The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
In today’s extremely competitive world of athletics, the college recruiting process is starting earlier and earlier. In fact, LSU Head Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri may have said it best when he told us, “We’re having to recruit guys as early as the time they’re entering high school, now. It’s something that seems to start earlier and earlier each year. As I mentioned, I’m not thrilled about that, but it’s kind of a runaway train and if you don’t jump on board, you get left behind.”
While that sounds like great advice, you might be wondering “what in the world can I/should I do as a freshman or even a sophomore?”
The biggest advantage of starting early for any recruit is if you don’t start the recruiting process until you are a junior or a senior, you’ll have to cram a lot into a short period of time. So, whatever you can accomplish early in high school will help to separate you from the competition.
Here are some thoughts on what you can do as a freshman and sophomore to get a leg up on other recruits.
- Familiarize yourself with the recruiting rules. Review the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete. Do some research online on how the college recruiting process works.
- Round up your recruiting resources. Ask your parents for their support and help. Inform your high school guidance counselor of your desire to play in college. Alert both your high school coach and summer coach of your desire to play in college.
- Research the athletic and academic requirements necessary to play at the colleges you might want to attend and set personal athletic and academic goals.
- Create a list of colleges that not only interest you, but also appear to be realistic based on your academic and athletic abilities.
- Finally, commit to doing things the right way, on the field, in the classroom and in your personal life. College coaches will assume that how you act in high school will be how you will act in college.
- Make sure you are on track with the NCAA core course requirements.
- Take the PSAT and check the entrance requirements at the colleges you have decided to pursue.
- Ask your current coach for his or her assessment of your abilities. Based on that evaluation, develop a plan to work on your weaknesses and enhance your strengths.
- Begin building an athletic resume and start accumulating clips for a highlight video.
- Update your favorites list of appropriate colleges.
- Complete the Recruiting Questionnaires on the college websites for the schools you have decided to pursue. After filling out the questionnaires, follow up with the coaches with an introductory email expressing specific interest in their program.
- In the spring semester, pick a quality summer team to play for. It doesn’t have to be the best team, but it should be a team with solid coaching, a good schedule and one where you will have a significant role.
- If you have the time, sign up for a few strategic camps and/or showcase events. Pick events where coaches from the schools you are pursuing will be in attendance and let them know ahead of time that you will be there.
As you can see, there are many things you can accomplish as a freshman or sophomore. The more you can accomplish as an underclassman, the easier the recruiting process will be for you as a junior or senior.