What is an athletic recruiting board and how does it factor in during the recruiting process?

What is an athletic recruiting board?One of the most interest aspects of the recruiting processes at all levels is what is called a recruiting board.  This is where college coaches have an ongoing white board where they have recruits listed that they are looking at for different positions.  In the majority of cases, these recruiting boards are basically seen only by the college coaches at the school.  Few others see them and that makes it nearly impossible to find anything about it when searching for them.

How the coaches use these recruiting boards really depend on the school and the sport.  Some coaches have different lettering as to how they rate the recruits.  They normally have athletes broken down by position.  When they do this, if you are a quarterback in high school but project as a tight end, they will keep you at the tight end portion of the recruiting board.

In most cases, they list their most sought after athletes at the top of the recruiting board.  At the Division I level, I am willing to bet that schools like USC, Florida, and many other top programs throughout the country normally have the same athletes near or at the top of the recruiting board because they are recruiting the same players.  This goes for Division II schools and Division III schools that are also close to one another in terms of location.

If families and recruits knew exactly where they stood on the recruiting board for the colleges that are recruiting them, it would be a much simpler process for them to be able to get a feel for where they stood.  The problem with that is coaches try to not divulge that information until the last moment that they can.

The reason that coaches do this is because they need backup recruits.  I have talked about this before but say that State University needs one quarterback in the recruiting class of 2012.  They have one offer to a quarterback that is out of state and may be a long shot overall.  They then could have five to six other recruits listed in order of which ones they prefer.  If State University loses this recruit to USC, then they are likely going to evaluate the situation with the other quarterbacks and then make a decision about a scholarship offer.

If a school loses their top recruit and they feel that quarterbacks 2 and 3 are very similar, the school may very well offer both and tell them that the first one to make a decision will be the one getting the scholarship offer.  This gives them an advantage because they could start deadlining a quarterback and pressuring them to make a quick decision.  It helps them to end their recruiting at quarterback for the Class of 2012.

College coaches are very aware of how many recruits they want at each position.  While things can easily change with an athlete transferring, they know where their current scholarship situation stands.  They will keep that in mind with the recruiting board and ranking recruits.  Even if a scholarship position is filled, the staff will likely continue recruiting the other athletes under the scholarship radar as possible walk ons.  They want to make sure that they have enough bodies to compete over the next four or five years.

In an article I wrote earlier this week about Alabama coach Nick Saban, they use a number system to rank their recruits on the recruiting board.  Here is what the article said:

A player gets a rating for his height, weight and speed compared to the ideal for his position. A “1-1-1″ prospect has ideal everything. Other schools will use an A, B, C system during the recruiting process. They want to make sure their evaluation is as complete as possible, especially in football.

Again, as mentioned above, it really depends on the school and how they decide to rank recruits.  Some do it like Saban, some use the alphabet, and others use a hybrid of both systems.  You may never know here you are ranked by a college coach but this also shows the importance of starting the recruiting process early.

If you are sending out profiles shortly after your junior year (or sophomore year if you have logged varsity minutes) it will definitely help in the recruiting battle.  The earlier you start marketing yourself to college coaches, the better a position you will be in on their recruiting board.  While it doesn’t mean a scholarship is for sure headed your way, it will help with being evaluated during camps and the spring.  That definitely could not hurt anything.

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