Recruiting – Gauging Their Level of Interest

As a high school coach, and as a parent, the question is often asked during the recruiting process – “How interested is (school X) in me (or my son or daughter)?”.  I also have heard conversations along the line of “Did you hear that Johnny Joe is being recruited by LSU?”  How can you gauge the level of recruiting interest from a particular school, and how can you tell if Johnny Joe is indeed being recruited by LSU?

level of interest

This pyramid represents various actions that a college or university might take during the recruiting process – from the very basic at the bottom, to the ultimate sign of interest at the top.  Although it is not hard and fast, from my experience it is a fairly accurate gauge regarding the level of recruiting interest.  From my experience, too, the actions normally follow sequentially in this progression.  For example, a college probably will not set up an official visit for you if they have not evaluated your video.

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

 

You can download these versions of the pyramid here:

Here is a step by step breakdown of each level:

You receive a letter from the college – Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but receiving a letter from a college or university does not mean you are being recruited.  It means you are on their list, which is a start, and is a good thing.  But colleges literally send out thousands of letters to potential recruits in the beginning of the process.  These letters can start arriving as soon as your sophomore year in school, and are usually based on your high school coaches recommendation.

College coach requests video – Normally in the Spring, college coaches will begin putting together their recruiting lists for the next season.  They will either physically visit your high school campus and talk with your head coach, or correspond via email or phone.  It used to be pretty much the norm that college coaches would visit in person in the spring because they had to physically pick up actual video tapes.  With the advent of Hudl and other online video services, college coaches now have the ability to get this information electronically in an instant.

College Coach visits you at school  During the Fall, after an initial evaluation has been completed, college coaches will start making the rounds and begin their in person visits with the prospective student athletes at school.  Typically, coaches will only do a face to face visit with players they believe have a chance of being a scholarship athlete in their program.   It is an indication of a higher level of interest, but still not a true indication of their final intent.  During this visit, really an initial “job interview” they will continue to gather information such as your academic interests, family background, and other schools you may have an interest in.  They will also give you the “eyeball” test to see if you really are 6’4” and 225 lbs, or actually 5’11” and 195 lbs !

Coach sends you a text.  If a coach begins developing a relationship with you by sending a text or email, that again is an indication of a higher level of interest.  Keep in mind, too, that both of those methods are fairly impersonal, and can be done “en masse” as well.

Coach calls you – When a college coach takes the time to actually call you and talk on the phone, it is an indication of a fairly high level of interest.  It is something that has to be done individually and is unique to you.  You can not do it in a group, or copy and paste like you can with email or text.  Things are getting serious at this level.

Offer Official Visit – This indicates a very high level of interest.  This is only referring to an “Officialvisit – one where the college or university is paying for you (and your parents) to travel and visit their campus.  Colleges normally will have you (and your parents) spend the night, feed you, pay travel expenses, give you tickets to games, etc.  All this is legal (to a point) and what most colleges will do regarding Official visits.  While you are on campus, their evaluation of you will continue, as yours of them should as well.  Normally colleges will not spend the time, money, or energy bringing a prospect on campus for an Official visit if they are not planning to invest some scholarship aid in that athlete.

Home Visit – Typically, prior to you and your family coming on an Official visit, the recruiting coach, head coach, or both will try to schedule a visit in your home with you and your family.  If the head coach is taking the time out of his schedule to come to your home and talk to you and your family (selling himself and his program) they are VERY interested in you.

Scholarship Offer – Of course, this indicates nearly the highest level of interest.  Often, but not always, this offer is made during the Official visit.  Remember, on any level other than FBS, this offer may range anywhere from a small partial scholarship to a “full ride”.  It is very important to remember, too, that this verbal offer is NOT binding until the LOI (Letter of Intent) is signed, typically on the National Signing Date.  You can verbally “commit” at this time (or any time) but that is not binding as well.  Up until the LOI is signed, a college can pull their offer of financial assistance, and the student-athlete can change their mind as well.  Both the offer and “verbal commitment” are non-binding.

