Recruiting Column: Three signs you have what it takes to play in college

Recruiting Column: Three signs you have what it takes to play in college

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: Three signs you have what it takes to play in college


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.

College recruiting isn’t an exact science. From scholarship availability, to open roster spots, to personal preferences, there are many variables that will have an impact on where you eventually end up. In other words, the recruiting process is one big crapshoot!

But as crazy and senseless as recruiting can be at times, there are some signs that are high-level indications of you continuing your athletic career in college. So, do you have what it takes to play at the next level? Answering “yes” to the following three questions would indicate that you absolutely have what it takes!

Are you starting on varsity?

If you’re serious about playing your sport in college, you better say “yes” to this question. Whether you’ve been starting on your high school’s varsity team for the last four years, or you’re just a starter during your senior season, this is one of the biggest indicators of an athlete moving onto the next level. Honestly, if you’re not starting at the highest level your high school has to offer, there’s a small chance that you’ll ever get the shot of playing collegiately. Starting on varsity indicates:

  • You’ve competed at the highest level, so far in your career.
  • You’re playing against the best competition possible.
  • You’re playing on a bigger stage, with brighter lights and more pressure.
  • You most likely have passion for the sport you play.
  • You’re committed to the sport you play.

Just keep in mind, college coaches are looking to fill their rosters with the best possible athletes. In almost every scenario, that means they’re out watching high school varsity teams, not high school junior varsity teams or high school freshmen teams. All the aforementioned indicators, of being a varsity starter, is what will attract college coaches!

Are you one of the best players on your team?

Let’s do an exercise quickly. Take out a piece of paper, grab a pen and write down the three top players on your team. That can be whatever team you are playing for, currently. It can be your varsity team, your junior varsity team or even your select/club team (in that case, make it the top six players). Is your list ready? Now, let me ask you this, will every player that you wrote on your list get the opportunity to play collegiately? I’m guessing that most of you would say “no” to this question. And, even if you answer “yes,” would player No. 4 or player No. 5 on your list go on to play in college? That answer, likely, is going to be “probably not”!

The reality of recruiting is that not every good player will get the opportunity to play in college. Whether it has to do with size, speed or lack of skills, so many talented players peak out at the high school level. The bottom line is that it takes a special talent to get through that funnel and on into college. If you want to know whether you have what it takes to play in college, you absolutely need to be one of the best players on your team.

Does your coach think you belong at the next level?

Ask any college coach in the country whose opinion they consider most when deciding on a recruit. The overwhelming majority would answer with, “the recruit’s current coach.” Whether it’s a high school, select or club coach, college coaches rely on the opinion of the coach closest to the athlete. So, let me ask you this, would your coach be willing to vouch for you? Would your coach be willing to help you get to the next level because he or she thinks you have what it takes? You shouldn’t even have to think about this one.

Here’s the deal, your coach’s opinion of you matters. It’s not the only opinion that matters, but it’s one of the opinions that will greatly increase your odds of playing in college. A coach that’s willing to vouch for you speaks volumes to the college coach that’s recruiting you. It’s telling of your character, your work ethic, your abilities and so much more. If you’re wondering what it’s going to take to get to the next level, take a long, hard look at the relationship you have with your current coach. Because, it will play a big roll in your college recruiting experience.


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