I recently had a chance to do a question and answer with a parent who saw her son eventually sign with a Division I-AA powerhouse. This All Stater really shined during the end of the season and was able to secure a scholarship despite having two major Division I players also on his team. This is a very in-depth account of what the stress that parents go through during the recruiting process. I owe her a huge thank you for helping inform readers of what she went through. This is part one of a two part article.
Please describe the recruiting process that your son went through?
“Prior to the State Playoffs and the Championship game his senior year, there was mild to moderate interest, primarily from DII and DIII programs. The recruiting coach for our area from State University #1 also regularly spoke to him when he came to visit two other young men from our high school who had committed to State University. He was recruited by the them, and later by another State University #2, as a “preferred walk-on” at the running back/fullback position. Following the playoffs and championship game, recruiting really picked up. He gained a lot of notoriety following those games, as he had outstanding performances, and at that point the phone started ringing off the hook.”
Had you had much experience with recruiting before this?
“Very Little. John knew more about what was going on than my husband and I. It seems odd to me, but often times the coaches would contact him directly on his cell phone and we wouldn’t even know who all he was talking to a lot of the time.”
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How many summer camp invites did you receive?
“He only received one camp invitation. That was to Out of State University believe it or not. He did not go.”
How many summer camps did you attend?
“He attended camp at State University #1 in the summer twice and went to State University #2 camp twice. He also attended State University #2’s elite” camp one time with a small group of boys from the high school. He was not invited to Junior day at any schools.”
How many highlight tapes did you send to college coaches?
“Not many. One of his high school coaches made him a highlight DVD following his junior season, and then again following his senior season. A few got sent to State University #1 and State University #2. I think he might have sent one to Michigan State and Nebraska also, but that was about it.
Did you randomly send out tape or was it only to schools that requested it?
“Only those that requested it or that contacted him.”
Did you use a recruiting service for the process?
If not, how did you keep track of recruiting?
“We didn’t really.”
What was the hardest part of the recruiting process?
“The time between when he was offered by State University #3 (Where he eventually signed) and signing day. He really struggled with his decision and that was hard to watch. That and trying to offer my son advice without sounding like I was pressuring him into a decision. As a parent, you are so used to making decisions that are “for their own good” as they grow up, and this was the first really big decision he was making without me to tell him what to do. It was really hard to keep out of it and let him make the decision that was right for him.”
A big part of his recruiting process was playing at State. Talk about the importance of that, and if the team had lost early in the playoffs, where do you think he would have been school wise?
“Once we got to State for the semifinal and final games, John was finally able to showcase his talent. Everyone was shocked by his performances. What a lot of them didn’t know was that the high school team had beaten most of their opponents by so many points that year, John didn’t have the “numbers” that a lot of the running backs and linebackers in the state did because most of the time he only played about half of the game. Plus, there had been considerable media coverage of two teammates, and those were the only two names anybody knew on the squad. Anyway, here comes this kid that no one outside our district knew was any good, and he has two awesome games at State. He received the Player of the Game award for the 3A state finals game, and then received the MVP of all six championship games that year. He also set a 3A record for most rushing yards in a finals game. And who is sitting in the stands but his future college coach. So, sometimes it isn’t how good you are, it is timing and luck, and whether or not you get the opportunity to SHOW people how good you are. If we had lost early and not made it to State, or even if we had not come back and won in the semifinals to get to the finals, I am sure that John would have continued to be under everyone’s radar, and he would have ended up as a walk-on at State University #1. The way it worked out, he got his schooling paid for, and he gets to play defense, which is the position he wanted to play in college. Everybody else that recruited him did so as a ball carrier.”
Look for part two of this article in the very near future!
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