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 identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
If you had the opportunity to ask some of the best college coaches in the country anything about college recruiting, what would you ask them? Would you ask for advice? What about recruiting would you want to learn more of? What about recruiting would you want to know that would give you some insight into what coaches are really looking for in an athlete?
Well, on behalf of all you recruits out there that won’t or don’t get the opportunity to ask those burning questions, we went ahead and asked for you. Let’s face it, college coaches do know a little bit about the recruiting process! Here is what some of the best coaches in the land had to say.
Q: What age or grade level should a student-athlete get serious about college recruiting and their future?
A: College recruiting seems to start earlier and earlier each year. That can be stressful for everyone, because it is a big decision to make. I would tell young student-athletes to watch as much of their sport as possible. Have a good idea of what it really takes to play at all levels. Take care of your grades every year and expect the very best from yourself. The passion a student-athlete has for the sport they play, coupled with their classroom efforts, will dictate how serious of a recruit they will be.
- Theresa Romagnolo, Notre Dame Head Women’s Soccer Coach
Q: What is the best thing a potential recruit could do to prepare for their college recruiting experience?
A: Every student-athlete should assess what is important to their own situation. Every one of them is different. That means every student-athlete’s recruiting experience will be different. Don’t get caught up thinking and acting in a way that is not representative of what you truly want. The college athletes that go on to have the most success on and off the court are the ones that account for their own happiness. Ask the tough questions of yourself and never be scared of the answers. This is not your parent’s experience, your friend’s experience, or your coach’s experience; it’s your experience!
- Russ Rose, Penn State Head Volleyball Coach
Q: Not including physical talent, what is the most important factor you consider before offering a scholarship at The University of Arizona?
A: Show me a student-athlete that treats their parents well. Show me a student-athlete that respects authority and knows how to handle social situations. We want young adults that would rather engage in a conversation than bury their face in a cell phone. At The University of Arizona, we are so blessed to have amazingly talented players. But make no mistake about it, we will never compromise character for talent. Team should always come before self. In all my years of coaching, I have never met an athlete that is bigger than the game they play and certainly, no student more important than the institution they represent.
- Mike Candrea, Arizona Head Softball Coach
Q: What would you tell a recruit if he was interested in your program and you had not yet identified him as a potential fit for your program?
A: Without a doubt, that recruit needs to find a way to get in front of our coaching staff. Whether it be an email with a highlight video, attending a camp, or any other way one of our coaches can identify you; make it happen. Like many NCAA Div. I programs, we are an “eyes-on” staff. We have to see you for you to make an impression on us and we aren’t going to be making any offers to a young man that we cannot verify with our own eyes! Take it one step at a time and make an effort to be seen before you expect something out of the recruiting process. And for all of you student-athletes out there; college coaches want kids that want to be a part of their program. If you want to be a part of what we are doing, tell us! If you can cut it both academically and on the field, we will have a lot of success in striving for the same goals.
- Brad Hill, Kansas State Head Baseball Coach
Q: What are absolute “no-no’s” for any potential recruit?
A: One of the first things we look for is grades. If they don’t meet the NCAA standards, it is very difficult to justify recruiting them. Trouble with the law, or alcohol and drug use also can be hard to overcome. Beyond that, they have to show their competitiveness, toughness, and love for the game of football. If they don’t have that in high school, they will struggle in college.
- Chris Klieman, North Dakota State Head Football Coach
Q: What advice do you have for parents experiencing the recruiting process with their son or daughter?
A: Nobody knows their child like a parent. I think it is very important for parents to help their son or daughter with the college selection process. Help your child to consider what will make him/her the happiest and most successful in the long-term. Don’t just look at the recruiting process as an athletic decision. Where can your kid get the most meaningful degree? Where will he/she be happiest in terms of atmosphere and campus setup? I strongly encourage parents to help their student-athlete make a decision that he/she will be proud of for the rest of their life. Getting a degree and having a positive college experience lasts a lifetime!
- Steve Prohm, Iowa State Head Basketball Coach