Recruiting Column: Big-time recruiting advice from big-time college coaches

Recruiting Column: Big-time recruiting advice from big-time college coaches

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: Big-time recruiting advice from big-time college coaches


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 This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.

(Photo: Oklahoma State Athletics)

With high school fall sports seasons quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good time to revisit some of the most meaningful quotes from some of our past coach interviews. Pay attention to what these coaches have to say. Why? Because understanding what these college coaches want and what they expect, gets you one step closer to the scholarship you’re hunting down this fall!

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State Football

On picking the right school:

“Focus on the schools that best fit with what you want and expect. You have to know what you’re getting into. For example, if you’re a wide receiver being recruited by a run-dominant program, you need to take that into consideration. Are you going to be miserable because you’re not used to playing such a limited role in an offense? Or, maybe you’re okay with it because it’s a school you have always dreamed of playing for. Whatever the situation is, know what you’re getting into. Because I promise you this: the program recruiting you is not changing for you.”

On showing respect:

“We will, and we have, passed on recruits that had the talent to play here but didn’t realize it’s so much more than that. Any young man we recruit needs to understand the importance of education and respect. When we go into the home of a recruit, we watch how he handles his mother. Is he treating her with love and respect? If he’s not, that’s a major problem. It tells us that he’s probably not showing other authority figures in his life respect, either.” 

Chris Ducar, North Carolina Women’s Soccer

On when you start getting noticed:

“If you can play at this level, it’s almost certain that someone is going to take notice of you by your freshmen or sophomore year of high school.”

On the recruiting process:

“College recruiting is not a lottery. You don’t just send an email to a coach and have them miraculously open it up and instantly offer you a scholarship. This is a process. To play for a Top 30 program, not just North Carolina, you’ve got to be the best player on the field, at all times.” 

Troy Calhoun, Air Force Football

On what you control as a recruit:

“Your academic achievements, your personal code of conduct and your work ethic are all things you control. And they’ve got nothing to do with how high you jump, how big of frame you have or what kind of quick-twitch fibers you have.”

On social media:

“I think young men and women need to understand that there’s going to be some liability they will incur when they make a mistake on social media. And, those mistakes can not only impact your recruiting experience, they can also impact the rest of your life.” 

Suzie Fritz, Kansas State Volleyball

On sending an email to a coach:

“We simply don’t have the time to spend 20 minutes on every recruit that sends us an email of interest. So realistically speaking, you have about 2-3 minutes of our time to make an impression. The more personal and genuine you can be about wanting to play for us, the better impression you will make. And if you have those “standards” that we are initially looking for, that’s really a best-case scenario. Focus on what you really want us to know about you in that introduction.”

On being a teammate and being coached:

“A student-athlete that is not willing to be coached or one that is a bad teammate is far too great of a risk to our program. I think many coaches are willing to take chances on kids, as long as they are willing to be coached, are willing to learn and can accept constructive criticism.”

(Photo: Colorado Athletics)

Mike MacIntyre, Colorado Football

On having a good foundation:

“Consistency in your daily approach to life is what creates a solid foundation. I tell our guys this all the time: Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. Show me your choices, I’ll show you your destiny.”

On the importance of a good education:

“Football is merely a temporary future. The real future is the education you’re working for. Keep those in the right order and have a passion about what you want to do when you’re done playing football.”

Jeff Scott, Clemson Football

On getting noticed:

“For a guy to get our attention, he really needs to be dominating at the high school level. It should be obvious. When we turn on that game film, my wife should be able to pick out who we are watching! If we can’t tell who we are watching after a few minutes, we’re probably watching the wrong video.

On verbal commitments:

“There’s a difference between a commitment and a reservation. I think there are a lot of recruits out there that “so-called” commit to a school only to decide they’ll take visits to other schools just to have fun. We don’t see that as a commitment, we see that as a reservation. Unfortunately, many of the younger recruits look at making an early commitment like they’re just holding a spot until something better comes along. That’s just not the way we operate at Clemson and it’s allowed us to bring in very high character student-athletes, year-over-year.”


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