The recruiting process is tricky to begin with, but it's even more complex for athletes whose games play in the spring. If you're looking to take your spring sport ability to the next level, you need to exert most of your recruiting efforts before your senior season. Scott Richardson, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for SEC track powerhouse Auburn University, offers this advice for spring athletes.
When we recruit seniors for track and field, we typically look at their marks from the year before. We have two signing periods: an early one in November and a late period in April. Any coach will tell you that he would like to have all recruits signed, sealed and delivered by November. That means we have to look at athletes' marks from their junior years. If an athlete doesn't post big marks, some of the upper-level D-I programs will be less apt to make an offer to him or her.
However, a less-than-impressive junior season is not the kiss of death. At the end of the day, if the kid is academically qualified and has run fast enough or jumped far enough, somebody will make him an offer. Whether it happens in the fall or spring of his senior season, he will still have opportunities. There is certainly more money available in the fall, but that doesn't mean you will be completely overlooked if your junior season doesn't go that well. The indoor season of your senior year is a good opportunity to bounce back from a tough junior spring season. Our focus down here at Auburn, and in the South, is outdoor track, but an indoor season can provide an inside look at someone's outdoor abilities.
Track is different from basketball or football; those are what we call "head count sports." They have an allotment of full scholarships. Track and field has 12.6 scholarships for men and 18 for women. We can give 18 women full scholarships, 36 of them half scholarships or any other combination we come up with. A lot depends on how much money we have to play with. If all of our scholarships are in play and three guys graduate, we only have three for the next year. At Auburn, we try to get the three best kids we can. We are not a numbers program; we take the very best kids and develop them into national champions.
Outside of times and marks, we look at the kind of person an athlete is. High school track athletes need to realize the importance of having good working relationships with their high school or club coaches. Regardless of the college you want to run for, the college coach will contact your high school coach to make sure you're the kind of kid who will make it at the next levelacademically and athletically. We want to know that you will hold your own and have a good work ethic on the track and in the weight room. We don't want discipline problems; we want people who will come here and help our program and our school.
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