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College Recruiting To-Do List
I think there are still a lot of players that think they are going to be scouted or walk on at a school like UCLA and play some sport. That’s a tough thing to do these day even if your last name is Elway and you run a 4.1 forty. Most colleges have a clear idea of whom they want to pick a few years in advance. There are just too many athletes for college coaches to see so it’s up to you to make sure they know of your interest.
Several times at Maricopa I have heard of so-called scouts that phone the school and say they are coming to a game to scout a player or two. Usually these are just guys that charge $2,500++ to do for players what they can do for themselves. They have no more connection to colleges than you or I-they just do the legwork.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Most athletes playing for colleges were not sought out by the coaches, but did the seeking themselves. Recruitment is almost always initiated by the student.
- The best way for that to happen is for you to write to the coaches of the colleges that you might be interested in attending. The emphasis here is on the “you”
- In picking colleges, consider what classes you enjoy, choice of majors; the reputation of the school, the reputation of the head coach and the school’s program; the size of the school and its location and the types of scholarships available. Thinking ahead is extremely important when planning for your collegiate future. Whether a freshman or an incoming senior it’s important to begin taking the right steps to achieve your goals. Below is a breakdown of suggested goals for your high school years.
1. Start thinking about what schools you would be interested in attending.
2. Write a letter introducing your self and expressing an interest in the football program. Include a DVD (preferable) or video of your 1st season if available. I have heard from some college coaches that they want to see highlights of that player only. Others coaches want to see the entire game film. See if you can find out ahead of time or supply both.
3. Most importantly, send the letter to at least 25 schools of interest. The more the better.
4. During the off season, stay in shape, and attend camps given by college coaches who can help you with skills and advice.
5. Stay focused on school and take course work that keeps you on track to meet your college goals. Good grades are essential.
1. Stay focused on your academics.
2. Update your introductory letter/DVD and list of schools of interest. Send those letters out.
3. Make unofficial visits to schools and attend their camps, if offered.
4. Attend summer camps at the schools you are considering.
5. Register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse (very important)
6. You may receive written correspondence by Sept. 1, or phone calls as of July 1.
1. Again, stay on course with your academics, and make certain you are meeting the criteria of your colleges of interest.
2. Update the introductory letter/DVD and continue writing to the coaches/schools that you would like to attend.
3. This is the most popular time for unofficial visits, the best time being in the fall.
4. You are allowed to verbally commit to a school anytime, but the junior season is the most typical season.
5. If you haven’t already, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse and universityathlete.com.
1. See No. 5 above.
2. Continue course work.
3. Update your introductory letter and your video, and send them out ASAP.
4. Official visits to schools.
5. Sign letter of intent in fall or late spring.
The All Important Letter
Believe it or not, a handwritten letter makes a positive impression. You might consider taking this approach for the coaches/schools that are your highest priority. Include a bio and a photo.
Be positive in describing your interest and abilities, and always be truthful. Don’t subtract a second from your forty time. It won’t make you run faster and the coaches will not be impressed by the deception.
Now for the content of the letter. First give them information about your academics including your GPA, test scores and your year of graduation.
Next list your physical attributes including your height, weight, forty time, bench press, squats etc. Then include the position/s you play, camps you’ve attended, and the awards that you’ve won. It may seem obvious, but very important to the letter is your team information, your coach’s name and phone number, your uniform number and your schedule of play.
Be sure the letter is well written, taking care to use good spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Ask someone to proofread it for you. Make sure you have the coach’s name spelled correctly. This can be checked on the school’s website or by making a phone call.
Since for many schools the video will be the first opportunity for coaches to see the players, it’s important that the athlete’s skills are showcased for both a complete game and for at least one quarter; highlight two or three outstanding plays (this should be no longer than 5 minutes); and make it personal by having the player introduce herself.
As for the quality of the video, you don’t need to spend money on a professional videographer. It’s probably a waste, but you should make the best quality tape/DVD you can. This can be achieved by taking lots of game footage.
Make an Impression
Keep in mind that when college coaches attend they are unlikely to announce their presence. The impression you make on the field is important, but the impression you make off the field is also critical to their evaluation. That means showing them good sportsmanship, competitive intensity, support of teammates, and respect for your coaches. They’re not just looking for an athlete, but someone who will represent their school in a positive light.
Also important is keeping up on correspondence with coaches. When they write letters or emails be sure to respond or they’ll assume you are not interested. Also, don’t pretend interest in a school that you have no intention of attending. The coaches need to focus on serious recruits and will appreciate your honesty.
1. Residency-do you want to go to school in
2. Other costs -living expenses, books, clothes. I have talked to coaches that help football players by making them aware of campus jobs or keeping a list of teammates to share housing.
3. Transportation to and from school. Will you live within walking distance or will you need a car? Insurance, fuel, maintenance....