Stop waiting for an invite to the recruiting extravaganza. Most likely, it’s already started without you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blue-chip prospect or an emerging underclass talent, as a high school athlete, you can’t sit back and wait to be recruited.
Even if you’re fortunate enough to receive a letter of interest from a college program, you need to be proactive about your approach to recruiting, because hundreds, if not thousands, of other high school athletes are receiving that same letter.
Here, Je’Mone Smith, an educational speaker and recruiting expert for the National Collegiate Scouting Association, guides you through the most effective ways to get your name and game in front of college coaches.
Post Academic-Athletic Résumés Online
Hang out where the coaches hang out, Smith suggests. How do you do that? Send highlight DVDs and create academic-athletic résumés online. “The online résumés need to be professional, simple and about you: GPA, SAT, ACT, accolades such as All-City or All-State,” Smith says. “Intangibles are the most important—what you’re doing in the community, your character and other extracurricular interests.”
Smith advises ensuring all materials sent out are completely accurate. That includes height, weight, speed and standardized test scores.
Communicate Through Writing
“At the beginning of the year, college coaches cast a wide net and send letters all across the country,” Smith says. “You can play that same game, too.”
Smith advises contacting 10 to 20 percent of college programs that offer your sport. For football, that can mean contacting 50 to 100 schools. “The more letters you send, the greater your chances of getting [a response] in return,” he says.
It’s important to identify the appropriate coach or individual to whom to direct your materials. Most likely, it will be the team’s recruiting coordinator.
Take Advantage of Unofficial Visits
NCAA rules permit student-athletes to visit campuses and meet with coaches at any time outside of the dead period.
“Unofficial visits allow you to be proactive and dictate your future,” Smith says. “You can go to a school on an unofficial visit with your credentials, and say to a coach, ‘I meet the NCAA Eligibility Center requirements, here’s my GPA, here’s my highlight video,’ and ask the coach to take a look. Don’t you think that coach is going to look?”