This is a confusing title to the article but obviously I am going to explain what I am talking about here. During the recruiting process, college coaches are putting in a lot of time to the recruiting process in order to land their next class of standout athletes. They spend months and even years showing these players interest.
And with college coaches wanting to keep their job, they are trying to bring the best athletes onto their campus. Most schools are hoping to land recruits who should be playing up a level. For example, a Division III coach is hoping to land a player with Division II abilities.
The reason why they are doing this is rather simple. If you have athletes who are above your level, then there is a better chance that you will win. The original person who told me this was a Division III basketball coach. He said his goal is land Division II scholarship type basketball players. If he has Division II players and their conference foes have Division III players, then he will likely have a leg up on the competition.
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It works at all levels as well. For football recruiting, Division III coaches want Division II players. Division II coaches want Division I-AA athletes. Division I-AA coaches are looking for those that are good enough at the Division I-A level. And the Division I-A coaches are looking for prospects who are good enough to eventually play professionally.
This is why you will see smaller schools recruit prospects that may be out of their league. Most of the top coaches in a Division III conference may end up wasting a lot of time but there are two reasons why they are showing potential scholarship prospects interest. The first is in hopes that this player spurns bigger schools to get a better education at the Division III level. The second is that if this athlete does get a scholarship, goes there for a year or two and hates it, he could transfer back to that Division III school.
I have seen this work and not work for coaches at the smaller college level. One basketball player was being recruited heavily by all of the in-state conference schools. Late in the process, this athlete got a scholarship offer by a Division II program. Must to the dismay of all these smaller college coaches, he signed to play at the Division II school. Many thought he wasn’t good enough for the school and that actually ended up being true. He transferred back to a Division III school recruiting him early on and ended up being an All Conference play.
This story is a perfect example of why not to burn bridges during the recruiting process as well as the importance of considering all your options. If this athlete had thought he was better than the Division III schools from day one, he would not have built a relationship with the coaching staff as well as taken multiple visits. I have talked about it many times before but it is a huge mistake, unless you have multiple scholarship offers, to not consider schools at all levels. Division I to Division III, you might as well look into all of your options.
The second story of this not working out was for a Division III basketball coach who showed a lot of interest to a multi-sport athlete. He was a solid basketball player but was an excellent punter. While he liked the coach recruiting him at the smaller school, he ended up being the starting punter for a major Division I football program. While transferring has always been an option, getting a chance to kick in front of 30,000 fans is tough to turn down.
Anyways, college coaches are trying to bring in the best athletes that they can. They will do all that they can to recruit a level up. So don’t be surprised that even when you are receiving serious Division I interest, there will be letters from smaller schools. And for you, don’t just throw them away. Consider all your options and keep all doors open.