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Key 2023 High School, College, and Pro Football Stats

Football by the Numbers: NFF Highlights Key Stats in 2023 About the Game

Image Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

Recently I shared the new rules for the upcoming 2023 college football season. Now I’m going to share with you some key stats on the game. (Stats courtesy of the National Football Foundation.)

From the sheer numbers, it would seem that football is alive and well, at all levels of the game, and for both men and women.

IRVING, Texas (July 25, 2023) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame today released impactful numbers on the state of football, including key stats from the high school, collegiate and NFL levels.

“As thrilling and exciting as the action is on the football field, the NFF takes great pride in promoting the educational opportunities created by our sport,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Today’s release helps quantify some of those opportunities, and we hope the stats will inspire the next generation to take full advantage of the opportunities created by our sport. As it’s often said, college is not about just the four years in school but its impact on your career for the next forty.”

As the 2023 season approaches, the NFF anticipates that more than one million students will take the field at 15,810 high schools and another 81,000 will play college football at 773 four-year institutions with another 16 colleges and universities having announced plans to add teams in the coming years.

Exceptional growth is also being experienced on several other fronts, and the Sports Business Journal has reported 474,000 girls between the ages of 6 and 17 played flag football in 2022, a 63% increase from 2019. Last season, 16 NAIA schools fielded varsity women’s flag football teams with a total of 19 teams slated for 2023. Flag football also debuted at the 2022 World Games and is in the mix as a potential Olympic sport. Sprint Football, which added the six teams to the mix in 2022, will add two more programs in 2023, bringing the total of colleges with sprint teams to 17.

(Click for a pdf of the numbers.)


120 Chapters in 47 States Representing Over 6,000 High Schools and 600,000(+) Players (est. 1957)

65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas at the Aria Resort and Casino on December 5, 2023


15,800* High Schools in the U.S. that Sponsor Football

(as of 2021-22 Season, National Federation of State High School Associations)

1.04 Million* High School Football Players in the U.S.

(as of 2021-22 Season, National Federation of State High School Associations)

7.8 Percent of High School Football Players will Play in College

2,584 High Schools in the U.S. Sponsor Girls Tackle Football

(as of 2021-22 Season, National Federation of State High School Associations)

*Note: These numbers do not include private and/or parochial high schools that do not report to the state high school association


773 Colleges & Universities Playing Football at All Levels

(FBS, FCS, Div. II, Div. III, NAIA and more)

81,000(+) College Football Players in NCAA & NAIA

89 Colleges & Universities Added Football Programs from 2008-22

16 Colleges & Universities Will Add Football Programs in 2023 and Beyond

17 Colleges & Universities Offering Sprint Football

19 Colleges & Universities Offering Women’s Flag Football as a Varsity Sport

123 Junior Colleges Offering Football

0.41 Percent of College Football Players Made NFL Opening Week Rosters in 2022


32 NFL Teams

2,016 Players on NFL Rosters

297 Rookies Made NFL Opening Week Rosters in 2022 (NFL)

259 College Football Players Were Drafted in 2023

672 College Football Players Signed as Undrafted Free Agents or Received Training Camp Invitations in 2023

3.3 Years is an Average NFL Player’s Career (Statista)


82% Graduation Success Rate of Football Bowl Subdivision Football Student-Athletes (NCAA)

70% Graduation Rate of General Student Body at Division I Institutions (NCAA)

3,113 Student-Athletes on 2022 College Football Rosters Had Already Earned Their Undergraduate Degrees

5,863 Football Student-Athletes have Returned to School to Earn Their Degrees since 2003—the most among all NCAA Division I sports (NCAA)


5.62 Million College Football Players All-Time (est. 1869)

1,074 Players and 230 Coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame All-Time

Less Than Two One-Hundredths of a Percent (.02%) of All-Time Players Have Earned Induction into the College Football Hall of Fame

22 Coaches and Players from 25 schools representing 6 different decades to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame Class on December 5, 2023


33 William V. Campbell Trophy® Recipients Recognized as College Football’s Top Scholar-Athlete (est. 1990)

906 College Football Players from 273 Schools Honored as NFF National Scholar-Athletes All-Time (est. 1959)

16,389 College Football Players All-Time Named to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society (est. 2007)

10 Years of Honoring Faculty Athletic Representatives Through NFF Faculty Salutes

81 High School Football Scholar-Athletes Recognized by NFF Team of Distinction

34 State High School Coaches Association Partnered on the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards

2 Recipients of the NFF Hatchell Cup, Presented to the Nation’s Top All Around High School Football Program


About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship, and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters in 47 states, NFF programs include the selection and induction of members of the College Football Hall of Fame; the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta; Future For Football; The William V. Campbell Trophy®; the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments; the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards & Hatchell Cup presented by the Original Bob’s Steak & Chop House; and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Hanold Associates Executive Search, Jostens, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the New York Athletic Club, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at