The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
If you’re not a 5-Star recruit, then in today’s world of “hyper-competitive” athletics you really need an advantage over the competition to find a college scholarship. There are thousands of athletes across the country looking to play at the next level and earn an athletic scholarship to help with the cost of a college education. You need something that separates you from the other athletes in your sport; something that will get you noticed by college coaches. When a college coach is deciding between you and several other athletes, there are a few things that will give you an advantage over the competition. Here are my top 3 ways you can get a “leg-up” on your competition.
1. Focus on academics
If you don’t think academics matter in college athletics, think again. North Carolina baseball coach Mike Fox may have said it best when he told us, “The very first thing we do after we see a young man play is request his transcripts. That happens immediately and can be the first separator in determining whether we move forward with a young man. I think there’s a direct correlation between how a young man performs in the classroom and the kind of commitment or self-discipline he has. We need young men that are prepared for college work, and most of the time, the transcripts tell the other side of the story.” That comment makes it pretty obvious that when a college coach is trying to decide between two athletes of similar abilities he or she will go with the better student every time. You need to be as dedicated in the classroom as you are on the practice field.
2. Ask your coach for an endorsement
An endorsement from your current coach can be the difference between a college coach being interested or moving on to the next recruit. Like it or not, your current coach is the most credible source a college coach has with respect to your athletic abilities and character. Your current coach’s opinion of you as a player and a student is critical. Mark Henninger, the football coach of Marian University probably said it best when he told us “Bottom line, the Alpha and the Omega of the list of people we trust regarding a recruit is the high school coach or high school coaches.”
3. Be willing to do whatever it takes
You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get a coach’s attention. Send an email, connect on Twitter, introduce yourself at a camp, or pick up the phone and make a call. I realize that calling a college coach sounds intimidating, but it might be the only way you get his or her attention. Let’s face it, you’re probably going to get voicemail anyway so leaving a short, polite message should be pretty easy. That said, you better be prepared just in case they answer!