Everything You Need To Know About Recruiting In ‘EA Sports College Football 25’

As we get ever-closer to the July 19 release date for EA Sports College Football 25, we continue to get more and more information about the highly anticipated game. While we got an early look at the game back in May, with a chance to play the game for a few hours and hear a lot about Dynasty mode, Road to Glory, and more, we didn’t get an actual opportunity to see the full mechanics of things outside of gameplay.

Dynasty mode is everything for longtime fans of the game, and on Tuesday, EA Sports released a deep dive video looking into how everything will work, from the coaching carousel to recruiting and the transfer portal. They also provided a 43-page(!) document detailing everything about how the mode will work, and here we will take you through the key elements of the thing that makes Dynasty so fun: the recruiting process and transfer portal.

To start, the good folks at EA listed their four core goals for the recruiting and transfer process that guided their decision-making when it came to building out those areas of Dynasty.

  • Humanize recruits by giving them unique needs and motivations that the player has to discover by interacting with the recruit
  • Differentiate regions of the country by player caliber, quality, and type to authentically capture high school talent based on historical real-world data
  • Represent the different resources available to schools ensuring the top schools can blanket the country, while smaller schools will need to be more targeted with their approach
  • Make the transfer portal feel authentically unpredictable
  • My School Grades

    Everything starts with your school’s pitch grades for each recruit or portal player, where you’ll have a grade from D- to A+. Those grades are broken into 14 categories, and will cumulatively determine your program’s Team Prestige rating.

    Playing Time: How quickly can they get on the field? Each recruit/portal player’s playing time grade will be different as it calculates your current depth chart versus their OVR or projected OVR.
    Playing Style: This is built out more than years past, where each player archetype has a stat that links directly to the Playing Style grade. The example they give is a Field General quarterback’s grade will be determined by passing yards.
    Championship Contender: How likely you are to win a title, based on top 25 rankings and Bud Elliott’s Blue Chip Ratio.
    Program Tradition: Your program’s history and success with titles, wins, and awards.
    Campus Lifestyle: This is one of a few grades that you will not be able to impact or change.
    Stadium Atmosphere: Where your school ranks on the game’s Toughest Places to Play ranking, which is based on your historical performance at home.
    Pro Potential: How often are you developing and sending players to the pros?
    Brand Exposure: The NIL stand-in for this year, looking at how often you play national primetime games, your name-brand recognition, and NIL opportunities going to your school affords.
    Academic Prestige: Another grade you cannot impact or change.
    Conference Prestige: Strength of your conference.
    Coach Prestige: Your entire coaching staff matters for this grade in the new game, with the head coach carrying the most weight but coordinators factoring as well.
    Coach Stability: How long has a staff been in place and the likelihood they’ll still be there for four more years.
    Athletic Facilities: Quality of your facilities (not clear if you can upgrade this one or not).
    Proximity To Home: How close your school is to the recruit’s pipeline. Another one you can’t change.

    Some grades can change dynamically through the season (Championship Contender, Playing Style, etc.) while others only update at the end of the year. Players will continue to care about these grades while on the roster, as they’ll be determining factors in whether guys look to enter the transfer portal each offseason. You can track your grades in the My School page in the Recruiting Hub, and get a detailed breakdown of why you are graded out in a certain way and see what you need to do to improve it, while also showing you any players on your roster that are at risk for transferring because of that grade — so, you can see if someone who came to your school for playing time isn’t getting enough snaps and decide whether to bump them up the depth chart or let them walk.


    Each recruit will care about the 14 grades differently and will have three “ideal pitch motivations” they care the most about, with their star rating helping determine some of that. A 5-star will care more about championship contender, brand exposure, and pro potential, for example, while a 2-star will be more likely to care about academics, coach stability, and proximity to home. However, you still could run into a 5-star with proximity to home at the top of his list, and no matter who you are, you could get locked out for that reason.

