USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. In less than a month, winter break will be upon us and, before you know it, you’ll be back in your shorts and tank-top getting ready for summer! So, as we near the halfway point of the 2017-2018 school year, now would be a good time for you high school athletes to focus some energy on the college recruiting process. Because if you take care of business this winter, you will be thanking yourself this summer!
Accompanied with advice from some of the best college coaches in the country, here are three easy steps, deadlines included, you can follow to become a recruit before 2018 arrives.
Make a list: Complete by Dec. 1
You’ve got to have a really good understanding of who you are, in the moment. You need to understand your skill-level before you start investing too much in this process. Focus your energy and efforts communicating with the schools that realistically match up with your talent-level.
-Chris Ducar, North Carolina women’s soccer
You have to take a long-term perspective on this. Take the opportunity that is going to best align with your version of the American dream. Pick a school that will give you a balanced collegiate experience academically, athletically and socially. If you stay true to that idea, you’re going to be in the right situation.
-Tim Murphy, Harvard football
Take the next two weeks to research and find the schools that would make the most sense for you academically, athletically and socially. As you do your research, make a list of 15 schools that you have interest in, both as a student and as an athlete. In other words, get focused! But, here’s the deal; the schools on your list NEED to be a good fit with your abilities, both academically and athletically. If you’re not a Div. I-type athlete, don’t put North Carolina at the top of your list. Remember, the goal here is to become a recruit before 2018, and you can only achieve that by making sure the schools on your list match your skill-sets!
Additionally, don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to just 15 schools. Use that number as a minimum or your starting point. Practically speaking, the larger your list is, the better your chances are of finding the perfect school. Just make sure you have real interest in the programs that you are adding to your list.
Introduce yourself: Complete by Dec. 8
Any athlete that is interested in K-State should send us a quick email letting us know that you are interested in our program. Tell us who you are, who you play for and include a quick highlight link to your skills. You have about 2-3 minutes of our time to make an impression. Focus on what you really want us to know about you in that introduction.
-Suzie Fritz, Kansas State volleyball
I absolutely love when a player reaches out to us and lets us know he wants to be a part of our program. We want the kids that want us. We call it the “want-to” factor. We love when a recruit gets their information to us because it shows they’ve put some thought into what they want. That gets us excited and it’s going to get our attention.
Jeremiah Robbins, Lewis-Clark State baseball
Now that you have a list of schools you’re interested in, it’s time for YOU to introduce yourself to those programs. Here’s the deal: you aren’t a recruit if college coaches don’t know who you are. College recruiting is a two-way street and it’s on you to make the introduction to the coach, especially if that school isn’t recruiting you. That process is much easier than you think. Simply put together your player resume, get the email addresses of each coach on your target list and send an email to those coaches expressing interest in their program. In your resume you should include: personal info, graduation date, relevant academic/athletic stats, a current coach as a reference and a brief highlight video for that college coach to view. Keep in mind, you aren’t looking for a scholarship by emailing these coaches. You’re looking to start a conversation, that’s it.
Get a coach to help: Complete by Dec. 15
For our program specifically, I would advise a young man to have his high school coach or AAU coach reach out to our staff, on his behalf. If that recruit truly has the ability to play at this level, it is going to take a personal conversation with his coach for us to even consider taking the next step.
-Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M men’s basketball
Have a great relationship with your high school coach. Your high school coach will be a great resource for you throughout this process.
-Jeff Scott, Clemson football
The last step you need to complete, to become a recruit before 2018, is to get your coach involved in the process. Here’s the deal; college coaches are going to listen to what your coach has to say. Bottom line, if your coach is willing to speak up, this process will be much easier for you. Not to mention it will speed things up, exponentially. So, once you’ve sent initial emails to each program, let your coach know who you contacted and ask if he/she would be willing to follow-up with an email or phone call. Most college coaches will put a good amount of stock into the thoughts and opinions of your coach, and rightfully so. Your current coach knows you the best, in fact. He/she really can have a tremendous impact on where you end up. So, use your coach as a valuable resource during this process.
If you aren’t getting the attention you want or feel you deserve from college coaches, do something about it. Take the initiative and run your own recruiting process. Now, more than ever, you have the resources to control your own destiny. Make it happen, don’t make excuses!