The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
If you wait until your senior year in high school to start the recruiting process, the only place you may be playing in college will be on the intramural fields. If that happens, you’ll likely dominate, but that won’t pay the tuition. In today’s competitive college athletic environment, the recruiting process should start earlier than most people think. College coaches look to identify athletes as early as their freshman year in high school. In fact, some athletes commit to a college before they ever even suit up for their high school team.
Unless you’re an exception to the rule, freshman year is an ideal time to start the college recruiting process. You don’t have to start as a freshman, but it gives you the best chance at a successful recruiting experience. The earlier you start, the more time you have to learn about all your college options, to research colleges and to plan college visits.
Here are the things you need to do, the things you should do, and the things that would be great to do during your freshman year in high school.
Things you need to do
- Fall in love with being a student and an athlete! Passion is a must for every student-athlete that wants to play in college.
- Make good decisions and commit to doing things the right way, on and off the field.
- Research the athletic benchmarks necessary to play at the colleges you want to attend and set athletic goals.
- Work hard on the field and in the classroom. After all, we are talking about going to college.
Things you should do
- Enlist your parents to be your administrative assistants.
- Review the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete.
- Familiarize yourself with the recruiting rules.
- Alert your high school coach, your summer coach and your guidance counselor of your desire to play in college.
- Be careful on social media. College coaches watch the social media behavior of all athletes they are interested in.
Things that would be great to do
- Ask your current coach for an honest assessment of your abilities and where he/she projects you as a college athlete.
- Research and identify a list of colleges that match your abilities and in which you have an interest.
- Begin building the framework of an athletic resume
- Send an introductory email to the coaches at the colleges in which you have an interest (don’t expect an answer).
Next Monday we’ll cover your sophomore year. Obviously, the closer you get to graduation the more things you’ll have to do!