When Can You Leave College For the NFL?

Many football fans wonder when players can leave college for the NFL. The answer is that it depends on a few factors, including the player’s age and the level of competition they are playing at.

When Can You Leave College For the NFL?


In order to be eligible for the NFL Draft, players must be out of high school for at least three years. This means that they must have graduated or otherwise completed their high school eligibility before they can declare for the draft. Players who have not been out of high school for at least three years are not eligible to be drafted and will not appear on draft lists.

Early Entry into the NFL

The National Football League (NFL) draft is an annual event in which the NFL selects eligible college football players to fill its rosters. The draft is typically held in April, and each team is given a certain number of picks (or opportunities to choose a player) in each round.

Players who have completed their college eligibility are eligible for the draft, as are those who have been out of school for three years or less. Players who have been out of school for more than three years are not eligible.

Under the current rules, players who declare for the draft early (before they have completed their college eligibility) are said to be “entering the draft early.” There are two ways for a player to enter the draft early: by declaring for the draft, or by attending an NFL “regional combine.”

Players who declare for the draft must notify the NFL within 30 days of the start of the NFL’s annual scouting combine. Players who attend the combine but do not declare for the draft are automatically entered into the following year’s draft.

Leaving College Early for the NFL


There are a few pros to leaving college early for the NFL. Firstly, it allows you to start your professional career earlier. Secondly, it can be a great way to make more money. In general, first-round draft picks make significantly more money than players who are drafted in later rounds. Finally, leaving college early gives you more time to prepare for the NFL Combine and other important pre-draft events.


Leaving college early to pursue an NFL career is a risky proposition. For every player who makes it to the NFL and goes on to have a successful career, there are many more who never make it to the NFL or who have short-lived careers.

Players who leave college early for the NFL are giving up the opportunity to further their education and complete their degree. They are also forgoing the opportunity to play in some of college football’s biggest games and compete for a national championship. And, if they are not drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, they are sacrificing the guaranteed money that comes with being a first-round pick.

In addition, players who leave school early for the NFL are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning the playbook and adjusting to the speed of the game. These players also may not be physically mature enough to compete against players who have had an extra year or two of development.

When is the Right Time to Leave College for the NFL?


Although there are a few exceptions, most college football players must be three years removed from high school before they are eligible for the NFL draft. This means that they must spend at least three years playing college football.

There are pros and cons to leaving college early for the NFL. Some of the pros include:

-You will have a jump start on your professional career.
-You will be able to start earning a professional salary sooner.
-You will get experience against better competition.

Some of the cons of leaving college early for the NFL include:
-You will miss out on completing your education.
-You may not be physically or emotionally ready for the NFL.
-You could get injured and never play a down in the NFL.

Only you can decide if leaving college early for the NFL is the right decision for you. Be sure to weigh all of the pros and cons carefully before making your decision.


Despite the fact that some players have had great success going from college to the NFL, there are also some notable busts. Not every player is ready for the NFL, both physically and mentally. The transition from college to the NFL can be a tough one, and not every player is able to make that adjustment. Additionally, leaving college early can also put a player at a disadvantage when it comes to having long-term success in the NFL. In recent years, more and more players have been choosing to stay in school for their full four years in order to give themselves a better chance at having a successful NFL career.


In short, you can eligible for the NFL Draft if you are at least three years out of high school. That means if you attend a redshirt year of college football, you can declare for the draft following your fourth year of school. Conversely, if you forego your redshirt year and play four years of college football, you must wait until after your fifth year of school to declare for the NFL Draft.

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