I recently had the chance to email some questions to a former athlete who played college football at a major Division I school that plays in a BCS conference. He graduated high school in 1981 and college in 1985. Fast forward and he just recently saw his son sign a Letter of Intent to another major Division I football program.
The question that we asked him centered around how the football recruiting process has changed in the last twenty to thirty years. Obviously with the Internet, things have taken a much different look than anyone could have assumed years ago. Here is what he said about the differences and his experience with what he went through:
Can you describe how the recruiting process went for you?
Starting receiving letters my junior year from Division I & II colleges – no contact just letters
From seeing your son being recruited, what has changed these days?
Internet access allows for more visibility of stats & easier access to videos. Technologies today provide more opportunities for athletes to gain exposure with colleges. The internet also allows athletes to research colleges more in-depth.
Did your high school coach help market you to college programs?
Yes – he was active in several coaching organizations.
Were there other ways that college coaches found out about you?
College Alumni Boosters gave recommendations. Our high school was in a major conference and this conference drew college coaches attention. When I was a senior there were 6 players in our conference that went to D1 colleges.
Did you send out game tape?
Yes both my junior & senior years.
How often did schools contact you by phone and/or mail?
Which schools offered you scholarships?
Iowa State, Nebraska, Minnesota, University of South Dakota, South Dakota State
Did you attend summer football camps or combines? If so, did they help recruiting?
No, there weren’t many camps that I was aware of.
How many visits, unofficial or official, did you make?
What was it like having some of the top programs in the country recruiting you?
It was a memorable experience to meet legendary coaches like Bear Bryant of Alabama, Joe Paterno of Penn State and Tom Osborne of Nebraska.
Were you aware of other prospects that these schools were recruiting at your position?
No I wasn’t aware of who else they were recruiting.
Were you rated by any publications as a national recruit? If so, what was it and do you think it helped in recruiting?
I was honored to be selected as a High School All-American and it did help recruiting.
Anything else of interest about recruiting in the 1980s vs. today?
The big difference is easier access to information for both the colleges and the athletes.