The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Believe it or not, college coaches really only want to communicate with two people (outside their coaching staff) about your recruiting journey: 1 – You, and 2 – your current coach. They don’t want to talk with your parents, your uncle Mel who played in college, your girlfriend or your classmates. For obvious reasons they have to talk with you. In addition, they really want to talk with your high school or select/club coach about your abilities and character. They can get all the information they need from those two sources.
Why college coaches primarily want to talk to you
Think about it logically. College coaches want great student-athletes who will represent their team and institution in a positive manner every day. To identify those players, the coaches need to get to know you and make sure you’re a fit for their program. Handing out a college scholarship is a huge responsibility and college coaches take it very seriously. The better they get to know you, the easier it makes their decision. In my opinion, the most successful college coaches are the ones who get to know their recruits best before they offer a scholarship.
Why your coach’s opinion matters
Your current coach’s opinion can be critical in your recruiting journey. Listen, I’m not telling you to become the coach’s pet and it’s certainly not your coach’s job to find you a college scholarship. However, you have to understand that your relationship with your current coach can be a very telling factor for any college program interested in you. That’s why they want to talk with your coach. He/she sees you at practice, watches you compete and talks with you daily.
Most of the time, your history as a teammate and player is an indication of how you will act in college. Your character is part of a college coach’s evaluation process. Bottom line, the odds of a college coach talking to your current coach are really, really, really high and you have to understand that if you want to get to the next level.
What the college coaches have to say
Here are a few quotes from college coaches about who they want to talk with during the recruiting process. The quotes are from our USA Today High School Sports interviews:
Adam Dorrell, Head Football Coach Abilene Christian University
“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 third party. 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 the initial contact come from the athlete or even the high school coach of the athlete.”
Billy Kennedy, Head Basketball Coach, Texas A & M University
“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.”
Tom Billeter, Head Basketball Coach, Augustana University
“When a coach is making an effort on your behalf, that really stands out to us. If an AAU coach or a high school coach is willing to contact us about you, they obviously think very highly of you.”
Theresa Romagnolo, Women’s Head Soccer Coach, Notre Dame University
“The opinion of the club coach is one that we typically draw on first. That is the coach that has been around the student-athlete, most recently. We also like to speak with other coaches, teachers, principals or any authority figures involved in the student-athlete’s day-to-day life. We like to have a consensus opinion on any athlete before we get serious and offer a scholarship.”
Mark Henninger, Head Football Coach, Marian University
“Bottom line, the alpha and the omega of the list (of people we listen to) is the high school coach or high school coaches.”
Matt Wilber, Head Basketball Coach, Dakota Wesleyan University
“We will never recruit a guy without talking to the people that surround him. Be it a summer coach or a high school coach, that really doesn’t matter. If we recruit you, we want to know what those guys think about you. Those guys are going to shoot us straight and we absolutely listen to their opinions.”
Here’s the deal
College coaches really only need to talk to you and your coach — that’s a fact. While they might talk to your parents, teammates and teachers at some point, your conversations and the conversations they have with your coach are the only two that really matter.