Football recruiting is a big business in the US. Almost every high school football player dreams of getting recruited to a big-time college program. Here are some basic football recruiting tips.
The college football recruiting process is extensive. The pipeline of coaches, scouts, parents, and current and future teammates that it spans is wide. It’s also mind-boggling for young athletes.
Football players start getting letters from college recruiters early on in high school. It’s fun the first time you come home and see that letter addressed to your name and whatever university’s logo.
And then you read what the assistant coach for that school says to you, it’s exciting. As you progress through high school, it can become more normal and it turns into phone calls and recruiting trips. That’s if you’re a top recruit.
If you’re not so highly sought after, you’ll hear from college coaches much less. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t being looked at. Smaller schools have smaller recruiting budgets, so they aren’t as relentless as the top schools. Read on below to learn how it all works.
As mentioned above, a lot of student-athletes will get a general recruiting letter in the early going of high school. For football players, starting September 1st of your junior year, you’re able to receive electronic communication from coaches; emails, texts, direct Twitter messages, etc.
However, if a college coach is interested in you, they can speak with your coaches, and watch your highlight videos at any time. They can attend off-season camps where they might have contact with you and other players through training sessions and scrimmages, but they can’t try to recruit you.
The Home Visit
Often, college coaches want to make a visit to a potential student athletes’ home. They want to build a deeper relationship with the athlete and their family. This is a great tool for recruiters. A lot of kids have many different schools vying for their attention, and it’s the little things that can make a team or university stand out and win the recruiting battle.
Another point for this is that parents want to know who they’re going to put in charge of their 17, 18, or 19 year old. For many, it’s the first time their child will leave the state, and parents want to feel at ease. A coach who can show strong disciplinary characteristics while also being compassionate toward their son will have an advantage.
The Official Visit
The Offical Visit is when a young athlete takes a trip to the school campus of the team recruiting them. This can be in or out of state. Colleges cover the costs of these trips, such as airfare and other transportation for players and their families while providing lodging.
Recruiters can’t buy dinner or provide food for athletes at any time, except when they’re on an official visit. They can provide three meals a day and three tickets per game during the visit. Each athlete is allowed up to five official visits and only one per school.
The Unofficial Visit
An aspiring college football player can take an unofficial recruiting visit anytime they wish. This visit has to be paid for solely by their parents or the athlete themselves. If the visit takes place before August 1st of the students’ junior year, you’re not allowed any contact with college coaches. If it’s after that date, you can meet and talk with coaches, but the coaches aren’t allowed to discuss recruiting with you.
The 2021-22 Season Timeline
Recruiting is ever-changing in college football. So, let’s break down the schedule laid out for the 2021-22 school year.
As mentioned above, coaches can send direct electronic messages to juniors after September 1st. High school football players can take a visit to a college from April 1st to the end of June during their junior year. Phone calls are allowed from January to July and April and May.
Senior Football players can start taking official visits beginning the first day of classes. Coaches can call seniors once a week after September 1st. Plus, coaches are allowed three evaluation days—two in the fall and one in spring.
After you’ve taken your official visits and had a lot of communication with the coaches, seen the campuses, learned about their academic programs; it’s time to choose your school.
This can be daunting. The best thing to do is go with your gut. You’re going to hear every promise under the sun, and many of them won’t come true. However, if you find a place with the right coaching staff, the right scholastic program, and a campus that you feel comfortable with, you can’t go wrong no matter what happens.