I’m a junior football recruit who has college interest but no current scholarships. What should I do?

I'm a junior football recruit who has college interest but no scholarships.  What should I do?With Signing Day 2014 now behind us, the football recruits currently in the junior class need to be on top of the ball with the recruiting process.  As I have always talked about, the sooner that you can get started, the better it will be for your overall football recruiting journey.  That doesn’t mean if you can’t play but you start marketing today that there will be multiple scholarship offers to turn down.  What it means is that the earlier you get your abilities in front of coaches, the easier it is to get an evaluation from the staff.

There are thousands of junior recruits (Class of 2015) who are in this boat that I am talking about.  They want to play football at the college level and have received some interest from coaches.  This may include questionnaires, camp invites, and things along those lines.  But there are no offers and the recruiting attention has not yet been overwhelming.  What should I do?

The first thing you should do is gauge the interest that you are receiving at this point.  Is it just Division III schools?  Are programs just sending you camp invites?  The key here is to get a feel for these programs.  If they have sent you letters, now may be time for you to contact them.  What you want to do is introduce yourself and see if there are any Junior Day visits coming up that you could attend.  These can help you get a much better feeling for the program overall and what the school has to offer.

I hate going off on this but for Junior Days, make sure to get a feel for how many other athletes that there will be on the visit.  I recently spoke with a junior who went on one of these trips and thought he would get a chance to ask the coaching staff questions.  Instead, the family spent good money for traveling and lodging but was only one of 150 athletes in attendance.  Good luck asking a coach a question if there are that many people there.  So try to get a feel for the number before making a long trip.  If the Junior Day is close and not a hassle to get to, you might as well go.  They are likely going to feed you on the trip and you will learn something new about the program.

One thing that I would recommend is being able to bring a copy of your highlight video to the coaches while you are on your visit if you haven’t done so already.  What this means is that if you have not yet made a recruiting highlight video or are waiting for someone to finish it, you need to speed the process along or find someone else (see www.highlight-videos.com for more on an inexpensive video).

If you find the recruiting attention that you are getting is not what you want or you are hoping for more schools to evaluate your abilities, then it is important to go through steps two and three of The Five Steps to a Scholarship Offer.  The first is to find schools that match you in your area, which is the second step.  I always need to mention this but don’t randomly send out emails to any school in your area.  Actually put some time into the process and find schools that can fit you athletically, academically, and socially.  This is key to finding a program that fits you.

Once the schools are found, then your next step is to market yourself to the programs.  This includes emails to the college coaches.  Always make sure to track when you contact the coaches and if you get a response.  This will give you a good opportunity to either move on to another coach when emailing or trying to send a second email to that same coach you contacted previously.  If you track your emails sent, it makes it much easier in the long run.

It may be a while away but you can start looking into spring practice visits and summer camps.  For summer camps, I would not sign up for anything yet.  You will want to speak with the coaches about attending for only one day so that you save money and time.  These college coaches should be able to evaluate athletes within one day if you are good enough for a scholarship offer.  And for the most part, don’t take camp invites serious unless they are really recruiting you.  These camp invites are a great way for coaches to make some big money during the summer.  Spring combines that don’t charge anything may also be something that you should look into.  Again, if they charge over $30, chances are that they are a waste of money.

Schools no longer have the excuse saying that they are focusing on the Class of 2014.  This is a great time to get your information in front of the coaches.  Starting today is the best thing you can do in the recruiting process.

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