What Is Gray Shirting In Football?

If you are a fan of college football you have likely heard of the term red shirting. But many college football fans are not aware of the related football term know as gray shirting.

Gray shirting in football refers to offering a player enrollment as a full-time student and athlete starting in the second term of their freshman year.

By skipping over the first term of freshman year these players will be able to gain an extra year of eligibility. During this first semester, these players will often become part time students but will not be able to participate in teams practices or games.

If you are curious to learn about another similar term read our guide explaining black shirts in college football.

Why Do Players Gray Shirt In Football?

Grayshirting in football in football is a decision usually made by the coaching staff but can be done by the players as well. Below we will look at the main reasons why players gray shirt in football.

Full Roster

One of the main reasons that players end up gray shirting their first year of college is because of full rosters.

Say for example the coaching staff finds a high school prospect they like but the team has already hit their roster limit. In this situation, the coaching staff may advise the player to gray shirt for the season.

This will keep the player committed to the football program even though the roster is full at the start of the year. When the next year rolls around many players will have left the program leaving room for the gray shirt player to get a full-time roster spot.

Year To Bulk Up

Another reason players end up grayshirting in football is due to their size. Making the jump from high school football to college is tough. For some players, despite skill, their lack of size makes this transition very difficult.

If a player is aware he is undersized at the position he may decide to gray shirt. This will give him one more year to put on mass in order to be better suited for college football.

Since gray shirting extends your eligibility this player will still be able to play for four years of college ball.

Competition At Position

Competition at your position of choice is another factor that plays into players gray shirting in football. Say for example you are a running back and your college roster has several high quality running backs on their depth chart.

You may want to gray shirt for a season in order to extend your eligibility another year. This will allow you to play running back for the team after the talented running backs have graduated.

What Is The Difference Between Redshirting And Grayshirting?

The main difference between redshirting and grayshirting is that redshirting has you much more involved in the football team during your first year.

When grayshirting you are missing the first semester of school. This semester is when the college football season is held. When you gray shirt you are going to miss out on this portion of the year.

While redshirting you are not going to participate in the games but you will be able to practice.

Additionally, gray shirts are either part time students or not students at all during the first semester. While redshirts are full time students their first year even though they cannot play on the football team.

If you liked this guide on grey shirting read up on what a red shirt senior is in football.

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