    Your job in recruiting will be to figure out their pitch motivations and pitch them on your school in those areas. Some players will have Dealbreakers for one of their pitch motivations, and if you don’t meet their criteria in that specific area, they will straight up not talk to you. The Dealbreaker also stays with that player for ever, so if Playing Time is their Dealbreaker and they lose their starting spot as a junior, they’re hitting the portal.

    Pipeline Changes

    This year there are 50 recruiting pipelines in the game, but it’s not as simple as being one for each state. The states that produce the most recruits are split into regions, while other areas are combined. For example, Florida is broken up into North, Central, and South Florida pipeline regions, while Metro Atlanta, East Texas, and Southern California are all unique pipelines as well. Conversely, New York and New Jersey are combined into on pipeline.

    They also went beyond just randomly putting recruits into different areas, and worked to identify traits that you tend to see out of each region and put more prospects with those traits into those pipeline areas. For example, Southern California will produce more top QB talent, East Texas will produce big, physical receivers, while South Florida will have more speedy, smaller receivers. While not confirmed, I hope this also means places like Iowa and Wisconsin will produce more big, corn-fed offensive linemen.

    The EA team also looked at the last decade of recruiting data to create a tiered ranking system for each school’s pipelines, with there being five levels for each pipeline. That means a smaller school that recruits heavily locally will have a pipeline in that area, but it won’t be as strong as the bigger school nearby. For example, LSU dominates the Gulf Coast and stretches into East Texas, so their pipeline will be stronger in those areas than, say, Tulane which operates in the same areas but doesn’t wield nearly as much power. That pipeline ranking will determine players initial interest in your school, and you’ll be incentivized to stick to recruiting your pipeline — as will the computer schools, meaning you’ll often be competing with the same schools for talent, much like real life. The example they gave is a team like Oregon regularly battling Washington and USC for players in Southern California and Arizona.

    Staged Recruiting

    Staged recruiting is back in CFB 25, and you’ll go through three phases: Discovery, Pitch, and Close. Each recruit will be in different stages at different times, with some starting by being willing to talk to any team, while others could have a defined top 10, top 8, or even top 5 that they will talk to. You’ll also be dealing with the two signing days like in real life, and there’s plenty of incentive to close the deal by Early Signing Day, as once that’s done, the Transfer Portal opens and you’ll have to balance high school recruiting with the portal.

    Stage 1: Discovery

    The Discovery phase is all about trying to identify which of the 3,500 recruits the game creates each year you’ll have a legitimate shot at landing as quickly as possible.

    Searching The Prospect List

    The Prospect List will default to a Recommended filter, using your position needs, pipelines, star rating, and a recruit’s interest in your school to set up the list. You also can filter the list yourself by Position, Player Type (Archetype), State, Minimum Star Rating, Height, Weight, Handedness (QB Only), and Interest in Your School. I will say being able to sort right and left handed QBs is huge, because I can’t stand playing with a lefty as I like rolling out too much and want to roll out to my right naturally. There was nothing worse than working hard to recruit a new top QB and starting your first game only to learn that kid was a lefty.

    From the Prospect List you can see bio information on recruits and whether they have a Dealbreaker, their interest in your school, if they fill a team need, what recruiting stage they are in, and how many offers they have. You can then add them to your recruiting board, which once again is capped out at 35 players. To see your team needs in any screen in the Recruiting Hub, you can hit R3/RS to pull up a breakdown of your positional needs, which will also be determined by your scheme — for example, a pass heavy scheme will require you to have 10 WRs while a Pro Style will only require 6.

    EA Sports

    Recruiting Hours

    The number of recruiting hours you have to use each week will be determined by your Team Prestige ranking. Teams with higher prestige have more recruiting hours, while lower-level teams have fewer (just like real life). That means building up a smaller program will take more time and also require you to be really smart about who you’re targeting and investing your time into. For example, 5-star program will get 1,000 preseason recruiting hours, while a 1-star team will get 350 hours. You’ll also get more hours in the preseason and offseason, when there’s not game prep, than during the season, making it imperative to maximize those portions of the year. Each prospect also has a max number of hours you can spend on them, with the standard being 50 but if you have the Always Be ‘Crootin ability as a coach, you’ll be able to spend 70 on a recruit. Your recruiting hours also become your Transfer Portal hours once that opens after Early Signing Day, meaning you’ll have to make some decisions at that point whether to keep chasing high school recruits you’ve spent the year going after or pivoting off some of those kids to go after portal guys.


