What is a Preferred Walk on in Football: All You Need to Know

A Preferred Walk on in football is a non-scholarship player who participates in team activities. They have the opportunity to earn a scholarship in the future based on their performance.

In college football, a Preferred Walk on is a player who joins a team without a scholarship but still has the opportunity to contribute and earn a spot on the roster. These players are often highly motivated and dedicated, willing to work hard to prove themselves and eventually earn a scholarship.

While they may not have the immediate financial benefits of a scholarship player, they have the opportunity to showcase their skills and potentially earn a scholarship based on their performance. This unique position allows players to pursue their passion for the game and compete at a high level while working towards the goal of earning a scholarship.

What is a Preferred Walk on in Football: All You Need to Know

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Understanding Preferred Walk-on In Football

For aspiring athletes, the concept of a preferred walk-on in football can hold significant weight in their pursuit of a collegiate career in the sport. Understanding the dynamics of this status, its differences from scholarship players, and weighing its benefits and drawbacks is essential for those navigating the world of college football recruitment.

Meaning Of Preferred Walk-on

A preferred walk-on in football refers to a non-scholarship player who has been invited to join a college football program by the coaching staff. Unlike traditional walk-ons, who try out for the team without any prior discussion or invitation, preferred walk-ons have been identified by the coaching staff as players they are interested in having on the team despite not offering them an athletic scholarship.

Distinction From Scholarship Players

Preferred walk-ons differ from scholarship players in that they do not receive financial aid specifically for their athletic abilities. Scholarship players, on the other hand, have been offered a formal athletic scholarship that covers some or all of their college expenses in exchange for their commitment to the program.

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Benefits And Drawbacks

  • Benefits

Preferred walk-ons have the opportunity to prove themselves to the coaching staff and potentially earn a scholarship in the future through their on-field performance and dedication. This path also allows them to secure a spot within a college football program, gaining access to top-tier coaching, facilities, and the chance to compete at a high level.

  • Drawbacks

One of the primary drawbacks for preferred walk-ons is the absence of guaranteed financial aid, placing the burden of college expenses squarely on their shoulders. Additionally, they may face stiffer competition for playing time and scholarships due to their non-scholarship status.

Becoming A Preferred Walk-on

When it comes to college football, being a Preferred Walk-On (PWO) is a position that many aspiring athletes strive for. PWOs are talented players who are not offered an athletic scholarship but are invited to join the team with the potential to earn one in the future.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process for becoming a Preferred Walk-On involves demonstrating your skills and commitment to the coaching staff. Coaches closely monitor high school games, camps, and showcases to identify potential PWO candidates. While they may not offer a guaranteed spot on the team, they will express their interest in having you join as a walk-on.

Communication With Coaches

Communication with the coaching staff is crucial when pursuing a PWO opportunity. It’s essential to be proactive and reach out to the coaches, expressing your interest in walking on to the team. Building a strong relationship with the coaching staff can increase your chances of being considered for a PWO spot.

Academic And Athletic Considerations

When considering the option to become a PWO, it’s important to evaluate both academic and athletic factors. Academically, meeting the admission requirements of the college or university is essential. It’s also crucial to demonstrate your dedication to excelling in the classroom, as academic performance plays a significant role in the PWO selection process. Athletically, showcasing your skills, work ethic, and passion for the sport will make you a more attractive PWO candidate to the coaching staff.

The Role Of Preferred Walk-ons In A Team

Preferred Walk-Ons in Football

In football, preferred walk-ons play a crucial role in a team’s dynamics. They are not offered a scholarship but still bring immense value to the team with their dedication, hard work, and talent. Their impact on the team’s performance and culture is significant, showcasing the challenges they face, the opportunities they pursue, and the success stories they embody.

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Challenges And Opportunities

Preferred walk-ons face the challenge of proving themselves among scholarship players with limited playing time. It’s an opportunity for them to demonstrate their skill and determination to earn a scholarship and contribute to the team’s success. The resilience and perseverance they exhibit in the face of these challenges are commendable.

