When it comes to sports as a whole, you, the high school athlete wants to get noticed. That is the main individual goal outside of winning championships and racking up accomplishments.
The recruiting process is a slow endeavor that sometimes begins at an early age for top athletes in middle school. For most, college interest and offers come in high school and they usually come in waves. When one comes, a couple more typically follow.
In the beginning stages of the process, you’ll receive letters and camp invites. Don’t let time slide by and the mail stack up. Make sure you respond to every letter with the basic information these coaches are looking to receive (height, weight, position).
Upon that, you’ll attend camps and follow up with these coaches whether through email or on the phone or both if you want to make sure you stick out from the bunch.
Once these initial letters come you need to begin organizing your game highlights and stats and grades for these college programs to see. These coaches are going to call your head coach and want to know what you can bring to their team both on and off the field.
Having a Hudl video or a package that you can send them via email will do you wonders. Some athletes pay for video packages and even profile websites which help direct people to a page full of helpful information all about their game.
If the colleges like what they see after the two processes mentioned above then more will come for you. An assistant coach, likely the college’s positional coach will plan a visit to watch you play a high school game.
Your parents will meet with the coach and you’ll shake his hand and hopefully be very personable (LINK: Why being personable goes a long way). Many athletes will be nervous to play in front of a college coach, but many will also turn it on even more and play that much harder.
This visit will either setup more to come in the future or just general interest moving forward. Either way, it is very beneficial for you to experience. Just don’t get too attached because it is the first school giving you attention, if you are talented and do your part in the classroom, more in-home visits will come.
The next step is likely the hardest for the recruit and his family. Offers will be at their disposal, but the colleges will want answers rather quickly on the full scholarships or even walk-on opportunities. It could be a matter of days or a few weeks before the programs want a yes or no answer on the commitment.
You have to go with your gut. You have to break down each school that you’ve met with and visited. Doing your due diligence is key. You don’t want to commit and then de-commit and make yourself look bad.
Sometimes coaching staffs change and that is the reason you decide to open up your recruitment again. But, it is key to sit down and weigh the pros and cons of all your offers/visits whether you have 40 plus or just five to choose from, it is the same way of thinking.
If you are planning on waiting for your dream school and that program has only expressed interest in you, then you might be waiting for a while. Playing college sports is not something everyone can do, so just be grateful and happy of your opportunites at hand.
From the day you verbally commit to a program and then put pen to paper and make it official, you need to keep a low profile. Don’t do dumb things off the field, stay on top of your academics and most importantly say the right things on social media.
Coaches, analysts and everyone on social media are watching your every move whether you think so or not. An offer can be taken away from you if you get in trouble. Be smart and simply sit back and realize how much work you’ve put into earning it.
Bonus tip: For the athletes that earn offers/interest late in the process, you need to continue to be patient. Being angry doesn’t help. Talk to your high school coaches or travel team coaches about placing you somewhere whether it is a JUCO, NAIA or a walk-on opportunity. If you are talented, someone will want you on their team. Remember, no matter the level, it’s still college sports.
Final note: Reaching out to analysts on Twitter or Facebook certainly doesn’t hurt. I’m always here to spread the word about high school athletes as long as they are cordial and polite about it. Getting their names out there is important and I’m glad to help along the way.
More columns to come soon…
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.