Recruiting Column: What college coaches want you to know about the recruiting process

Recruiting Column: What college coaches want you to know about the recruiting process

High School Sports

Recruiting Column: What college coaches want you to know about the recruiting process


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 This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.

You have to be known to be seen. You have to be seen to be evaluated. And, you have to be evaluated to be offered. Simply put, that is exactly how college recruiting works. If you are a high school athlete wondering how you can get a college coach to notice you, this article is dedicated to you. Here is what some of the best college coaches in the country need you to know about getting their attention.

Q: What’s your advice to a recruit interested in your program who you have not yet identified?

There are so many different ways for you to get our attention. And, I would tell any young lady interested in us, to figure out what works best for her situation. But, we truly like the interaction of the recruiting process, the teaching and coaching.

Getting to a camp of ours or a camp we’re attending is a huge piece in recruiting the players we’re after. Because, we want to be around you. We want to see where you start and watch the growth that takes place. Maybe you come to a camp, catch our attention, and a few months later we come out to watch you and we see the adjustments you’re making as a player. It goes back to that idea of always getting better. It’s easy for us to create a baseline by seeing you at a camp. And that’s great, because you can control getting in front of us, initially. From there, we just want to see you showing the necessary progress or getting to the level it’s going to take to play here.

-Lonni Alameda, Florida State Softball

Aside from us seeing you play with your travel or high school team, attending a Louisville camp is a really specific way to have us notice you. When you attend one of our camps, you’re going to get a great evaluation of your potential here. And, that’s the goal with any school you’re interested in. There isn’t a better way to get to know a school, if you think about it. By attending a camp, you’re sending a pretty clear message to the coaching staff that you’re interested in that school. That’s obviously a huge plus. Additionally, you’re able to equally evaluate that program and that school, as much as they’re able to evaluate you.

-Dan McDonnel, Louisville Baseball

It’s through their high school coach. It really is that simple for us. High school coaches are the lifeblood to college football. We honor and take the relationships we have with them very seriously. If a high school coach wants us to look at one of their guys, we’re going to put sometime into evaluating that young man. We will definitely communicate our assessment and feelings about the player and make sure that high school coach is getting what he needs from us. Without a doubt, if you want to land on our radar, have your high school coach reach out to us.

-John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State Football

The best way to be seen by our coaching staff is to come to our prospect day. Really, it’s the only way that you can guarantee that we’ll see you. Unfortunately, there will be 100 kids at our prospect day and a large portion of those players aren’t going to end up here. That’s just the reality of recruiting. But, if you do show up to our prospect day, it’s a guarantee that we will see you and be able to evaluate your chances of playing at Yale. And, as a recruit, that’s all you can ask for. You should want to be seen. The alternative is the slim chance that we will see you at a tournament, with 80 other teams. That’s just not very likely.

-Andy Shay, Yale Men’s Lacrosse

Be yourself! It’s so easy to tell if you’re really interested in our program. I can tell if you’re leaving a voicemail and your parents are in the background coaching you on what to say. I can tell the email that dad sent with your name on it. Listen, I like the personal touch. I want to know that you’re human. I want to know that you aren’t perfect. It’s okay to have a typo, here and there! It means a lot to me that you have a genuine interest in our program. So, when you contact us, be yourself. Do a little bit of research on us and make sure you’re using my last name, not the coach down the street’s last name. Get the details right, because that’s what makes it personal.

What I don’t like are recruiting services. I don’t want somebody doing the work for you. While recruiting services can work for initial contact or introductions, to be honest, the only thing that’s going to catch my attention is what they put out on you, first. It’s how tall you are, what position you play and how high you jump. If a recruiting service sends me an email on a 6’4” kid that touches 10’6”, I’m going to open that email up. But, I would open that email up regardless of who sends it to me! Now, if I get an email from a recruiting service on a kid that has average measurables, I guarantee that won’t do the recruit any good. That just tells me it’s impersonal and you aren’t the one making the decisions on where you want to be.

-Kurt Vlasich, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Volleyball

You have to take personal responsibility for this process. Whether that’s sending us an email, calling us or whatever, it’s your job to let us know you’re interested, it’s on you to make yourself known. Listen, there are so many talented lacrosse players in this country. It would be impossible for us to discover every young lady who has the potential of playing at JMU. Additionally, if you think we’ll just notice you playing in a tournament with 500 other players, you’re not doing yourself any favors. That’s an extremely challenging way of getting yourself recruited, because you’ve got stand out and you’ve got to do it at the right time! It’s much more efficient to do the work, communicate and prepare yourself to be noticed by coaches. Then when the time comes, you’re giving yourself the best chances of being evaluated by the right coaches, at the right schools.

-Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe, James Madison Women’s Lacrosse


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