LOI – Congratulations!  You made it to the top!  This is a binding, legal document between the college or university and you.  You will also sign a one-year athletic scholarship agreement with the college or university.  The LOI must be accompanied by an offer of athletic financial assistance.  An NCAA school cannot have you sign a LOI if you are “walking on”.  At this point, it is important to note that the financial assistance offer is for one year, and can be renewed each year.  If an NCAA school says they are offering you a “4 year scholarship” that is not completely honest.  Typically, they will honor the agreement for 4-5 years, but they are not bound to that amount.

college recruiting ebookThis is a LOT of information to digest at one time… I know.  I did want to get it into your hands this springs as the process begins anew.  As a general rule of thumb, the more effort the coach or college is expending during the process (a phone call as opposed to a text message) the more interested they are in you.

 

At some point I will break down the major steps into individual posts and spend a little more time with each.  And as with all of my previous recruiting posts, this is an excerpt from an eBook I have written about the recruiting process – “Wanted…. and Rewarded”

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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College Entrance Exams – ACT/ SAT

When college recruiters come through the door of your high school, either physically, or virtually, they will have with them a checklist.  It may be an actual document they are using to check off your attributes, or it may just be a “checklist” they have in their brain.  It will include many of the qualities that we have already talked about (links provided):

If any of these “checkmarks” are missing, you are making yourself LESS marketable – that includes your initial eligibility status.  If a college recruiter has several athletes on their list that are all equally good players physically, then the player that has already taken, and has scored a qualifying score on the standardized test has a jump on the competition.  The recruiter knows, without question, they can proceed recruiting this student-athlete without fear of a bad surprise down the road.

One of the very first stops the college coach will make after visiting with your high school coach and evaluating film will be either checking your status with the NCAA Clearinghouse or NAIA Clearinghouse, or actually making a trip to your guidance counselors office to check on your initial eligibility.  One piece that determines your initial eligibility is your test score on either the ACT or SAT college placement test.

ACT_logoIn order to determine your eligibility your freshman year in a NCAA Division I school, the NCAA uses “sliding scale” that takes into account both your Core GPA (minimum 16 units) and your test score.  Basically, the higher Core GPA you have, the lower a test score you could have (and visa versa) and still be eligible.  The entire sliding scale can be found here: Divisions I and II Initial-Eligibility Requirements which is at the NCAA Clearinghouse site.

For example, if your Core GPA is 3.55 or above, you could have an ACT Sum (adding your Reading, English, Math and Science sub scores) of 37 or a SAT score of 400 and still be eligible.  If your Core GPA was a 2.5, your ACT Sum would have to be a 68 or SAT score of 820 in order to be eligible your Freshman year.  Beginning in August 2016, a different sliding scale will be used in Division I schools that will have two scales – one to determine aid and practice eligibility, and one to determine initial eligibility for competition.

For NCAA Division II schools, there is no sliding scale. In order to be eligible, you must have a minimum ACT Sum score of 68, or an SAT score of 820.  This is in addition to having a minimum GPA of 2.0 in at least 16 Core courses.

For initial eligibility in a NAIA school, you must have a minimum  composite score of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT.

In addition to eligibility, for many student-athletes, a good test score can have additional positive results.  Many, if not most, FCS, NCAA Division II, and NAIA schools will have academic scholarship levels that will be based on, among other things, your ACT or SAT test scores.  These academic scholarships often range from $500 up to a full tuition award.  Also, remember athletic scholarships below the FBS level are often divided up into partial awards (see my previous post on Expanding the Pool).  So it is quite conceivable that if you score well on your college entrance exam, that this academic aid could be added to a partial athletic award, thereby increasing your total aid package!

I recommend that athletes take the college entrance exam early, and often.  There is no penalty for taking it more than one time – your best score will be used.  From my experience, most students score better after their initial test, for a number of reasons.  Students often get more comfortable with the test and testing environment, and often you will have taken additional course work that will help you in sections of the exam.  The only drawback is the cost of taking the test more than once.  Also, If you take the test early and see you need additional help, such as an ACT/ SAT prep course (many high schools and communities offer these) then you have time to do that before your clock starts counting down.

What is “early”? – I would say after your sophomore year if possible, and at the latest after your junior year.  I also recommend that you do not take the test on a Saturday that falls in your competitive season. Here is a schedule of the 2013 testing dates and deadlines:

Next up… what is the Clearinghouse (NCAA and NAIA) and Core courses.

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

 

Any questions?  Email or Comment!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com