The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Your junior year in high school is the most critical year in your recruiting journey. This is the year to set the stage to connect with college coaches and the year to be seen. If you took the time to do some of the groundwork as a freshman/sophomore, then the recruiting process won’t be too time-consuming. If not, you really need to devote a few hours a month to your college search, because you’ve got some catching up to do!
Here are the things you need to do and the things you have to do as a junior if you really want to play in college. Really, neither list is optional if you’re serious about playing at the next level.
Things you need to do
- Make sure you understand the new recruiting rules we discussed in last week’s article and that you’re ready to “hit the ground running” with your recruiting efforts on September 1st.
- Recheck the NCAA Division I core course worksheet to make sure you’re on track with the core course requirements.
- Meet with your coach to review his or her assessment of your abilities.
- Attend any camps or combines that make sense.
- Schedule two or three unofficial visits to colleges that have expressed an interest in you.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask college coaches.
- Prepare yourself for questions a coach might ask you.
- Don’t stop pursuing colleges just because a few coaches have expressed an interest. Keep your options open until you sign a National Letter of Intent.
- Work hard on the field and in the classroom. After all, we are talking about going to college.
Things you have to do
- Review and update your Favorite Colleges list.
- Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- Take the SAT or ACT.
- Complete your highlight video and athletic resume. Download the video to YouTube or Vimeo. Include the link in any correspondence you have with college coaches.
- Get your current coach involved as a reference. Ask him or her to reach out to your 5 to 7 favorite colleges. Provide them with your athletic resume and the contact information for the coaches at each college. The easier you make it for your coach, the more they will be involved.
- Review and update your list of appropriate colleges. Maintain a Favorites List of 20-30 colleges at levels you realistically qualify for.
- Find a summer team that makes sense, where you will have a significant role and play against quality opponents.
- Keep track of where you stand with each college.
- Be careful on social media. College coaches pay attention to the social media behavior of recruits.
- Send follow up emails to the colleges you have not heard back from.
- If you aren’t generating much interest yet, DON’T PANIC, step up your efforts and reconsider the colleges you are pursuing.
Next Monday we’ll cover your senior year. As a senior, everything on the checklist will be mandatory!