10 Best Football Colleges in North Carolina in 2023

Football colleges in North Carolina combine academics and sporting activities, creating a fine balance between sporting and intellectual learning.

With so many higher education options currently available to student-athletes, making a decision can be difficult. Our ranking of the top football Colleges in North Carolina can be one of the resources you utilize to make your decision.

However, after carefully reviewing the educational options each offered, we compiled a list of the top 10 football colleges in North Carolina. To arrive at this ranking, we consider several factors that are all based on scientific measures.

The institution’s overall greatness, as determined by our Best Colleges ranking, and its athletic competitiveness are two factors. Therefore, for a school to rank highly, it must offer a top-notch education and a great athletic team.

For Further Reading, check: 10 Best Football Colleges in South Carolina

Does North Carolina Have Football Colleges?

North Carolina can boast many football colleges scattered all over the State. Some of them are listed below:

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Davidson College
  • Duke University
  • East Carolina University
  • North Carolina State University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Appalachian State University
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • Livingstone College
  • Wake Forest University

How Many College Football Teams are in North Carolina?

North Carolina has a surprising number of football teams. In the State of Illinois, there are 388 football teams at the moment.

These football teams play at several colleges throughout the State under various names and logos.

Does North Carolina Have Ivy League Schools?

Duke University is the only Ivy League institution in North Carolina that awards degrees. This Ivy League university offers its pupils a top-notch curriculum.

You would also find these helpful: 10 Best Football Colleges in Ohio

What are the Best Football Colleges in North Carolina? 

Listed below are the 10 best football Colleges in North Carolina with some basic information you need to know about them:

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s football team, the North Carolina Tar Heels, competes in American football. The Tar Heels compete in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (ACC).

Throughout its history, North Carolina has participated in 35 bowl games and has claimed three Southern Conference and five Atlantic Coast Conference championships. 38 times, 30 Tar Heel athletes have received first-team All-American recognition.

The contemporary use of the forward pass, which Carolina introduced to football in 1895 as the first collegiate team to do so, is one of Carolina’s most significant contributions to the sport.

However, the school’s dominant men’s basketball team has long eclipsed the program. The Carolina football program has experienced sporadic success. It has produced a number of players who have gone on to play in the National Football League, while not being a consistent football powerhouse.

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2. Duke University

In the American football game, Duke University is represented by the Duke Blue Devils football team. The Blue Devils participate in both the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (ACC). 

The program has produced 53 All-Americans, 10 ACC Players of the Year, three Pro Football Hall of Famers, and has won 17 conference championships (7 ACC championships and 10 Southern Conference crowns). Mike Elko leads the club, and Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, serves as their home field.

However, under the leadership of David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils experienced a revival after battling for the majority of the time from the mid-1960s (2008-2021). On November 30, 2013, Duke defeated their bitter rival North Carolina to capture the Coastal division championship for the first time.

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3. Davidson College

The intercollegiate American football team for Davidson College, situated in the U.S. state of North Carolina, is known as the “Davidson Wildcats.” 

Consequently, the club plays in the Pioneer Football League and is a part of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). 

In 1896, Davidson had its first football team. The team’s home games are held in Davidson, North Carolina’s 4,741-seat Richardson Stadium. Scott Abell is the Wildcats’ head coach.

In the late 1880s, Davidson had a club football squad that played football. The teams gathered before each game to clarify the rules for that specific match because the rules for the game of football were still being standardized. 

Also, dark sweaters or canvas jackets with “DC” scrawled on the front served as the club’s inaugural outfits.

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4. East Carolina University

East Carolina University’s football team, the East Carolina Pirates, competes in collegiate football (variously “East Carolina” or “ECU”). 

The squad competes in the American Athletic Conference, a part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) (NCAA). The team’s head coach is Mike Houston.

Additionally, the Pirates have triumphed in nine bowl games and seven conference championships. Over its history, the Pirates have had 20 All-Americans. The jerseys of four players have been retired. Ten current Pirates are among the many who have participated in the NFL.

In 1932, the team competed in its maiden campaign. From 1949 to 1962, the team played home games at College Stadium on the main campus. Since 1963, they have played all of their home games at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, except the Miami football game in 1999. 

Also, South of East Carolina University’s main campus, close to South Charles Boulevard and 14th Street intersection, is where you’ll find the stadium.

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5. North Carolina State University

The American football team known as the NC State Wolfpack plays for North Carolina State University. The Wolfpack participates in both the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the NCAA (ACC). 

However, the Wolfpack belonged to the Southern Conference before transferring to the ACC in 1953. The Wolfpack, an original ACC member, has participated in 31 bowl games, and won 17, including eight of their last 11. The team has also won seven conference championships. Dave Doeren is NC State’s head coach.

Carter-Finley Stadium has hosted Wolfpack home games since 1966. NC State reinstated the custom of having a live mascot on the field on September 16, 2010. 

Also, on the day of the Cincinnati game in Raleigh, a wolf-like Tamaskan dog named “Tuffy” appeared on the sidelines, and Tuffy hasn’t missed a Wolfpack football game in Carter-Finley Stadium since.

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6. North Carolina Central University

The North Carolina Central Eagles football program is a collegiate football team that competes on behalf of North Carolina Central University in intercollegiate competitions for men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field, volleyball, softball, and bowling. 

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) Eagles compete at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level.

Also, men’s and women’s golf will compete in the Northeast Conference starting in the 2022–23 academic year.

