The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Q: What are some red-flags you pay attention to with recruits?
A: A high school athlete that has changed schools multiple times in their four years is a major red-flag. A high school athlete that has changed AAU teams multiple times in their high school career is also a major red-flag. When we see an athlete move around that much, it makes us really wonder what is going on. Is it a toughness issue? Does this athlete have a problem handling adversity? It really makes us question what the deal is. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule and an athlete that has made a change or two is not necessarily something to be concerned with. But when it becomes a yearly-pattern, that is something that makes us dig a little deeper in understanding who that recruit really is.
Social media is also something that we pay great attention to. We keep up with the guys that “Twitter” all the time and love all of that. We want to know what kind of a kid we are getting. Are they about winning and team or are they more interested in things that don’t matter? Social media has a way of revealing someone and can be very telling. If we are making a scholarship decision, we tend to lean towards the guys that aren’t so involved in that stuff.
–Billy Kennedy, basketball coach at Texas A&M University
Q: What should every parent and student-athlete know about college recruiting?
A: Every athlete, regardless of the sport, needs to understand that selecting a college will be one of the most important decisions they will ever make. It is critical for them to know that this is a process that requires attention and thought. I would tell every student-athlete to create a realistic expectation of the recruiting process. They should actively pursue the schools and programs that best suit their abilities, as well as their personality. One the major reasons we have had success at Penn State is because the majority of our recruits sell us on why we should take them, not the opposite. Success is about knowing what you want and making it happen, the same can be said about college recruiting.
Parents need to understand that this process is about their child, no one else. They should put the responsibility of making choices and creating expectations on their daughter or son. That said, parents know their child better than anyone else and they should play a complementary role in recruiting. Support your kids, give them honest feedback and help them to develop educated opinions. A supportive parent means so much in the positive development of a student-athlete.
–Russ Rose, women’s volleyball coach at Penn State University
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, softball coach at University of Arizona