more than 100 per year.
The next highest level of college football is Division II, which has about 1,200 programs across the country. Only about 1 in 20 players from Division II schools gets drafted by an NFL team. Finally, there are approximately 300 players from Division III colleges who get drafted every year. Again, only one in 20 players from Division III schools makes it into the NFL.
In conclusion, there are around 12,900 college football players in DI schools who could potentially get drafted. Out of those 12,900 players, only about 170 will actually get drafted. This tells us that less than 1 in 5 DI football players get drafted into the NFL.