There have been some interesting comments on a few of the recent columns related to what it means when a college coach visits the high school of a potential athletic recruit. One reader felt that if a Division I college coach flew to your school, then you had it “in the bag.” Another poster had seen a Division I college coach come to the school to talk to two players and neither ended up with a scholarship offer.
So the question is what is the importance of having a college coach visit you during the athletic recruiting process? First off, when a college coach visits your school, regardless of level, it definitely is not a bad thing. But it doesn’t mean that there will be a certain scholarship offer on the table coming your way either.
There are two main times when the college coaches make visits to talk to the high school coaches and say “hello” to potential prospects (if of course you happen to run into them while they are there, which seems to happen rather frequently). It is normally during the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year. Both times of the year, in my opinion, mean something different.
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It is normally the bigger schools that are making the visits during the spring of your junior year. It is in late April and May when they can visit as well as call you during that month as well. But let me stress that these coaches travel the country and try to hit as many schools as they can. While I don’t have a number off hand, I know that staffs at most schools visit hundreds of colleges at this time. And even if a school doesn’t have a Division I player in the current class doesn’t mean that they will visit.
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Again, while it is nice to show your face to a prospect at a school in the eyes of a college coach, the biggest reason for this visit may be to foster the relationship between the college coach and the high school coach. The college coach may end up recruiting a player years down the road from this school but because he built a relationship early, that could play out well for him. So just because the assistant coach of State University makes an appearance at your high school doesn’t mean you are getting a scholarship offer. It could just be building a relationship with your coach.
A perfect example of this is in a small state in the Midwest that only produces a low number of Division I athletes. But apparently UCLA felt that they needed to make the trip to visit a variety of high school coaches throughout the state. This college coach was flying to the state to build relationships and maybe set up some connections for future years. To my knowledge, UCLA has only offered a scholarship to one player in this state in the last ten or so years. But they are coming to build relationships.
The visits in the fall are a different story. Because these coaches have targeted the majority of their recruits, they will want to show their face and make sure that the athlete knows that they are visiting the school. If there is no offer on the table, they may be getting more film from the coach and doing another eyeball test. These coaches also spend time chatting with one another. So if you are in the doghouse, as much as your high school coach likes you, he will likely be honest with the college coach.
The fall visits are when the coaches have a lot less time because they are in-season. That means they won’t be going to schools where they are building relationships with the coaches. The key is to make sure that the athlete knows they are visiting, catch up with the high school coach, and see what else can help them with his recruiting.
I have to stress this that even if a college coach flies out to see you in the fall, there are no guarantees. Until you get a written offer stating that they have a scholarship for you, then nothing is in the bag. Having college coaches visit your school is a good thing but nothing to get too excited about. Expect them to bring plenty of camp brochures as they “extend invites” to this camp to you. Like the mailed camp invites, don’t expect much unless they are actually recruiting you.