Q&A with a Family Part 2: What happens with football recruiting during a coaching change in December?

When an athlete accepts a Division I scholarship offer for any sport, they feel strongly that this is the school that they want to spend the next four or five years of their life at.  And while some may decommit and eventually pick another program, the majority of athletes stay strong to their word when they originally commit.

But what happens to a recruit after committing when the head coach at the school leaves the program in a flash only a short time before Signing Day?  We had a chance to do a question and answer with a family who had the chance to go through this exact situation.  Find out what they thought about the whole process and what they did to help their son get football recruiting attention in the first place.  This is part two of a two part article.  Click here for the previous article.

What was the first thoughts once the coaching change became official?
We were really stunned and disappointed. We were anxious to see who the new coach was going to be and if our son would fit into their plans and ours.

Once the change happened, your son opened up recruiting. Did State University #2 and Out of State University #2 come calling or did you express interest in them?
They both made initial contact.

How was the official visit to State University #2?
First Class. We were very impressed with the coaching staff, the facilities, the way we were treated, and the organization of the visit. They stressed to us that this was a no pressure situation since they knew that our son was still committed to State University #1. They wanted our son to get a better in-depth look of the Engineering Program and the Football Program. He also had the opportunity to spend time with several of the football players. In the end, it made our son’s decision a little tougher.

What was it like getting all this attention from schools that had not offered in the spring? Why all of a sudden did it seem they had scholarships waiting?
It was stressful because we thought the recruiting process was over when he committed to State University #1 in May. It can also make you second guess your initial decision.  Had our son not ended his recruiting process early, he had planned on attending a number of camps at conference schools in the area. Had he attended those camps, he probably would have picked up several more offers per what the coaches were telling us on our Junior Day visits.

What sold you for the second time on State University #1?
Our son needed to meet the new coaches and get a feel for them and what their plans were for him and their offensive scheme. When we visited in January, our son met with the new head coach and knew after a lengthy conversation with him that he was passionate about State University #1’s Football Program and his vision for the future. Our was in those plans which was important to him and our family. We also had the opportunity to meet his position coach. He went over his schemes and where he saw our son fitting into the future. Our son’s first impression of this coach was that he was a confident teacher and stressed the basic principles.

How much did the families background with State University #1 factor in?
We never stressed to our son that he had to attend the same school that we did. Ultimately, over the years visiting the school for various events and activities, our son found it to be a place he could see himself getting a great education and a place where he could compete in sports at a higher level.

As a parent, how stressful was the recruiting process?
Initially, not very stressful because the offer came early. After State University #1’s coach resigned, and our son opened up his recruiting, it became more stressful wondering about our son’s future and if we had made all the right decisions.

What was the process as a family to narrow down the recruiting process?
We always stressed to our son that the final decision would have to be his to make and he didn’t have to go to the same school that his parents attended. During the ride home from each visit, we would talk about the pros and cons of the university. Nothing ever seemed to top State University #1 in our son’s eyes and in his heart.

Do you feel that college coaches were honest with you the entire time in the process?
Yes.

Did you feel that schools offered because other schools did? If so, do you think that happened often?
No.

Estimate how many unofficial visits you took and how worth while they were during the process?
Approximately ten.  We felt they were very worthwhile because it reassured our son that State University #1 was the best fit for him.

What would you say was the most difficult part of the recruiting process?
The initial phase of sending out videotapes and anxiously waiting for a reply. Wondering if he has what it takes to play at the next level.  Secondly, going through a coaching change before he signed his National Letter of Intent.

Do you have any other words of wisdom for families out there reading this?
One thing that really caught the attention of coaches was that our son is a very good student. Academics have to be #1 throughout their high school days. When coaches visit younger players at Large High School #1, one of the first things they say is, “How are your grades?” If you don’t have the grades, they won’t be able to make you an offer, no matter how good of a player you are.

Start your recruiting process early. Visit a lot of schools. Attend one day summer camps so you can save money and it doesn’t allow coaches to over evaluate your child.

Make a file to help you stay organized and to document any communication between your son and coaches at all of the different schools that are involved.

Be realistic on the level at which you think your son can play.

It’s not the high school or high school coaches job to promote your son, it’s your responsibility. They will be happy to help but ultimately the time you put into the recruiting process will directly benefit your family.

Try to enjoy the entire process.

Once again, a special thanks for the parents in their help!

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