The STACK 2012 Recruiting Guide

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There are thousands of big, fast and confident high school athletes around the country, who are dominating league games, making defenses look foolish, setting county records and dreaming about playing big-time college ball. Thousands of game-changers—but relatively few roster spots available on big college teams.

Many talented high school athletes will fail to receive the scholarship offers they're expecting, having nothing to do with how they play on the field. To separate yourself from the pack, you've got to learn how to interact with coaches, what to look for on campus visits and the secrets of self marketing. You've got to get the grades, find the right fit and count on your support network. You've got to have the right attitude, pay attention to details and do it all while playing at a high level.

STACK's comprehensive guide covers you from all angles, so you can stay up-to-date and informed—and, hopefully, land a roster spot at your dream college.

Maybe you'll pick a small school, like Detroit Tigers P Justin Verlander (he went to Old Dominion). "I was a number-one starter as a freshman," says the defending Cy Young Award winner and AL MVP. "If I'd gone to a bigger school, I might not have been able to get the playing time as a freshman, which really helped me develop." If you do pick a bigger school, like former Cal Bear and current Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl TE Tony Gonzalez, keep your grades up. He says, "Focus on the graduation success rate of the athletes. Pro sports aren't promised to anybody, so you better have a backup plan."

Maybe you haven't heard from anybody. If that's the case, don't be afraid to reach out and touch base with contacts at schools you'd like to attend, like Philadelphia Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha suggests: "I would call the schools that I was interested in to ask them if they were interested. Send the coach your tape and open their eyes to who you are. It could work out for you."

Read on for more advice from top pros and recruiting experts. Get a plan together with STACK's help, and you could be on a college campus soon.

6 Tips for Taking Standardized Tests

Support Network
Build an Athlete Support Network
How to Network
Key Recruiting Websites

Financial Aid
How to Get Money for College
3 Keys to Scoring More Cash for College

Self Marketing
The Recruiting Power of Facebook
Build Your Brand as an Athlete
Expand Your Social Media Presence

5 Keys to Researching Athletic Programs
Inside Conference Realignment
Official vs. Unofficial College Visits
Important NCAA Rules and Regulations

How to Deal With College Coaches
Confidence vs. Cockiness
Is Coach Interested?

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Topics: COACH