With less than a month to go before Signing Day 2012 hits, one thing that I heard more than I expected during late December and early January is about how senior football recruits are still open and don’t have any favorites. This happens for two reasons. The first is the athlete doesn’t really want to announce which schools he is favoring at this point. The second is the athlete is receiving very little interest so if any college coaches get word of this and the fact that he is open, they may start recruiting him.
When an athlete tells me that they are currently open this late in the football recruiting process, it seems that they have not done their homework. They likely haven’t out together a recruiting profile, haven’t marketed themselves, haven’t researched the schools, and haven’t put together a highlight video. And if you try doing that and getting a scholarship, unless you are a Reggie Bush type athlete, good luck.
For senior recruits, you should have a great clue as to what schools are extremely serious about you. If you had followed the advice of this site and gone through The Five Steps to a Scholarship Offer, then you likely put yourself in the best situation to be evaluated by college coaches to receive a scholarship. You should already know how serious schools are about you by having read our levels of interest article that I consistently update over time.
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If you are going to be a scholarship football recruit who signs his National Letter of Intent on February 1st, 2012 with the rest of the Class of 2012, then you cannot possibly be open right now. The main reason is that the NCAA gives you five official visits that you can make. These can be made to any NCAA school (Division I-A to Division II. Division III schools do not offer these by the way).
With one month to decide and a limited amount of officials, you really need to know where you will be going and spending a weekend. These overnight trips are invaluable because it gives you a chance to learn more about the coaches, the players, the facilities, campus life, dorm life, and so many other aspects of college life that are nearly impossible to replicate until you become a student at the school.
If you have yet to make any visits, then January is a great month to do so. Even if you are busy with basketball or wrestling, if the coaches want you bad enough, they will accommodate you with a Sunday/Monday trip instead of a Saturday/Sunday official visit.
I understand when athletes will tell me that they are looking hard at three schools. They have setup officials at two of those programs and the third will be getting back to them. They may say something like if any other bigger programs come in, I would look at the them too. This is just keeping the door open in case a big school does lose a commitment and comes calling.
But this football recruit already has done his research and knows what programs he is focused on. If you don’t have anything setup and say that you are still open, you are going down a path that is going to be extremely difficult to land a scholarship offer. So as soon as you can, get back on track by asking coaches that are calling and mailing information to you about official visits. It is late enough in the process that neither party should be wasting their time at this point.
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