    The scouting process has been expanded considerably this year, as you’ll see 10 attributes for each prospect that represent the top 10 ratings for their archetype. To learn those attributes, you’ll have to scout the player and each attribute has four levels of scouting: Unscouted, Partially Scouted, Mostly Scouted, and Fully Scouted. Unscouted attributes will have ???, Partially Scouted attributes will have a bar from 0-99 and a gold zone over 25 percent that indicates the range that attribute could be in, Mostly Scouted narrows that bar to 10 percent giving a much better idea of where they’re at, while Fully Scouted gives you a firm number. Every time you scout a player you’ll get different information, and each attribute will reveal itself at different rates. You’ll also learn that player’s Mental and Physical abilities as you go through the scouting process.

    The Gem/Bust system is also back, as you can find diamonds in the rough as you scout, or you may find out that the highly rated prospect isn’t actually that good. As a small school, scouting will be vital to your success and ability to quickly improve your program, as finding underrated recruits will give you a chance to make up the talent gap quicker. The level of variance on gems and busts will be higher for low-level recruits (like in real life), creating more opportunity to find some sneaky talent. There will be 5-star busts and 4-star gems, but those players are better known and more likely to end up in the expected zones.

    Finding The Pitch

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    Once you’ve done your initial scout and decided to make a move to really recruit a guy, you will begin trying to figure out what’s important to them and learn what their three ideal motivations are so you can craft your pitch once you get into their top 5. To do so, there are five actions you can take each week in recruiting with a player. Each of the actions has a recruiting hour cost and a benefit that goes along with it.

    Offer Scholarship: Scholarships show the prospect you are very interested in them. As a result, you will gain a small weekly influence bonus with the prospect after offering them a scholarship. Additionally, you will not be able to bring them on campus for an official visit or receive a commitment from a prospect until you’ve offered them a scholarship.
    Search Social Media: Spend some time scrolling through the player’s social media to learn a little bit more about them. This will also give you a very small amount of influence when they see you liked their story. Just be careful not to like an image from three years ago.
    DM the Player: Message the player directly on social media to start a conversation and learn more information about them. DMs will give you a small amount of influence as you start to build that relationship.
    Contact Friends and Family: Make a few phone calls to the player’s family and close friends to learn a lot more about what the prospect values. This action will also gain a significant amount of influence with the prospect when word gets back to them that you called and when Grandma starts raving about you and your program at Thanksgiving dinner.
    Send the House: From the recruiting coordinator to every other coach on your staff, send every available resource you have after a prospect to gain as much influence with them as possible.

    As you learn information, you’ll uncover which motivations they care about (a green check) and which they don’t (a red X).

    Stage 2: Pitch

    Once you’ve reached a recruit’s Top 5, you’ll be in the pitch stage. How much time you spent gathering information in the Discovery stage will determine how confident you can be going into this point. The more you know, the more confident you can be in making your pitch, because pitching the wrong thing (i.e., a motivation they don’t care about) will knock you down their list. You can do a Soft Sell or a Hard Sell on a prospect. The Soft Sell gives you a smaller amount of influence if you choose the correct pitch but with less risk of hurting your standing with the recruit for pitching the wrong thing. A Hard Sell offers the biggest upside for the correct pitch, but if you miss the mark, you’ll take a tumble down their board.

    There are 20 pitches you can make that are different combinations of the 14 grades. For example, there is Sunday Bound, which sells a recruit on championship contender, conference prestige, and pro potential. How successful your pitch choice is will be determined by how much those motivations matter to the recruit and what your school’s grades are in those areas. If your school doesn’t align with a recruit’s ideal pitch, you can try and sway them and change their motivations to something your school is better at. If that’s successful, it’ll create a second ideal pitch for that player that may better align with your school by pushing for a pitch that’s close but takes out a weakness of your school.

