Recruiting Tip: Highlights of a year-by-year recruiting checklist

The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner,

(Photo: Playced)

(Photo: Playced)

Athletes interested in playing a sport in college should approach recruiting as a four-year process. Here are the highlights of our year-by-year Recruiting Checklist:

As a freshman, create a recruiting timeline. Begin thinking about the type of college you want to attend and research those schools. Familiarize yourself with the overall recruiting process. Focus on grades. After all, we are talking about going to college.

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Develop a list of realistic colleges. Complete recruiting questionnaires on college websites. Sign up for a few showcases and/or camps to gain experience playing in front of college coaches. Send an introductory email to the coaches at colleges in which you have an interest. Step up your game in the classroom. After all, we are talking about going to college.

An athlete’s junior year is the key year in the recruiting process. Create a short highlight video. It doesn’t have to be professionally prepared, but it should be high resolution, no longer than three minutes and highlight your abilities. Upload it to YouTube and include the link in the next email you send to college coaches.

Now is the time to involve a high school or select team coach. His or her endorsement speaks volumes, while validating athletic stats and abilities. Continue to focus on grades. After all, we are talking about going to college.

Unsigned seniors need to follow up with the schools in which they are interested. If emails don’t land a response, pick up the phone. It is much better to know the answer than to wonder if a coach is interested. Retake the ACT or SAT if necessary. Higher test scores dramatically increase your number of possible college options.

Don’t be discouraged; be persistent. Don’t get senioritis! Continue to focus on grades. After all, we are talking about going to college.

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