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. 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.
For most athletes the college recruiting process can be overwhelming. Many prospects and their parents think they are being recruited when they are not. That either gives a false sense of security, or it makes the process extremely confusing. Really, until you sign a National Letter of Intent you typically don’t know where you stand in the process.
Every student athlete starts in the same place. They are just trying to get noticed by a coach or two. Once they’re noticed, the goal is to be recruited. Once they’re being recruited, the goal is to seal the deal by signing a scholarship.
To have a successful recruiting journey, you really need to know and understand where you stand in the process. Are you being recruited? Have you been noticed by college coaches? Or, are you just one of thousands of athletes blindly trying to make it to the next level? No matter who you are, you fit into one of these three categories and sometimes it’s hard to tell which one. Mixed signals from college coaches and well-meaning high school and club coaches make it difficult. Everyone may be telling you that you’re good enough, but until you’re really being recruited, there’s still work to be done.
Here are some points to help you determine where you stand in the recruiting process, so you can decide what to do next.
You’re not being recruited
- You’re not being recruited if you receive information from college admission offices. Well, you are actually being recruited to become a student at those schools, but not a student-athlete.
- You’re not being recruited if a coach says he or she will “keep up with you”. This is code for “I’m not interested right now, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings”.
- You’re not being recruited if you get invited to a camp. The primary purpose of camps is to make money for the school and the coaching staff. There may be legitimate recruits at the camps, but 99 percent of the attendees are not on the school’s “short list” of scholarship candidates.
- You’re not being recruited if you’re told that a college coach “viewed” your profile on a recruiting website. While a quality profile with verified statistics and video can be helpful, coaches don’t spend hours on the internet looking for players. They find players from coaches and scouts they trust.
- You’re not being recruited if you receive an email from a recruiting service stating that “a college coach ran a search, and your profile is a match!” Read this sentence carefully. It does not say that the coach looked at your profile or expressed any specific interest in you.
- You’re not being recruited if a college coach sees you play at a game or in a tournament. College coaches show up at tournaments and games to watch specific athletes. If they don’t know your name before they arrive, they most likely won’t know it when they leave.
- You’re not being recruited if a third party (a coach, recruiting service, tournament director) tells you that a college coach asked about you. Until a college coach is communicating directly with you, you really aren’t being recruited.
You’ve been noticed, but you are not being recruited
- You’ve been noticed if you receive an email from a college coach asking you to fill out a recruiting questionnaire. You certainly want to complete the questionnaire as soon as possible, but don’t expect a phone call to follow.
- You’ve been noticed if your current coach gets an inquiry about you from a college coach. This is a clear indication that the school at least has interest in you as a player.
- You’ve been noticed if you receive an email from a coach asking for video. If this happens, you’re getting closer to becoming a legitimate recruit, but you’re not there yet.
- You’ve been noticed if a coach asks you to make an unofficial visit. A coach asking you to make an unofficial visit is a step in the right direction, but you’re not being recruited yet.
- You’ve been noticed if a college coach actually remembers your name during a camp or showcase event. This is a clear sign that a college coach has noticed you. That said, you aren’t a recruit yet.
- You’ve been noticed if you receive a personal response to an email or message you sent to a coach. Apparently, something in your email piqued their interest. Be sure to respond timely.
You are being recruited
- You are being recruited if college coaches are calling or communicating with you on a regular basis. A phone call from a college coach is a great indication that there is real interest in you as an athlete.
- You are being recruited if a college coach comes to one of your games to specifically see you play. If a college coach takes the time to come to one of your games, you’re definitely on their list of recruits.
- You are being recruited if you are asked to go on an official visit. Official visits are not given to every recruit. This coach is interested in you.
- You are being recruited if a coach gives you his or her personal contact information. College coaches don’t pass out their personal contact information unless they are extremely serious about you playing for their team.
Here’s the deal
The college recruiting process truly is “a process”. You need to understand where you are in that process to decide what needs to be done next. Next week we’ll talk about why you aren’t being recruited yet and what you can do about it.