Updated Athletic Recruiting Definitions for Parents, Athletes, and Coaches

When talking about the recruiting process, there are a number of different terms and phrases that I use.  While it is something that I assume most people know, I do realize that for people new to the athletic recruiting process, some of these terms may go over your head.  So with that in mind, I have decided to start an article that has different definitions of athletic recruiting terminology.

This definitions article will hopefully be updated every few weeks or months as to help families throughout the recruiting process.  So if there is anything that you have questions about, please let us know so that we can get it added.  The list is in alphabetical order and has a quick definition on each term.  Also see the related articles on each definition as well.

Big Time Athlete Syndrome
After using the media to help publicize your recruiting and help get your name out there, you suddenly don’t update them once a scholarship offer comes in.  This happens all the time to athletes who are suddenly too big time to be loyal to those that helped pub them early on.

Cold Sending
What I mean by this is when an athlete sends out a recruiting highlight video to a college coach without a request.  If you cold send a tape, chances are slim that the coach will be watching it.  In many cases, the tape will end up in the garbage and you will not hear anything from the coach.  I do not recommend cold sending a highlight video.

When a player receives a deadline, the college coach is telling them that they have until a certain day to commit or the school is going to offer another prospect.  For example, your son Jim has until November 1st to commit or we will offer another point guard.  This applies in all different sports but the smaller the scholarship number, the more often it happens.

Division I Eyes
This is a recruit that will only look at Division I schools in the sport of his or her choice.  Having Division I eyes is a terrible decision because it limits the amount of schools that you will look into.

Eyeball Test
This is something college coaches love to do before offering an athlete a scholarship.  They want to see that player in person so that their listed height and weight are realistic.  If they are impressed by the highlight tape and the athlete passes this eye ball test, then a scholarship may be offered.

Four in Five Year Scholarships
A four in five year scholarship is when a college coach offers an athlete a four year scholarship after they pay their own way in year one.  The recruit is redshirted in that first year and then put on scholarship the following four years.  This is a handshake agreement that is not binding and the coaches can change their mind at any time.

Grayshirting happens when a school is full in the current scholarship year but they want to bring an athlete in on scholarship.  If you were in the senior and accepted a scholarship, you would not sign any paperwork.  You then would take classes part time in the following fall and workout on your own.  That December, you would sign a National Letter of Intent with the school and be enrolled full time in school during the spring.  This is usually a numbers issue when grayshirting happens.

January Recruit
A football recruit who is a last minute decision for the college coaches.  It is a backup recruit because the coaches are waiting to see if their higher priorities will take their scholarship offers.  If they don’t, then January recruits come into play and end up getting scholarship offers from those schools.

Highlight Video
This is one of the most essential parts of the recruiting process, especially for football players throughout the country.  It is important to have it done well via hudl or professionally produced.

In-Home Visit
This is setup normally late in the recruiting process when a college coach/coaches make a home visit to the residence of a recruit.  This gives coaches a chance to build a stronger relationship between themselves and the family.

Colleges are showing interest by sending you mail.  They have not done anything else outside of showing basic interest.

Non-Commitable Offer
When a school offers a scholarship but you are unable to commit because they have other higher rated prospects on the line they are waiting to decide.  This started in the SEC but has branched out across the country.  It basically means you don’t have a real offer unless a number of other recruits for the school falls through.

An official visit is one that the school recruiting you pays for.  They will either fly the athlete in or reimburse them for mileage driven to the school.

Recruiting Street Cred
Basically you either have All State/All Conference honors or size that college coaches desire.  This street cred will get you onto their recruiting database without trying to fight with them over and over about it.  An example would be a lineman who is 6-foot-8, 290 pounds.  College coaches will look at you because of this size, aka recruiting street cred.

This is when a recruit take a year to adjust to college, get bigger, and learn the system.  They have five years to play four seasons so a redshirt will not take any of their eligible years away.

Scholarships breed scholarships
This phrase has been mentioned a lot but it shows the importance of marketing yourself in the athletic recruiting process.  If you have a scholarship offer, more college coaches will take a longer look at you during the recruiting process if they know.  That could lead to more scholarship offers, and thus the phrase, scholarships breed scholarships.

A player being signed and being a verbal commitment are often confused.  What signed means is that the athlete has signed a National Letter of Intent.  These can only be signed during Signing periods, which vary by sport.  If a football player picks a school in the summer, e is not signed until he completes his National Letter of Intent during the February Signing period.  This is a binding contract between you and the school and it is very difficult to get out of without having to sit out.

Silent Commitment
A silent commitment happens when an athlete decides to commit to a school but for whatever reason would prefer not to make the commitment public.  Many athletes give silent commitments before officially announcing their college decision at a press conference or an All Star game.

Spring Evaluation Period
This focuses on football recruiting and is when college coaches can start visiting the schools.  It begins in mid-April and ends on May 31st.  This time also gives coaches the opportunity to call recruits that they are serious about and help their relationship with the players grow.

An unofficial visit is when a prospect visits a college on their own dime.  They pay all the expenses to get there.

Verbal Commitment
This happens when a player pledges verbally that he or she will be attending a school.  They usually call the coaches from the school and then speak with media after to get the word out.  Verbal commitments are 100% not binding.  If you have ten scholarship offers, you could actually make a verbal commitment to all of them during that time.

Verbal Offer
A verbal offer is when a college coach verbally tells an athletic recruit that they have an offer.  I personally don’t believe a verbal offer until…..

Written Offer
This is when a college coach puts the offer in writing.  If they really want you, they will put the scholarship offer in writing to not risk losing you.





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