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 Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
2015 was a great year for our recruiting partnership with USA Today High School Sports. I am very appreciative to them for the opportunity. The response and reaction to our articles, interviews and weekly recruiting tips has been fantastic. Hopefully, we’ve helped a few high school athletes along the way.
This week I looked back at the articles our readers were most interested in and it seems as though everyone wants to know the answers to 2 questions: (1) Am I really being recruited?, and (2) If not, why not? Here are the answers to those questions from our top two articles of 2015:
Am I really being recruited?
Many prospects and their parents think they are being recruited when they are not. Here are some helpful points to help you determine where you stand in the recruiting process.
You are not being recruited if
You are not being recruited if you receive information from college admission offices. Well, you are actually being recruited to become a student at those schools, but not a student-athlete.
You are not being recruited if you get invited to a camp. The primary purpose of camps is to make money for the school and the coaching staff. There may be legitimate recruits at the camps, but 99% of the attendees are not on the school’s “short list” of scholarship candidates.
You are not being recruited if a college coach “views” your profile on a recruiting website. While a quality profile with verified statistics and video can be helpful, coaches don’t spend hours on the internet looking for players. They find players from coaches and scouts they trust.
You are not being recruited if a college coach sees you play at a game or tournament. College coaches show up at tournaments and games to watch specific athletes. If they don’t know your name before they arrive, they most likely won’t know it when they leave.
You’ve been noticed, but you are not being recruited if
You’ve been noticed if you receive an email from a college coach asking you to fill out a recruiting questionnaire. However, being noticed is only the first step to earning a scholarship.
You’ve been noticed if your current coach gets an inquiry about you from a college coach. This is a clear indication that the school at least has interest in you as a player.
You’ve been noticed if you receive an email from a coach who plans to “keep up with you”, or if a coach asks for video. If either happens, you are getting closer to being a legitimate recruit, but you’re not there yet.
You’ve been noticed if you receive a personal response to an email or message you sent to a coach. Apparently, something in your email piqued their interest.
You are being recruited if
You are being recruited if college coaches are calling you, or are communicating with you on a regular basis. A phone call from a college coach is a great indication that there is real interest in you as an athlete.
You are being recruited if a college coach comes to one of your games to specifically see you play.
You are being recruited if you are asked to go on an official visit. Official visits are not given to every recruit.
If not, why not?
It’s not uncommon for an athlete with exceptional skills and stats to go unnoticed, especially by NCAA Division II, Division III or NAIA schools that have limited recruiting budgets. There are many reasons why you might not be highly recruited, but here are the five most common ones:
You believe someone else is taking care of recruiting for you
Every high school athlete needs to understand that the recruiting process is his or her responsibility. Your high school coach is an important contributor in your development as an athlete; they can vouch for your character and can give college coaches an honest evaluation of your abilities. The rest is on you.
You don’t completely understand the process
If you are struggling with the recruiting process, here are some helpful tips:
- Research how college coaches evaluate talent in your sport
- Start the process as early as your freshman year in high school
- Read the rules on communication with college coaches
- Understand the academic requirements to be college athlete and why grades are important
- Don’t be bashful about reaching out to college coaches
You aren’t really being proactive
The definition of proactive is “creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.” Being proactive in recruiting does not mean sending out a few emails to college coaches and waiting for the scholarship offers to roll in the door. If you aren’t being highly recruited yet, then do something about it.
You haven’t asked your coach to be involved
Your current coach can make a difference in your recruiting experience. He or she is the most credible source for a college coach with respect to your athletic abilities and your character. Most coaches want to help their players. Don’t be afraid to ask them.
You aren’t being realistic
Being realistic is probably the hardest and most important part of the recruiting process. If you aren’t pursuing appropriate colleges, you are wasting your time. If you don’t have any other way to determine which schools to pursue, ask your current coach for an honest evaluation and talk with your high school guidance counselor about your realistic college options.
The Bottom Line
Every high school athlete looking to play in college needs to understand where they are in the recruiting process and then develop a game plan to get where they want to be. If you are waiting for the college coaches to find you, or you think your parents “connections” will help, or you plan to walk on, then you need to re-evaluate. If you aren’t being noticed and you aren’t being proactive by reaching out to colleges, it’s time to get started.
Happy New Year! Have a wonderful and proactive 2016.