Impact On Team Dynamics

Preferred walk-ons bring a unique dynamic to the team, often serving as motivational examples for their teammates. Their presence fosters a sense of unity and determination within the team, creating an environment where hard work and dedication are valued above all. They contribute to the team’s culture of resilience and determination.

Success Stories Of Preferred Walk-ons

Several successful football players have emerged from preferred walk-on positions, defying the odds and earning scholarships. Their stories inspire others and showcase the potential for growth and achievement, underscoring the significance of preferred walk-ons in football teams.

Navigating The Collegiate Football Journey As A Preferred Walk-on

Navigating the Collegiate Football Journey as a Preferred Walk-On

Balancing Academics And Athletics

As a preferred walk-on in collegiate football, balancing academics and athletics is crucial. Time management is key to juggling the demands of classes and practices. Utilizing study schedules and academic resources can help maintain a healthy academic-athletic equilibrium.

Physical And Mental Preparedness

Physical conditioning and mental preparedness are vital for preferred walk-ons. Regular exercise, emphasis on injury prevention, and mindset training play significant roles in ensuring players stay in top form, both physically and mentally, for the rigors of collegiate football.

Building A Support Network

Building a strong support network is essential for preferred walk-ons. Engaging with teammates, coaches, and academic advisors creates a strong foundation for success. Forming study groups, seeking mentorship, and establishing clear lines of communication can provide invaluable support.

Long-term Implications And Opportunities For Preferred Walk-ons

Options After College Football

Preferred walk-ons in football often face questions about their prospects after their college football careers come to an end. While some may have aspirations of making it to professional leagues, the reality is that only a select few go on to pursue lucrative careers as professional athletes. However, the experiences gained and skills acquired during their time as preferred walk-ons can open up a variety of doors in the long term.

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Lessons Learned And Personal Growth

Participating as a preferred walk-on can instill valuable life lessons and foster personal growth. From resilience and dedication to teamwork and time management, the journey of a preferred walk-on hones a diverse set of skills that can be applied beyond the football field. These character-building experiences often resonate with prospective employers, providing preferred walk-ons with a competitive edge in the job market.

Elevating The Walk-on Experience

Ensuring that the walk-on experience is as enriching as possible is essential for the development of these athletes. Providing access to resources, mentorship programs, and academic support can successfully elevate the experience for preferred walk-ons. By focusing on their holistic development, universities can empower these individuals to maximize their potential both on and off the field, setting them up for success in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions On What Is A Preferred Walk On In Football

What Is A Preferred Walk-on In Football?

A preferred walk-on in football is a player recruited by a college without an athletic scholarship. It’s an opportunity to join the team and earn a scholarship later based on performance and commitment. The athlete is typically invited to join the team and compete in practices and games, providing a chance to prove themselves and potentially earn a scholarship in the future.

How Does A Preferred Walk-on Differ From A Scholarship Player?

A preferred walk-on differs from a scholarship player in that they are not initially offered a guaranteed athletic scholarship. While scholarship players receive financial aid to cover tuition and other expenses, preferred walk-ons may have to pay their way initially.

However, they have the opportunity to earn a scholarship through dedication, hard work, and performance on the field.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Preferred Walk-on In Football?

Being a preferred walk-on in football provides the opportunity to compete at a higher level, receive coaching and training from the college’s staff, and potentially earn a scholarship in the future. Additionally, it allows players to be part of a competitive football program, gain experience, and showcase their skills to coaches and teammates.

How Can A Player Become A Preferred Walk-on In Football?

Players can become preferred walk-ons in football by expressing their interest to the college’s coaching staff, attending tryouts, and demonstrating their skills and commitment to the program. Building a strong rapport with the coaching staff, maintaining good academic standing, and showcasing a strong work ethic on and off the field can increase the likelihood of being offered a preferred walk-on opportunity.


A preferred walk-on in football offers a unique opportunity for talented players to join a college team without a scholarship. This option allows athletes to showcase their skills and potentially earn a scholarship in the future. It’s a valuable path for players determined to pursue their football dreams at the collegiate level.