Division 1 Football Dream – How do I go about walking-on in the recruiting process?

Division I Football Dream - How do I go about walking-on?I recently had a chance to speak with a senior football player who is currently immersed in the recruiting process at this point.  The schools that he has been hearing from are mainly in-state Division III programs as well as a few Division II schools from around his area.  And while he likes those schools and would be content in his eventual decision, he has dreamt of playing Division I football.

The good news is that this senior is realistic.  He doesn’t expect State University to come out of the blue and offer a scholarship.  He knows that the only way he will be playing at this school is by walking-on.  But so far, the contact between him and the school is limited.  He has his high school coach contacting the college coaches but nothing has come out of it (imagine that).  If I were in his shoes, there were some things that I would do to try and earn a walk-on spot.

As always, let me preface this by saying that 99% of athletes who are only getting Division III interest may simply not be good enough to play at the Division I level.  You may have went to camp at State University since you were five but they are not going to take a player just because they know football.  They want someone who they feel can eventually produce.  If you can’t, your next best step may be asking to be a manager.

Right now, most schools have a good feel of where their recruiting board sits with the Class of 2011.  They don’t know exactly how the chips will fall but these coaches have players ranked as potentially getting a scholarship, a grayshirt, and even a preferred walk-on spot.  Most colleges usually do not use all of the NCAA allotted official visits so they are bringing in their walk-ons officially late in the process.  If it is an honest school, most coaches let recruits know beforehand that it will only be a walk-on role.

So if you are already this far in the process and have little to no contact from State University, you are definitely behind when compared to other recruits.  The biggest thing that you are now trying to do is finding a way to get yourself and your tape in front of these coaches to be evaluated.  It is not going to be easy because coaches won’t exactly be spending a ton of time on walk-on recruits.  Here are some things to consider:

Make your high school coach really push your name out there
College coaches will trust what high school coaches have to say much better than what you or your parent say.  You need to make sure that your high school coach is on the ball about this.  Ask him honestly if he thinks you are good enough.  If the answer is no and you still want to do it, you may be on your own for marketing.  Unless your high school coach is your dad, don’t expect him to blindly push you if he doesn’t think you can play at the Division I level.

Send your recruiting profile with a link to video before Signing Day 2011
If you want to make a push before Signing Day, think long and hard about which coach to email.  Find the recruiting coordinator or one that you feel has the time to possibly deal with you.  Make sure to include that you have spent your life dreaming of playing for them.  They may actually look into it more if that is the case.

Send your recruiting profile with a link to video before Signing Day 2011
This may actually be the best method simply because the coaches should have more time.  Bowls should be completed as well as final evaluations of the recruiting class for the most part.  Now they may want to take a few walk-ons here and there in the process and hopefully you will be one of them.

Track your contact with coaches
If Coach A doesn’t respond to an email within a week, try giving him a call.  If he doesn’t respond to that within a week, try Coach B.  Try not to be overly annoying in this process but what is the worst they can do, tell you that you are not good enough?

Your back is against the wall and the odds are against you.  But if it is your dream to play at State University, you might as well try these methods and see what happens.  The worst they can say is no and the best is to live out your dream.

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