Friday night lights may be months away, but there's one good reason why you should be performing at 110 percent during spring ball: April 15 marked the beginning of the NCAA's Evaluation Period for football, meaning college coaches and authorized athletic department staff are allowed to evaluate high school student-athletes at their academic institutions.
During the Evaluation Period, college coaches are allowed two visits per student-athlete: one to observe a player's ability during practice and/or spring games, and another to assess the athlete's academic qualifications, including transcripts and test scores. A recruiter who conducts both an athletic and academic evaluation on the same day is permitted to do a second athletics evaluation during the period.
The Evaluation Period for football ends on May 31. Most D-I evaluations are conducted from late April through mid-May. Sundays and Memorial Day [Monday, May 30] are classified as quiet days and excluded from the Evaluation Period.
Recruiters are mostly scouting current juniors, or seniors-to-be. If a coach likes what he sees during a visit, it could well lead to a scholarship offer, which D-I programs begin doling out in May and June.
To impress a recruiter during the Evaluation Period, you're pretty much limited to showcasing your skills on the field. That's because during the period, coaches are forbidden to make contact with athletes, either in person or by phone, email, text message or other social network platform. It's possible you won't even be aware of a recruiter attending practice, which is all the more reason to perform at your peak capacity during each and every practice session.
Visits during the Evaluation Period are limited to the student-athlete's high school. Coaches are prohibited from attending camps and/or combines during this period.
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