    The example EA provided is if the ideal pitch for a recruit is Hometown Hero (Campus Lifestyle, Proximity to Home, Program Tradition), you could try and sway them to the College Experience pitch (Academic Prestige, Campus Lifestyle, Stadium Atmosphere) if you don’t have the Tradition or Proximity to Home elements in your favor.

    Stage 3: Close

    The final stage in recruiting is the visit, which you can schedule once you’re in the top 5 and have offered them a scholarship. You will only be able to host four recruits in a week (and, as always, on a home game or bye week), so you’ll have to be smart about when you schedule guys. Complementary and Competitive visits are also back, meaning you’ll want to bring a quarterback and receiver on the same week to get a boost, but avoid bringing all your QBs the same week as you’ll lose points.

    Who you play will also matter, as you get Gameday Stakes which will determine your influence bonus for that week if you win, or how detrimental a loss would be. A big game against a rival or highly ranked opponent brings a big time bonus opportunity and lower downside, while bringing a kid to a game against a low-level opponent will bring minimal bonuses and the chance to lose a lot of points with the recruit if you lose.

    Once you’ve scheduled a recruit for a visit (which counts for 40 hours of recruiting, but doesn’t count towards their max), you will determine which activities they will do. There are 14 activities, corresponding to a pitch grade, and you’ll want to choose activities that show off something your school is great at that the recruit also cares about to maximize that visit. If you do well on a visit, you could get a verbal commitment. However, that’s not the end of the journey, as you’ll have to stay on top of that recruit up until signing day to get that official signed commitment letter or risk a decommitment.

    Signing Day

    Early Signing Day comes to the game this year, and recruits that have verbally committed (and stayed committed) will sign once Early Signing Day arrives at the start of Bowl Season. That means they’re locked in and you can shift attention to the portal (which opens right after ESD). Those that haven’t committed will remain part of the recruiting process through Signing Day, which takes place seven weeks after the National Championship — and is also when transfers will sign. Also, no longer will a player go from being actively recruited to just not committing anywhere. Some low-level guys that weren’t getting recruited at all will become walk-ons, but a guy being recruited will not just fade off into the ether.

    The Transfer Portal

    EA Sports

    The biggest addition to the game is the Portal. Dealbreakers and motivations will stay with players once they’re in school, and as your My School grades change, you could end up losing a player to the portal. That may be Playing Time if you bring in guys that will challenge him for his spot, or it could be hirings and firings to your coaching staff that change your Coach Prestige rating or Play Style that could push a guy out. You also can lose high OVR guys to the NFL, as their draft round projection will show next to them when they tell you they’re leaving.

    Once a player says they’re leaving, you can choose to try and convince them to stay. You will have a limited number of persuasion attempts, and you’ll be able to see the likelihood of convincing a player to stick around. It’ll be harder to convince higher OVR players to stay, but your coach archetype build and coaching skills can give you boosts in this area.

    You also can encourage a player to transfer if you need that roster spot. You can’t push a new freshman signee into the portal, but you can encourage a player already on the roster to transfer out if you need to dip under the 85-man roster limit.

    The portal will open alongside offseason recruiting and will last four weeks. Some players will commit quickly, as players will have schools in mind (just like real life) and they’ll all sign on Signing Day at the end along with the remaining high school recruits. Recruiting the portal takes the same hours as recruiting high school guys, meaning you’ll have to decide how you want to allocate those recruiting hour resources in the offseason. Five-star guys in the portal will only consider five schools, and if you’re not in their top 5, you won’t be able to talk with them. Lower tiered portal recruits may be more open to hearing offers from all over.

    The recruiting process will be the same as with high school recruits, but things will move much faster. You’ll have recruiting actions, pitch your school, and bring them on campus, but it all happens in a very short window of four weeks.