The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Over the past several years, we’ve had the opportunity to talk recruiting with some of the top college coaches in the country. Their advice and thoughts on how college recruiting works are extremely valuable to recruits in every sport. Here are their answers to three of our questions on recruiting. Pay attention! This is practical advice from the people who matter.
Oklahoma State Football Coach Mike Gundy
Q: Are you guys paying attention to your recruits on social media?
A: Without a doubt. It’s information that’s available to us, so it’s information we include in our evaluation process. We have people on our football staff that track every one of our players and every one of our recruits. I remind our guys every week about that. I just tell our guys to stay off social media! Especially if you can’t behave.
I have three sons and I tell them the same things. I just don’t understand how taking a picture of what you’re doing and presenting it for the whole world to see makes any sense. Why would you do something questionable and incriminate yourself by posting about it? That kind of behavior has certainly cost some young men an opportunity to play football at Oklahoma State.
Augustana Baseball Coach Tim Huber
Q: What is your advice to a student-athlete going through the recruiting process?
A: Be proactive with this process. As a recruit, you should be doing as much research and recruiting as college coaches are doing.
Talk to your high school coach and talk to your club coach. Get their input on what level they could see you playing at. Start with the schools that around you and know what your options are. Once you’ve identified the schools you feel are the best fit for you, send the coach an email. Personalize it and let that coach know specifically why you are interested. And I’ll say this about sending an email: most college coaches know when they are getting a bulk email and most coaches that get that bulk email are just going to hit delete, including me.
The same goes for when I see an email come through from a recruiting service, I just hit delete. I want to know that you made a conscious decision to communicate your interest in our program. I’m not interested in dealing with players that are just going to settle for whatever comes their way.
UT-Tyler Softball Coach Mike Reed
Q: What is your advice to parents of student-athletes going through the recruiting process?
A: First of all, I am a father of three! I used to give this piece of advice just as a coach, but now I’m giving it as both a parent and a coach.
My general advice to parents is to let your kids communicate for themselves. It’s tougher now, because recruiting seems to get younger and younger each year, and maybe you think your athlete isn’t quite ready for this. But doing so prepares them for what is to come. Ultimately, it allows them to develop their communication skills and it furthers their maturation process.
I want parents to know that it is okay if your child isn’t perfect. If they don’t quite know how to write the perfect email or say the perfect thing, it’s okay. They are just kids and we as coaches are well aware of that!
Encouraging your daughter/son to lead in this process is what we, as coaches, want to see. Absolutely, you should be there to support, give advice and be that guiding hand. We want you to be involved in the process, too. Just do your best to not only help them make a great decision, but to also help make this a great learning experience.