When It Comes to Recruiting: Like the Rock Says “Know Your Role”
By: Chad Wilson
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One of the most important things that recruits can do for themselves in the recruiting process is understand what level they are on. This is one of the hardest things for a recruit to do. It involves being honest with yourself. It also involves parents being honest about their child’s talent level. I am not going to bore you with the mathematics of available scholarships vs. those wanting them but I will make this general statement, there are well over 10 times the amount of prospects wanting to go division I vs. those who will actually achieve that.
Recruits dream of playing on television or in a New Year’s Day Bowl game. I am not one to crush a youth’s dream but the reality is that at some point you have to get real and if you wait till after you senior season to come to that point, you put yourself in a tough position. One of the biggest mistakes made by potential recruits is shunning interest from smaller schools or failing to use resources that will connect them with smaller schools because they feel like “they are going D-I”. There are few seniors each season that can say that they are a slam dunk in terms of going division-I. I recently attended a last chance senior combine in which I watched a prospect that was all over the recruiting websites as a sophomore and junior. In the end, he was like many others out there. He was just looking for a place, any place, to continue playing football.
Unless you are a four or five star who is receiving hand written notes and phone calls from BCS and other division-I schools you better explore your insurance policy. That insurance policy is connecting with smaller Division-I, division I-AA and division II schools. What is also important is that the potential recruit make an honest assessment of themselves and/or have one done for them. Find out how it is that you are viewed by college scouts. For some, it may be obvious. If you are a 5’9″ – 5’11″ quarterback, getting a division-I offer is going to be an uphill battle. While you are fighting that uphill battle do not pass on connecting with the smaller schools BEFORE your senior season.
College football recruiting is very much a game of numbers. Schools recruit height, weight and speed. If you don’t fit into the stereo-typical numbers that are signed to a scholarship by the big schools, protect yourself by getting interest from the smaller schools before the mad rush at the end of your senior season. Other prospects may be close to those measurables but may be lacking something. Find out what you may be missing before you are left holding the bag at the end scrambling desperately for a scholarship from a school in the corner of the country that you never ever heard of.
Don’t be misled by a letter or two from the big schools. When they begin recruiting a class, they cast a wide net. They are certainly not going to make offers to all of the players they send letters to. They are just covering the bases by getting a letter out to anyone who could possibly be a prospect. As the year progresses, they will turn up the heat on the players they are more interested in recruiting. By turning up the heat I mean they will send hand written letters and make phone calls. Just because those two things are happening, it does not mean that the school will eventually extend an offer. The school may indeed make a scholarship offer at some point but even then, that is not etched in stone. Some schools will make what has been termed a “non-commitable” offer. This means that they are offering you a scholarship but it depends on what happens with another recruit they are pursuing. So, as you can see, there are a number of stages. If you have been in the “receiving letters” stages for quite some time or not even in that stage, protect yourself and turn your attention to some schools that will return the attention to you. If your skills, or your value as a recruit improves and the bigger schools take more interest, there would have been no harm in having reached out to smaller schools. Always have a plan b.
Gridironstuds.com provides evaluation services for prospects. I will give you an honest assessment of where you stand as a prospect and detail both your strengths and weaknesses. I can not stress the importance of having this done. Furthermore, I can offer tips on increasing your marketability as a college football recruit. For an evaluation, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org