The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
If you’re the biggest, strongest, fastest, best player in your district, then your college recruiting process is going to be simple. You can sit back and wait for the scholarship offers to roll in the door. Unfortunately, that rule only applies to the top 2 percent of high school athletes. That’s right, the Top 2 percent. Let’s put that in perspective. If there are 100 upperclassmen in your district, then 2 of them don’t have to put forth much effort to find a scholarship. By my math, that leaves the other 98 athletes fighting with thousands of other athletes across the country for the remaining college scholarship opportunities.
Given those numbers you really need a competitive advantage to find the right one for you. You need something that separates you from the other athletes in your sport, something that will get you noticed by college coaches. When a college coach is deciding between you and several other athletes, there are a few things that will give you a “leg up” on the competition. Here are my top 3 ways you can create an advantage over your competition.
Focus on academics
If you don’t think academics matter in college athletics, think again. Tom Billeter, the basketball coach at Augustana University may have said it best when he told us, “GPA is a great indicator of work ethic and effort. It usually translates to the court.”
When a college coach is trying to decide between two athletes of similar abilities he or she will go with the better student every time.
Ask your coach for an endorsement
An endorsement from your current coach can be the difference between a college coach being interested or moving on to the next recruit. Like it or not, your current coach is the most credible source a college coach has with respect to your athletic abilities and character.
At Playced, we talk to college coaches nearly every day and it is clear that your current coach’s opinion of you as a player and a student is critical. Mark Henninger, the football Coach of Marian University probably said it best when he told us “Bottom line, the alpha and the omega of the list of people we trust regarding a recruit is the high school coach or high school coaches.”
Be willing to do whatever it takes
You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get a coach’s attention. Send an email, connect on twitter, introduce yourself at a camp, or pick up the phone and make a call. I realize that calling a college coach sounds intimidating, but it might be the only way you get his or her attention. Let’s face it, you’re probably going to get voicemail anyway so leaving a short, polite message should be pretty easy. That said, you better be prepared just in case they answer.