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 Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting and is the affordable solution to high-priced recruiting companies. Their technology-based recruiting software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisers provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
Would you answer “Yes” to the following questions?
- Are you a high school athlete looking for a college scholarship?
- Are your coaches, parents, friends and teammates all telling you that you’re good enough to play at the next level?
- Are you a good teammate and a good student?
- In spite of answering “yes” to the first three questions, are you still feeling under-recruited?
Well, if you feel under-recruited, you probably are! The good news is, you can do something about it. Every year thousands of high school athletes who are good enough to play in college never realize their dream. Why? They weren’t “discovered” by the right college coach and they didn’t do anything about it.
Roughly two percent of high school athletes are highly recruited. Let me say that again . . . two percent are highly recruited. The other 98 percent are on their own (and probably under-recruited). Let’s put these numbers into perspective . . . If you play basketball, that means to be a highly recruited athlete you probably need to be the best player in your district. Not one of the better players, not the best player on your team, the best player in your entire district. That would put you in the top two percent. If you’re not in the top two percent (and 98 percent are not) it just means you need to do a little work to get there.
What does being under-recruited mean?
Being under-recruited means that for some reason you haven’t been noticed yet by college coaches or you’ve been noticed but aren’t actively being recruited. You might have the athletic ability and the grades, but the right coaches haven’t seen you play or heard about you. Your stats might be great, but for some reason you have gone unnoticed.
Think about this: If you are a Division II level middle infielder, how would the Division II coaches in other states ever find out about you as a player? Recruiting budgets in most sports are limited and coaching staffs can only scout a finite number of games. There is absolutely no reason to hope that a college you are interested in will suddenly notice you without a little effort on your part.
Why are you under-recruited?
There are many reasons why an athlete might be under-recruited or lightly recruited. The reasons can range from small recruiting budgets in your sport, to quite frankly just not being in the right place at the right time. You might live in a small town, play for a small high school or maybe you don’t pass the “eye-ball test”, but whatever your circumstances, if you truly are “under-recruited”, then you have to do something about it.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is an example of an athlete who didn’t pass the eye-ball test. He was actually “under-recruited” out of high school. How in the world did the majority of college coaches miss out on a talent like this? Curry’s high school coach explained it this way: “Sometimes kids don’t pass the eyeball test. As a senior he looked like he was about 14 years old.” The “eyeball test” indicated he was too small to play high-level Division I college basketball.
Curry ended up playing at Davidson College, where he dominated. Now he’s been the NBA’s MVP twice and he’s also won two NBA Championships. Here’s the point, there are many reasons why you might be under-recruited. You might not pass the “eyeball test”, or the colleges that have seen you play might not have a need at your position. If that’s the case, then make the commitment to do something about it.
How do you fix the problem?
The best way to go from being under-recruited to highly-recruited is to reach out to colleges on your own. As long as you reach out to schools that are a match for abilities and you’re persistent, you will be successful. If your talents are currently best-suited for a Division II team, then concentrate on teams at that level.
Your recruiting strategy should involve researching colleges, developing an understanding of the recruiting process and even filling out the athletic questionnaires on college websites, but here are the three main steps:
- Identify and research colleges that are appropriate for your abilities both athletically and academically.
- Reach out to the coaching staff at those schools expressing genuine interest in their program and provide them with some information on who you are as a student-athlete.
- Get your current coach involved to vouch for your abilities and character.
There is no better way to navigate the college recruiting process. Invest in your future and take the time to pursue colleges that are as interested in you as you are in them.
Here’s the deal
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Spend some time with your family, watch some football and eat some turkey. On Friday, if you’re an under-recruited athlete, do something about it!