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 Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com 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.
Academic Ability + Athletic Ability + Adapt Ability = Recruit Ability. That’s it. That’s the formula that every high school recruit in the country should be interested in solving. Because when it comes to fulfilling your dream of playing at the next level, you’ve got to understand how “recruit-able” you really are, or in other words, how attractive you are to college programs. Today’s article is dedicated to understanding the specific factors that will lead you to a college scholarship.
First things, first: you will not play your sport in college if you can’t make the grade. The end. There is no negotiating the word “student” out of the term “student-athlete”. If you are wanting to play in college, you better get it done in the classroom. There are expectations of you off the field, that you not only have to understand, but also must embrace. Every recruit wanting to get to the next level must meet specific GPA requirements, core course requirements, standardized test score requirements and individual institutional requirements. That’s a non-negotiable. And if you are wanting to play at the NCAA Division I, II or NAIA levels, you need to be cleared by their eligibility centers, to compete at one of their member schools. So, know the rules and make it a priority to obey the rules.
If your goal is to be the most “recruit-able” athlete you can be, start by being the best student you can possibly be!
Do you believe in mermaids? Or how about dragons? If you answered yes to either, or both questions, you might struggle with this part of the “recruit-ability” formula. Without a doubt, this is usually where most high school athletes run into their recruiting brick wall. Because unfortunately, being truthful about your athletic abilities can be downright frustrating and isn’t always easy. It is, however, necessary if you aspire to play in college.
Legendary softball coach Mike Candrea once told me he “truly believes there is a place for every athlete to play in college” and that is was “up to the athlete to figure out where that place is.” Think about that. He didn’t say a place for “some” athletes, he said a place for “every” athlete. That’s you, and you, and you! But you have got to be honest with what you can do. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses and know what type of college program makes sense for you. Not every basketball recruit is going to end up at Kentucky, just like not every volleyball recruit is going to end up at Nebraska. And that’s ok.
If your goal is to be the most “recruit-able” athlete you can be, align your athletic abilities with the college programs you pursue.
“I’ve sent 15 emails and not 1 coach has responded.” “A coach came to watch two of my games and hasn’t talked to me since.” “I’m a senior in high school and I’m not sure if any schools are recruiting me, yet.” “My high school coach is such a jerk and won’t call any college coaches for me.” And on, and on, and on.
Have you uttered any of these comments or something similar? If you have, I hope since then, you have figured out that recruiting doesn’t always work out the way that we want it to. It’s just the nature of the business. That’s why you’ve got to roll with the punches and adapt to your situation. Learn from each experience, then apply what you learn to the process, moving forward. If you aren’t being recruited, figure out why. If you aren’t getting replies to your emails, maybe you are sending emails to the wrong programs. If your high school coach isn’t helping, find another coach that will. Just like any good quarterback, you have got to be able to know your plays, read the defense and go through your progressions to find the open receiver.
If your goal is to be the most “recruit-able” athlete you can be, have the ability to adapt to what’s happening, or not happening, to you.