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7. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s football team is known as the Charlotte 49ers. The Football Feasibility Committee unanimously recommended that UNC Charlotte launch a football program, and the Board of Trustees formally decided to do so on November 13, 2008. 

It was made possible by initiatives taken by the Student Government, specifically the first step of organizing a transparent student vote on football that disclosed potential tuition fee increases as a result of football, which was started in 2006 by the then-student body president Benjamin Comstock and student body vice president Jordan Van Dyne.

Also, the Student Senate approved the online survey, which was carried out in coordination with the university’s IT department. The vote amply demonstrated student desire in a football team, despite the prospect of tuition increases. The 2013 NCAA Division I FCS football season saw the program’s debut.

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8. Appalachian State University

The intercollegiate American football team at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, is known as the Mountaineers. Since 2014, the Mountaineers have participated in the Sun Belt Conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Consequently, Kidd Brewer Stadium, named for former head coach Kidd Brewer, is where Appalachian plays its home games. Kidd Brewer’s 1937 team went undefeated and scoreless during the regular season, outscoring opponents 206-0.

The Appalachian State football team has won approximately 648 games, won three NCAA Championships, and made approximately 35 appearances in bowl games or the Division I FCS playoffs. 

Also, the Mountaineers have won 22 conference championships and, in terms of winning percentage, have one of the finest home-field advantages in the country.

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9. Gardner-Webb University

The intercollegiate American football team at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina is known as the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs. 

The team represents the Big South Conference in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). In 1970, Gardner-Webb fielded its first football squad. 

Also, the 9,000-seat Ernest W. Spangler Stadium in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, is where the team plays its home games. The Lamb is the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ head coach.

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10. Wake Forest University

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team competes in both the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as Wake Forest University’s representative in the sport of American football (ACC). 

Dave Clawson is the head coach of Wake Forest, which plays its home football games at Wake Forest’s Truist Field.

Wake Forest had football problems for most of the second decade of the 20th century. 

In terms of undergraduate enrollment, the institution is the sixth-smallest school in FBS (behind only Rice, Tulsa, and the three FBS United States service academies). Additionally, it is the smallest college participating in a Power Five league. 

However, the Deacons have been largely competitive since the turn of the century, appearing in 10 bowl games in the first two decades.

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Also read, 10 Best Football Colleges in Illinois

What are the Best Junior Colleges in North Carolina for Football?

Football teams from junior colleges compete at a very high level, no doubt about it! Athletes can compete against college-level athletes for two additional years when they compete at junior colleges, which can help them prepare for the demands of four-year university football.

Here are some of the best junior colleges in North Carolina for football:

  • Louisburg College
  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Cape Fear Community College
  • Central Carolina Community College

Also Read: 10 Best Football Colleges in California

What Division (d1) Football Colleges are in North Carolina?

Colleges designated as “D1” schools by the NCAA participate in Division I athletics. Division One is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics a college team can compete in. 

The struggles of Division I teams are featured in the vast majority of college sporting events shown on television. 

In addition to basketball and football, the NCAA covers a wide range of less well-known sports like fencing, lacrosse, and rifle. Numerous Division I institutions are located in North Carolina. They include:

  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • Wake Forest University
  • Duke University

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What are the Division 2 (d2) Football Colleges in North Carolina?  

The National Collegiate Athletic Association oversees Category 2, an intermediate division of football (NCAA). 

Even though Division 2 football players compete in a less intense athletic environment than NCAA Division 1 football players, they are nonetheless incredibly talented! Compared to the well-funded Division 1 level and Division 3, which do not grant athletic scholarships, Division 2 football clubs have distinct restrictions on the quantity and type of scholarships they can offer.

They include:

  • UNC – Pembroke 
  • Belmont Abbey College 
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University 
  • Mars Hill University

Also Read: 10 Best Football Colleges in the UK

What are the Division 3 (d3) Football Colleges in North Carolina?

Smaller, more personal campuses, a focus on academics, and the capacity to give student-athletes a highly well-rounded collegiate experience are all characteristics of NCAA Division 3 universities. Football teams in NCAA Division 3 are still quite competitive, but athletes can design a more conventional collegiate experience.

They Include:

  • Greensboro College
  • Methodist University
  • Peace College
  • Salem College

How to Join Football Clubs in North Carolina

North Carolina Football Club has announced two open audition periods for 2022. The club will have the chance to assess talent for NCFC U-23 of League Two and North Carolina FC of the USL Championship at both tryouts. 

The tryout process will also help players by giving them the best opportunity to perform in front of club coaches in the hopes of being offered a trial or a contract with the team.

However, any player who is 18 years old or older is eligible to try out. The technical team of North Carolina FC will assess the players. Each session’s registration cost has been lowered to $110. Both trial sessions, expected to span two days each, will most likely be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

Click Here To Register

For Further reading, click: 10 Best Football Colleges in Georgia


Football Colleges in North Carolina is great as it helps shape the youth athletically.

Hope this article will give you insight into the College to attend and also join their football team if you are interested in football.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there JUCO football in North Carolina?

Yes there are

What state has the best JUCO football?

Arizona State

What GPA do you need for JUCO football?

 a 2.00 GPA or higher.

Can a JUCO be D1?

It is certainly possible to go from JUCO to D1.

Read More: 10 Best Football Colleges in Florida | All You Need to Know


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