I have stressed the importance of taking The Five Steps to a Scholarship every month that I have been running this site. I assume most readers of the site have checked them out before but they are the keys to getting yourself evaluated by college coaches. But with the small amount of college scholarships at the college level, you may end up needing some luck in the football recruiting process as well.
Previously I mentioned a story regarding a top flight offensive lineman being committed to the main in-state school. He changed his mind over the summer and that left a void for a lineman at State University. In steps another in-state athlete who worked hard and was looking for his chance to play at the Division I-A level. That is a great story and all but one of the craziest recruiting journeys has unfolded right in front of my eyes over the last few months. And it is something any recruit hopes will happen to them.
Let me start with a little background on the recruit who saw his stock rise extremely high. He is a 6-foot-6, 250 pound lineman who has excelled in football and basketball. He plays for a big school that gets little recognition so during his entire playing career, he didn’t earn anything more than All Conference honors. This recruit had been hearing from Division I-A, I-AA, and II schools the last few years in the recruiting process.
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When I talked to this recruit in October, all he was receiving was phone calls from college coaches. He had no offers at that point. In 99% of situations like this, the recruit ends up getting walk-on spots at the Division I-A schools and then possibly scholarships at the other smaller programs recruiting him. In this situation, I would have bet that this would have been how his recruiting played out.
State University #1 had been recruiting him early on while he was a sophomore but had backed off while he was a junior. State University #2 had continued to recruit him throughout the recruiting process and was still calling him during the fall. There was a chance that a scholarship may come but in my opinion, it would have been very late in the process.
This is where it starts to get a little confusing so please bear with me. The head coach of State University #2 makes a shocking decision to leave the program and head elsewhere. With an opening at the school, the recruits committed to State University #2 decide to start looking around. One of their previously committed recruits, a lineman, decides to start contacting a few programs and gets in touch with State University #1. The coaches at State University #1 request tape and evaluate him.
One of the tapes that this committed recruit sends is against the player I had previously mentioned with zero scholarship offers at this point. The coaches at State University #1 are wowed by his play. They start requesting more film on an athlete who many would have guessed would be off of their radar. Despite flying very far under the radar, they are in love with his ability on the field.
Right before the holiday break, the coaches at State University #1 call and offer this athlete a grayshirt offer (see Updated Recruiting Definitions for more on a Grayshirt Offer). So a school that he expected nothing from comes out of nowhere after being wowed by his play on tape that they end up offering him this grayshirt offer. How his video got into the hands of these coaches is an amazing story. But this tale definitely does not end here.
A few weeks later, State University #2 ends up hiring a coach with local ties. The new coaching staff decides to make in-state athletes a major focus for this recruiting class. He requests that this recruit, now with a grayshirt offer from State University #1, make a visit to their school. The recruit does and ends up leaving with a full scholarship offer right off the bat.
Division I-AA State University calls up and says that they need to get this athlete on campus as soon as possible. He ends up making an official visit to this school and is told verbally that there is an offer on table if he wants to take that route. This gives him a third great option at the college level. Basically he will be making a decision between these three schools and has official visits setup for State University #1 and State University #2.
There are a few reasons why I am telling this story. In my opinion, unless State University #1 came in with that offer, there is no way State University #2 would have offered as well. So that is a perfect example of how scholarship offers breed other scholarship offers. This recruit did a fantastic job of informing the right people regarding the scholarship and capitalized from it.
This also shows that anything can happen in the recruiting process. While I wouldn’t sit around hoping that this fairy tale of a ride will happen to you, strange things can happen in the recruiting process. If State University #1 had not been wowed by his play, my guess is that Division I-AA State University would have landed him with a small scholarship offer. But things worked out for an athlete who worked hard and had a little luck late in the football recruiting process.