I have spent most of the spring evaluation period talking about the importance of calls from college coaches at the Division I-A (BCS) level. These are so vital because this is the first time that football recruits can actually get a good feel for where they sit with a college. If the school calls, then you are on their scholarship radar. If not, then you may need to look for some new programs.
But one question that was recently asked involved Division I-AA/FCS schools during the spring evaluation period. Can these coaches call athletes? Are they allowed to stop by the high school? Can they do anything in comparison to their bigger brother I-A/BCS schools?
Regarding calls from college coaches, these Division I-AA schools definitely have the option to call football recruits across the country. There is a huge difference in terms of the athletes that they call. I have said before that I believe 95% of athletes who get eventual scholarship offers from a school receive a call from that same program at the Division I-A level. For Division I-AA schools, I really believe that number to be lower simply because the recruiting process is so much different.
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For example, a Division I-AA coach may not call a recruit during the spring evaluation period because he has an offer from a Division I-A school. If the Division I-A school eventually gets a commitment out of another kid at that same position during the summer and the athlete is now offer less, I would expect the I-AA school to jump in and start recruiting them more.
In 100% of the situations that I have seen, unless the Division I-A school is either very far away from home or there has been a coaching change (meaning you weren’t there recruit), an athlete will pick the Division I-A school over the Division I-AA program. These FCS schools know that and they are not going to waste their time going head to head with a BCS school for a player.
Again, these Division I-AA programs are free to call kids during the spring evaluation period but it really depends on the school. From what I have seen, most do call athletes. If your area has a good Rivals/Scout site, then try to look up the name of the a certain school recruiting you to confirm if they called athletes. While this is not a sure fire way to tell, it could provide more information as to who they are recruiting.
These same FCS coaches will likely also have spent the spring evaluation period on the recruiting trail. This will give them an opportunity to talk to coaches, find out about prospects flying under the radar, and see if you can pass the eyeball test. Because budgets are limited, these coaches do not get to as many schools as those at the Division I-A level. Division I-AA may send a college coach to recruit California for a week or two instead of sending them to more specific areas.
But again, it depends on the coaching staff and the program. The football recruiting process for Division I-AA schools is much different than Division I-A programs. While most good staffs should be using that time to evaluate prospects and make connections with high school coaches, it doesn’t always happen that way. And if you are worried about it, you should contact them to see what is going on with their recruiting and the overall process.