Do questionnaires from major Division I schools matter in the athletic recruiting process?

We had another great comment on an article recently written about receiving early attention from the likes of Florida State, Colorado, Michigan State, Rutgers, and a number of other colleges.  The question that was asked surrounding these is do they matter much?  In my opinion, it is a very good thing to get these questionnaires from schools like that.  While it doesn’t mean you will get a scholarship or anything along those lines, it does mean that you are on their radar early (if you are a senior and have just been getting these, then chances are they have you classified in a different grade than you are really in).

I sound like a broken record but there is no doubt that getting on the radar of major Division I schools early in the process is something you should set as a goal.  The person who made this comment, Mike, has done well so far in the recruiting process.  But there are a number of steps and things that must be done throughout the rest of the recruiting process to be able to end up signing with a place like Florida State or Rutgers.

The recruiting databases of those major schools are thousands and thousands of athletes.  They use these questionnaires to get some background information about each athlete and then will continue to whittle them down overtime.  If you are a 5-foot-9 linebacker, chances are strong that the coaches will likely not contact you anymore after that initial questionnaire.

Going back to my glory days, someway or another I got on a recruiting database for UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso).  This was during my junior year where I didn’t play at all.  My guess is that they saw my height in one form or another and decided to mass send out questionnaires.  I returned the form and even “fibbed” about my stats and information a little bit.  It didn’t come as a huge surprise that they never contacted me again.

Again, these coaches are trying to find ways to reduce the number of athletes in that database.  Getting on that list is like getting your foot in the door.  There are any number of reasons why they would take athletes out.  Grade problems or size issues are two that can easily see a coach move to other prospects.

These coaches found your name through some means to contact you in the first place.  It could have been through Rivals or Scout.  I have seen many recruits get ranked in the initial Rivals100 and suddenly start hearing from schools in the Pac 10 and SEC.  About four years ago, one smaller Division I program even offered just about every player in the Rivals100.  It was without seeing film or video of many of these athletes.

Anyways, going back to the initial question, yes it is a good thing to get these questionnaires.  But there is far more work for you to do.  You need to return that questionnaire with the information filled out and possibly a recruiting profile included.  You may also include a link to your highlight video.  If your name is John Doe, sending coaches to www.johndoe.com is an easy way for you to have the video available if they want.  Some will watch the link and others won’t.

You should also be contacting other similar schools of that nature with your recruiting profile.  Again, this doesn’t mean a scholarship is likely.  You are just in a solid position right now.  A few years back (yes, another story), there was an offensive line recruit who made all these Junior Day visits.  He got listed by Rivals, 247Sports, Scout, and even got on the radar of some pretty major Division I schools.  These schools were sending him mail and I recall him telling me at worst, at least I could walk on to these schools.

Over time, these coaches realized that this recruit was an offensive lineman who stood 5-foot-8 (if that).  He was a good high school athlete but once they gave him the eye ball test (see Updated Athletic Recruiting Definitions for more information), they moved on to other recruits.  These databases start huge but it is great to be on them early.  If you are good enough, they certainly should know with this early attention.

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