What Is A High Motor In Football?

A high motor in football refers to a player that gives one hundred per cent effort every snap. High motor guys never give up on a play and will bring the same level of intensity regardless of the situation.

Oftentimes players who are described as being high motor are those that fail to fit the ideal build or traits for their given position.

These undersized players often have to make up for this lack of traits with their effort. These players will continue to play hard throughout long plays, and get back up when they are knocked down.

The term high motor in football is somewhat of a joke due to its consistent usage to describe white football players. Terms such as scrappy, gritty and sneaky athletic are all terms that fit under this umbrella.

Announcers and sports journalists used these terms so frequently to describe white players in skill positions that they became a meme of sorts.

What Positions Do High Motor Players Tend To Play?

Now that you know what a high-motor player is in football you may be wondering which positions these players tend to play.

Defensive Ends

Defensive end is one position that lends itself to high-motor players. In the defensive end position, you will have to rush the passer over and over again.

These players are quite large and have to play one on one against the offensive tackles each play.

These pass-rushing snaps are incredibly tiring and tend to get less effective as the game goes.

When watching a game on tv you may notice the defensive ends pass-rushing getting slower and slower as the game progresses.

This is what makes high motor players so successful in this position. These players will continue to bring the same level of effort throughout the entire game.

This is incredibly hard to do in this position especially if the score of the game is not close.


Running backs are another position that tends to lend itself to high-motor players. Running backs are going to play an important role on a lot of snaps throughout a football game.

Additionally, when these players get the ball it is not going to be an easy down. These players have to go full tilt each time they are given a handoff.

Throughout a game, this can get tiring on the running back. A player with a high motor will be able to give the same effort to every rush.


Strong and free safeties are another position group that features high-effort players. One of the main traits of a high motor player is their ability to not give up on plays.

Safeties are the players that need to give 100% effort as opposing players make their way into the endzone. Safeties are typically the players deepest in the defensive backfield.

These players are often the ones chasing down an offensive player from behind to save a touchdown. These sorts of high-effort plays can be game-changers if the player is tackled short of the endzone.

High motor players thrive in this position as they maintain full effort chasing down offensive players even if the play looks to be a sure touchdown.

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