For those junior football recruits out there, I can tell you that it is very difficult to determine how serious certain coaching staffs are about you during the football recruiting process. I can honestly say that unless you have a written scholarship offer, it is extremely hard to tell where you sit at this point.
What makes it so tough is that it is before college coaches can come visit the school and call you on the phone. The calls are a major sign that they are going to evaluate you during the football recruiting process. But with that nearly two months away, it is never going to be easy to get a great feel for what the coaches think about you. However, here are some signs to look for regarding which schools have are serious about your abilities.
Junior Day Invite
I cannot think of one major Division I-A football program that does not hold a Junior Day. I am sure there is a program that exists but I know schools like Texas, Alabama, and many other national powerhouses that bring in some of their top rated athletes to show them what they have to offer. This is why Texas is able to secure so many standout recruits in the current crop of juniors.
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But this Junior Day invite can also be misleading. For example, I have read that Michigan State and Alabama both brought in 150 athletes for a recent Junior Day. If 150 show up, how many do you think were invited? My guess is something between 300 to 400. The more other athletes there are at the Junior Day, the less this invite means. Also see how often coaches talk to you and if they know who you are right away without reading your name tag. The more interest the coaches show in you and you alone, the better for how they feel about you. These coaches must talk to basically everyone there but if they spend more time focusing on talking to you and your family, that is a good thing.
Hand Written Letters
They don’t mean that much but hand written letters are extremely nice to get from college coaches. It shows that they are taking the time to write you and talk to you about their program. Try to look if they mention anything specific about you and what you have accomplished in a number of sports. My guess is that the majority of these hand written letters are rather generic overall.
Are the college coaches trying to build a bond with you through email? Because calls can’t start for a few months and text messages are banned, college coaches may go the email route with the athletes that are email savvy. If they are just saying that you should come to their summer camp, then it doesn’t mean much. If they are asking questions about you, then it is a good thing.
Frequent talks with your high school coach
College coaches do an excellent job using the high school coach to find out as much information as possible about an athlete. As much as your high school coach loves you, he may tell the college coach how you hate to lift weights and are somewhat lazy. Your high school coach is not going to lie to them. But the more times that the college coach contacts your high school specifically about you, the better.
So if you are trying to get a good feel for where the coaches stand, these are some important things. If can be a mix between all of them. And just to let you know, if you are using this to determine what camps you should attend, just wait a until April and May when they can officially start calling. There is no reason to throw down a few hundred dollars on a school you think is recruiting you but is actually only trying to pad their camp numbers.