An athlete I had a chance to speak with about the football recruiting process basically mentioned to me that a number of Division III and NAIA schools were showing him interest. This schools were genuinely hoping to land him at the college level. Each was going to offer him a solid package to get him at their school.
But what stood out to me was his desire to walk-on at the Division I level. He had been trying to contact State University A and State University B to see if that option could possibly be available. This athlete said that his dream would be to play at those schools and seemed to throw the smaller programs to the wayside. Will doing so hurt his overall recruiting?
First off, I must say that college coaches likely are aware that athletes have huge eyes when looking towards college. They hope that State University and other programs think that they are good enough so there will be at least one scholarship offer. These coaches have been around long enough to see athlete after athlete get no love from State University and eventually have to pick them, their backup choice.
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That happens all the time because the majority of athletes have two problems. They are not realistic of their own abilities and they don’t understand how good you have to be in order to play at a Division I State University. This plagues families and athletes every year. It is amazingly refreshing to me when a family actually is only looking at smaller schools and not assuming that they are getting screwed by someone in the recruiting process.
Then again, if your dream is to play Division I football, basketball, or any other sport, what is it going to hurt to try and send out information in hopes of living your dream? The worst case scenario is that they don’t respond or they say that you are not good enough. Your dream may be shot but at least you gave it a try.
If you do decide to give it a try, make sure that you are not broadcasting it and talking to members of the media about it. I am all for broadcasting scholarships and your athletic recruiting attention but putting your dream out there is a mistake.
I am not saying that you need to lie about who is recruiting you. Just take the time to quietly email or call a college coach and keep it within your family. If your dream works out, great. Then you can thank the smaller schools for recruiting you but an opportunity has opened that will give you a chance to live your dream.
This shot in the dark could leave you with your smaller school options but that isn’t a bad thing at all. The last thing you want to do is make a coach mad by talking about how great these Division I programs are and how all you want to do is play there. That is demeaning to small colleges and something you should avoid commenting on publicly.