In our May Blog, we discussed suggestions to get onto a coach’s list: play on the field, highlight tapes, measurables and taking visits / attending camp. While the time, effort and related costs may seem like the hard part, surprisingly, staying on the list in today’s world of football recruitment, can prove to be even more challenging.
Part Two: Staying on the List
- Show understanding & appreciation for the coach recruiting you
I feel it is critical for every player who has dreams of playing college football to truly understand the other person(s) involved in the recruiting process, the coach(es). The coach who is recruiting you earns a living based on your on and off the field performance that is reflective of an entire university or college’s athletic program. Again, their livelihood is dependent upon the decisions and play of 18-24 year old men. They are going to gather every piece of information they can find to determine if you will not only be an excellent football player, but also a great teammate, student and positive representative of the team and school.
- Maintain good/improved academic standing
The schools that you are hoping to attend may have a wide variety of academic requirements. When a school identifies you as someone they want to pursue, the first thing they do is get an academic transcript on you. They want to see your GPA, ACT/SAT, class rank, performance over time and attendance. From that one document, coaches can make very quick decisions on whether you will stay on their list.
If you’re not a high-flyer academically, when coaches see your transcript they will look to see improvement over the years. That shows a willingness to improve. Additionally, if you are someone who has a lot of tardies or absences in high school, do you think a coach will be able to count on you going to class when you don’t have mom or dad there to help you out??? Keep in mind you are STUDENT-athletes, not the other way around.
- Show high character & integrity in relationships
A college coach looks to use multiple references to measure your character and how you interact with others. When he comes to visit you, he will look to speak with your principal, classroom teachers, guidance counselors and others to gauge just what kind of person you really are. They want to know how you treat your fellow classmates, your respect for authority in the school and your work habits in the classroom. While coaches want to be fair, sometimes even one questionable review can get you off the list. That may be as simple as a teacher saying that you don’t work to your potential in the classroom. You may think that your teachers would give you the benefit of the doubt, but keep in mind, they take their job very seriously. They have a mutual respect for other professionals. They’re not going to lie for you or cover up stories. They will share their honest evaluations about you.
When it comes to speaking with your coach, the recruiter is looking for details about how you prepare for games, the relationships you have with your teammates, your attitude in practice and how you react when the game isn’t going the way you’d hoped. All those factors are critical measures of what kind of teammate and player they can count on you to be. Most of the time, what you demonstrated in high school is exactly who they perceive you to be at the college level.
- Social Media Awareness
There have been countless posts from college coaches over the last year about how they dropped a player they were recruiting because of the content on their social media. For a coach, there is no easier access into your character than scrolling through your social media profiles. We got into social media in March, but one thing that is important to bring up again: ANY favorite, retweet/repost is treated exactly the same as if you produced it yourself. To a coach, that is your “voice” and values coming through.
TWQBR staffer, Eric Treske (Receiver and Strength & Conditioning Coach (D-3, Lakeland University, WI)) had a great visual reference for how you can filter what you post, favorite or retweet on social media. “Take the biggest Division 1 college you’d dream of going to. Now imagine that the stadium is sold out and you are on the 50 yard line with a microphone. The post that you made, favorited or retweeted comes up on the jumbotron and you must read it aloud in front of the entire stadium.” If you don’t think you’d want to do that based on the content of the post, don’t put your stamp on it.
Conclusion: It’s an ongoing process
The points discussed above, as well as your play on the field, are always under evaluation. Who’s recruiting list you make it onto and who begins to evaluate you on this deeper level can change at any time. If you know that there are some things discussed in this blog that need to be improved, make those changes now. It is never too late to repair relationships, turn your grades around and clean up your social media. Lastly, regardless of what school begins communicating with you, treat them all as viable options and continually work to stay on everyone’s list. You want as many options as you can when decision time comes around.