As high school football teams are heading toward the playoffs in their respective states and college football teams are jockeying for bowl position, some of the most intense battles are taking place behind the scenes -- the fight for the top recruits. Recruiting has become its own animal, and whether you are a college coach trying to strengthen your program or a high school player trying to get a scholarship, it's important to understand the process before you can play the game.
Technology and the Internet have greatly improved the dissemination of recruiting information, yet many parents, players and high school coaches are still somewhat in the dark. Most high school athletes only go through the process once and don't fully understand it until it is over. That is often too late.
Whether you are a top-1,000 player with several Division I-A scholarship offers or a starter simply hoping for an opportunity to play at the collegiate level, there are some basic steps that need to be taken to help ensure your future. There are also some simple pitfalls that you must avoid in order to achieve your goals.
Here are the most often heard misconceptions:
My high school coach identified me, probably correctly, as a Division I-AA prospect. Because of that designation, I only got letters from Division I-A schools that I contacted personally. There were other players around my area getting Division I-A letters who weren't as good as me, yet their coach may have identified them as a Division I-A prospect and so the mass mailings came pouring in.
And here's what you should know in order to put yourself in the best position to achieve recruiting success.
They have to; they can not afford to miss a diamond in the rough. That means Penn State watches more than 2,000 videos every year. My alma mater, Princeton University, receives roughly 1,500 tapes each year and they scour every single one in hopes of finding the next All-Ivy League player. Every Division III school that I have spoken with receives and watches at least 400 videos a year.
Visits are currently taking place on campuses all over the country every weekend. High school recruits are going to college football games and taking campus tours as they try to decipher where they want to spend the next four years. College football fans need only look at the sidelines the next time their team plays to get a glimpse of the prospects whose decisions will determine their team's success in the very near future.
The players on the sidelines, the subjects of those behind-the-scenes battles, must master the recruiting process and weigh their options as they begin to make one of the most important decisions of their lives.