The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
If you were a college coach, would you be interested in a recruit who isn’t concerned about grades? What about a recruit who doesn’t get along with his or her high school coach? What if you got an email from an athlete who clearly didn’t know anything about your program? Or consistently made inappropriate posts on social media? Would you be interested in any of these athletes? I assume your answer to all these questions is “No!”.
Right or wrong, college coaches assume that how an athlete acts in high school is an indication of how he or she might act in college and I’d guess that’s how you would feel if you were the coach. For that reason, every athlete needs to understand the things college coaches want to know about any potential recruit. Here are four areas I believe every college coach considers before deciding to recruit any high school athlete.
Social Media Behavior
What do you think is the easiest way to quickly find out a little information on a particular athlete? I’d look at their social media accounts. In fact, it is entirely possible that the first impression a recruit makes with a college coach will be on social media and they might not even know about it. I can assure you that there are thousands of recruits who have been scratched off recruiting lists based just on an initial review of their social media accounts.
Consistent profanity or negative posts are major red flags to college coaches. Additionally, if it’s apparent from a recruit’s posts that they don’t get along with their coaches or teammates, that they dread practice, or hate homework, it might be a sign for a college coach to steer away from that recruit. Every recruit needs to understand that their social media accounts are absolutely being viewed by college coaches.
If you were a college coach, your inbox would be flooded every day with emails from high school athletes looking for a scholarship. How much consideration would you give to an impersonal, poorly-worded email with five typos in it? What about an email that, within the first paragraph, the recruit was making excuses about why they don’t have the statistics they deserve, or why they haven’t been treated fairly? My guess is that you would delete those emails pretty quickly.
Every recruit needs to be mindful that how they communicate with college coaches is extremely important to how successful their recruiting journey will be. Negative comments about a coach or teammate will not be well received. Also, an impersonal email, or a conversation with a coach where the recruit seems disinterested both send a terrible message to a college coach. Every recruit needs to understand that whether they are sending an email or having a conversation with a coach, being polite, confident, and respectful will always be received better than being cocky, arrogant, and boastful.
If you were a college coach trying to decide between two recruits with similar abilities and potential, what would be the first tie-breaker for you? If you ask that question to every coach in the country my guess is that over 90% would say academics. Most parents and student-athletes don’t understand the importance of academics to college coaches. In addition to being able to brag on the team GPA or graduation rate, college coaches want good students on their roster because good students are generally over-achievers with an excellent work ethic and they often qualify for academic scholarships and in-state tuition, potentially saving the athletic department scholarship money.
High school/select coach’s opinion
As a college coach, whose opinion about a recruit would matter to you? Would you call the player’s parents? How about their classmates? Probably not! As a college coach you would be looking for an unbiased opinion of each player’s abilities and character. For that reason, you most likely would want to talk with each recruit’s high school and select coach.
If a coach is willing to vouch for the character, work ethic, and abilities of a player, as a college coach you would be much more interested in that player. An athlete’s coach sees their effort in practice every day, sees how they react to game situations, and is the best source for a college coach to gain insight on a player.
Here’s the deal
Every athlete looking to play in college needs to understand the things college coaches might consider. One of the best ways to do this is to put yourself in their shoes. What would be important to you if you were a college coach?