In conjunction with the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game [airing tonight, Jan. 4, on ESPN at 7 p.m. EST], ESPN.com senior columnist Gene Wojciechowski spoke with this year’s class of blue-chip prospects about their personal recruiting experiences. From nonstop phone calls to promised playing time, their responses yield a compelling, extremely informative glimpse into “the process.”
Read on for topics highlighted in “The Little Blue-Chip Recruiting Handbook,” along with quotes from some of the 150 ESPNU prospects who contributed. We urge you to view the full article to gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of recruiting.
Note: Names of ESPNU 150 prospects were withheld in the article.
Chapter 1: It Gets Old Fast
- “The recruiting process can help you a lot. The interviews you do. The character you have to show. Having to be a leader. It shows what type of person you are. It might get tiring every now and then, but if you stick with it and pull through it, you learn how to communicate with people better.”
Chapter 2: Campus Visits Can Be Your Friend
- “Take all of your visits, especially [if you’ve] been in-state your whole life. Get down to the schools as many times as you can. You’ve really got to know the place where you’re going to be.”
Chapter 3: Don’t Fall Helmet Over Cleats for Your Coaching Staff
- “You have to ask yourself: If the coaches left after you signed, would you still want to go to that school? If you got hurt and couldn’t play, would you still want to go to that school?”
Chapter 4: When Recruiters Get Desperate
- “My biggest thing in recruiting is the relationship the coaches build with the recruit. You have to be there for the next three, four, five years. You need to [form] a relationship with that guy where you know you can trust him.”
Chapter 5: We Notice the Little Things
- “It’s impressive when a coach comes to [your] game and he doesn’t leave at halftime to go watch another kid in the area. Coaches who stay the whole time, it shows how much they want you.”
Chapter 6: In a Perfect Recruiting World
- “Most [coaches]…repeat the same things over and over. Some guys tell you stats over and over again. I don’t want to hear that. I want to hear family stuff, what the guys on the team are doing. We just don’t want stats.”
Chapter 7: Playing the NFL Card
- “I wonder about recruiters when they start bragging on themselves that they got this guy in the league or that they’re responsible for getting that guy that much money in the league.”
Chapter 8: We’re Not Stupid
- “A recruiter told me: ‘We’re not going to promise you anything. But we’ll try to get the best out of you. If you work hard, we’ll get the best out of you. I really liked that.'” [The player committed to that program.]
Chapter 9: Do What’s Right for You
- “The recruiters are going to come and they’re going to go, but you need to stay focused. Do what you need to do. Concentrate on what’s important to you.”
Be sure to tune in to tonight’s game, and go beyond simply watching it. Use your viewing time to study the premier talent, and measure how your skills stack up. A solid, and honest, evaluation of your potential will help you find the best fit at the next level.
Before they became Under Armour All-Americans, these blue-chippers participated in Under Armour combines across the country. To see how the combines have evolved over the past year, check out the video above. You’ll get an exclusive look at the all-encompassing Combine360.
Photo: Davide DePas for ESPN.com