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.
With the spring sport season in full swing, I thought it would be a good time to revisit some of the most impactful quotes from our coach interviews over the last few months. Listen to what these coaches have to say and keep educating yourself on the college recruiting process. Because understanding what coaches want and expect will get you that much closer to playing at the next level.
Dan Stratford, University of Charleston
You need to grab our attention in the first 90 seconds, if not before that. The footage is such a critical piece when you’re wanting to make that great, initial impression. We see a lot of mistakes on those videos, that I think neither the player, or the people helping them put the video together really consider. They don’t consider what that footage looks like through the eyes of a coach. They end up putting highlights on there, that aren’t really highlights.
If you’re wondering what your highlight video needs to include, here’s your answer. Far too often, recruits get this idea wrong. It’s not because you’re trying to get it wrong, it’s because you don’t know any better. The reality is that college coaches don’t have the time to watch a 2-hour video montage of your high school career. They would much prefer a brief video introduction into who you are as an athlete. Translation: get to the point, get to the good stuff and quit worrying about all the theme music and effects! College coaches are paid to properly evaluate talent, their jobs depend on it! It’s easy for them to say yes or no within a couple minutes of watching any highlight video. So, if you had a minute or two to make your best impression, what would you want a coach to see? That’s your highlight video. Send that.
Colbey Carthel, Texas A&M-Commerce
Here’s the deal: we are going to do our digging. If we’re serious enough to recruit you, you better believe we are going to find out exactly who you are. We’re going to talk to your coaches. We’re going to talk to your teachers and your classmates.
When I asked Coach Carthel whose opinion(s) he and his staff consider when recruiting a player, that’s what he had to say. How important can your coach’s opinion of you be? How important can a teacher or a teammate’s opinion be? Well, it can be an absolute difference-maker in your college recruiting experience. There aren’t many guarantees when it comes to scholarship offers and roster spots at the next level. But one guarantee you can count on is if a school recruits you, they WILL talk to the people around you and they WILL listen to what those people have to say. How you interact with the people in your life now, is typically how you will interact with the people in your life in the future. Here’s a tip: college coaches want to hear amazing reviews on you, regardless of who they talk to.
Kurt Vlasich, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Recruiting is a two-way street. As good of a job as we do finding the talent, there’s always going to be the kid out there that we don’t know we’re looking for. Maybe there’s something we’ve missed or something that player could bring to our program that could put us over the top. As much as we try to find the players, the players should try to find us, too.
As a student-athlete going through the recruiting process, you have the final say in where you end up. I get it, college coaches make the offers and determine the scholarship amount. But ultimately, you’re the one that either says “yes” or “no” to the offer. More importantly though, you’re the one that creates most of the offers coming your way. Knowing that should give you a tremendous amount of drive, and the confidence you need to make something happen. Can you be realistic with figuring out the schools that are right for you? Do you know what degree you want to pursue? Would you prefer a big state school? Maybe a small private school? My point here is this: what you want, matters. And, the sooner you can focus on what matters to you, the sooner you will see results. Define what you want. Go after what you want. Get what you want.
Mike Fox, North Carolina
The very first thing we do after we see a young man play, is request his transcripts. That happens immediately and can be the first separator in determining whether we move forward with a young man. I think there’s a direct correlation between how a young man performs in the classroom and the kind of commitment or self-discipline he has. We need young men that are prepared for college work, and most of the time, the transcripts tell the other side of the story.
Being a good athlete is much more than just your stat line. Likewise, being a good student is so much more than just getting good grades. In fact, this is what being a good student means to college coaches:
- You have effective time-management skills.
- The sport you play does not define who you are.
- You have balance in your life.
- You won’t have eligibility issues, which means you can play!
- You most likely won’t cause any “off-the-field” issues.
- You will make a positive overall impact on any college program.
I could go on-and-on with this list, but I think you get the idea. Looking at the grand scheme of things, you must understand that being a good student opens more doors than being a good athlete. I know, it’s hard to comprehend that right now, but it’s true. Respect yourself academically the same way you respect yourself athletically. That’s what being a student-athlete is all about.