It seems that I am writing daily about how early recruiting letters and form mail basically mean zilch in the overall athletic recruiting process. It doesn’t matter the sport at all because these coaches are just trying to make sure that they have added you to their recruiting database with thousands of other athletes across the country.
The reason why getting as many athletes jammed into these recruiting databases is simple. These coaches do not want to miss out an athlete so they use Rivals, Scout, ESPN, high school coaches, and any other thing that comes into their path to add athletes to this database. But with so many athletes in there, problems do arise and a good one did recently.
I stumbled this article and loved it. It is what I believe is a perfect reason to show once again for yet another time that until hand written mail and phone calls start coming, letters mean zero, zilch, nada. This article was written by Ron Morris of thestate.com.
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Basically what the article talks about is how a high school by the name of Ryan Miller has received football recruiting letters from schools like South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, North Carolina State, and many others. The problem with it is that this Miller has never played football and instead is in the band. Here are a few interesting parts that stood out from the article.
The episode has been a mystery to Miller and his parents, Derek and Joyce. The explanation of how Miller got to be such a sought-after commodity is a simple one, at least according to Shane Beamer, USC’s recruiting coordinator. Beamer surmises that Miller’s address was somehow mixed up with that of another Ryan Miller, a football recruit from Andrew Jackson Academy in Ehrhardt.
USC, Illinois and many other schools subscribe to recruiting services that provide mailing lists of potential recruits. Early in the recruiting season, USC might have as many as 1,000 names on its list. The list is gradually whittled down to the 50 or so USC wants to pursue.
Still, the Millers have had fun with the recruiting process. Ryan admits to bragging to his friends, particularly those who play football, about the letters he received from Beamer and Illinois coach Ron Zook.
None of his football-playing friends was asked in a letter if they had “thought about how you are going to lead the University of South Carolina to the SEC championship and the national championship! We can do it with you!” None was invited to attend USC’s Garnet and Black game this past spring.
Miller considered the latter offer, but then realized his appearance would blow his cover. At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Miller has seen far too many salad bars and not nearly enough all-you-can-eat pancake specials.
Illinois included a full page of color photos showing what an Illini game day looked like and a quote from former Illini great Mike Ditka: “The ones who want to achieve and win championships motivate themselves.”
Surely Ditka must have known of Miller being motivationally challenged when it comes to football, other than the backyard variety. Despite being invited to several college football camps in the summer, Miller never so much as responded. He did attend Camp Ridgecrest, an all-boys gathering of Christians in the North Carolina mountains, where he admits to lifting weights for the first and only time.
Again, when college coaches have a database of thousands of prospective athletes, there are going to be mistakes frequently. It just happens. The article didn’t say it specifically but it is obvious that USC (which is South Carolina by the way) sent out a great deal of form mail to hundreds and likely thousands of athletes.
Getting this mail is a very cool experience as a high school athlete but if you really are a Division I player, then the mail will eventually start getting annoying and be bothersome. The early stuff is great but then it will get old quick. As I recently said in another article, it is likely the athletes that don’t go on to this level that the mail means the most to.
So if you have started are about to start getting mail, I hate to say this but don’t get your hope up too high when this form mail comes in. Unless it talks specifically about a scholarship, then it is worthless. And going back to the band member here, I can promise you he is not the only one receiving random mail from Division I schools.