Recruiting Column: What college coaches need you to know about recruiting

Recruiting Column: What college coaches need you to know about recruiting

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: What college coaches need you to know about recruiting


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.


You have to be known to be seen. You have to be seen to be evaluated. And, you have to be evaluated to be offered. Simply put, that is exactly how college recruiting works. If you are a high school athlete wondering how you can get a college coach to notice you, this article is dedicated to you. Here is what some of the best college coaches in the country need you to know about getting their attention.

Q: What’s your advice to a recruit interested in your program who you have not yet identified?

Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M Basketball

A: Like many major Division I programs, we receive so much interest from so many high school recruits. As thankful as we are to receive an email from a young man wanting to be a part of our program, it is extremely difficult to review and respond to all of that interest. It is hard for an athlete to standout through an email, especially when his email gets mixed in with the emails coming from recruits that think they can play somewhere they really can’t. That makes filtering through recruit emails an almost impossible task.

For our program specifically, I would advise a young man to have his high school coach or AAU coach reach out to our staff, on his behalf. If that recruit truly has the ability to play at this level, it is going to take a personal conversation with his coach for us to even consider taking the next step.

Suzie Fritz, Kansas State Volleyball

A: We get anywhere from 150-200 emails every day from potential recruits and we do our best to read each one. Any athlete that is interested in K-State should send us a quick email letting us know that you are interested in our program. Tell us who you are, who you play for and include a quick highlight link to your skills. 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.

The student-athletes that are managing the recruiting process with the most amount of success are the ones that stick with their priorities, from start to finish. They don’t shift back-and-forth on what matters and what they are looking to accomplish. Those kids know the type of a degree they are looking for, how far away from home they want to be and what type of volleyball program they want to play for. Their refined expectations make the process much easier for not only themselves, but also for the programs they are searching out. Those kids are easy to recruit because they’re committed to finding the school that is most aligned with their priorities.

Pete Fredenburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor Football 

A: Getting a personal letter or a note from a player makes a huge impression on me. A personal note from a player’s coach makes a huge impression on me. That said, when I get something from a recruiting service on a player, it doesn’t make near the impression on me. I just have a lot of respect for a youngster or his coach that takes the time to show our program some effort. It makes me want to show them the same type of effort. I feel it’s something they deserve.

Tim Scannell, Trinity Baseball

A: We have to get eyeballs on you! I am proud to say that we have seen every one of our guys, with our own eyes, before they became a part of our program. That is not going to change. Understanding that, I would tell the recruit to reach out and let us know he is interested. Let’s try to coordinate schedules and figure out the best opportunity for us to come see you play. Where are you going to be playing? Where will you be that makes sense for us to come out and watch you? And if we can’t settle on a time to see one of your games, find a way to get on campus and attend one of our camps. If we have interest in a young man, it’s really just a matter of communicating and coordinating schedules. Be resilient in your communication and clear about your interest in us. That resiliency shows us how serious you are.

Ashley Cozart, North Alabama Softball

A: The main thing for a recruit to understand about getting identified by us is that we have to see you play. For us to really recruit you and advance the process, we have got to see you play. That said, send us an email and make it personal. Research us and send us something that isn’t just a generic note. Try to give us a reason to come see you play or invite you to one of our camps. Really, with recruiting starting so early, coming to one of our camps is the easiest way for us to see how you would fit in with our program. We put our campers though our actual practice plans because we want to see how they perform with our expectations and coaching style. And per NCAA rules, we are allowed to talk to recruits on campus for a camp, when we might not be able to do so if we were just out watching a game. Camps are such a valuable resource during the recruiting process for both the coaching staff and the recruit.

Brady Starkey, Concordia University, St. Paul Volleyball

A: The best way for a potential recruit to get our attention is for them to personally email us themselves. We get a lot of emails from recruiting services. Usually half of those end up in our spam box and they typically get deleted. We want a kid who addresses us personally, has done a little homework on our program and university and includes those specifics in their email.

Stuart Gore, Northwestern Ohio Soccer

A: We get roughly one hundred emails each day from prospective student-athletes. The majority of those are the standard, regurgitated email where my name has been filled out at the top and I can tell it is being sent to every other coach in the country. Those just get deleted. There’s nothing personal to those emails. The same way a recruit would want a personal email from me is why I want a personal email from them. I want to see that they can identify with our program. For instance, if I get an email from a recruit highlighting one of our potential roster needs in the coming year, I am going to pay attention to that. That means they have done their homework and they can really envision themselves being a part of our program.


Adam Dorrel, Northwest Missouri State Football

A: The biggest thing with us is we would like to be contacted by the athlete. It is a major turnoff getting emails from a parent or even a recruiting service, so to speak. Quite honestly, we don’t even look at those emails because we know they are going to be slanted or biased. We would really rather have that initial contact come from the athlete or even the high school coach of the athlete. Like many other schools, we receive so many emails telling us to take a look at a guy and it can be hard to decide which ones you need to pay attention to.  It speaks volumes to a young man’s character when he is handling his own recruiting process and we take notice of the guys that are doing that.

Additionally, the easier the young man can make it on our coaching staff, the better. Get your ducks in a row and have an idea of what we are needing to see. Let us see your academic profile. Let us see a quick link to some game film. Getting our attention isn’t as hard as you think, as long as you are prepared in giving us a simple way to evaluate you. Ownership of what you want is the key to the recruiting process.


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