Why recruiting now for juniors rarely pans out during the athletic recruiting process

Why recruiting now for juniors rarely pans out during the athletic recruiting processFor those with Division I eyes and early interest from those schools, this really article could be a reality check here.  For those families, the hope is that your son or daughter can prove to college coaches that you really can play at that level and hopefully scholarships come in.  But in at least 75% of the case, the majority of schools that are recruiting junior athletes (and especially for sophomores or freshmen) are not there six months from now.

So instead of just asking you to believe what I am writing, I took a look back at some athletes and their recruiting process over the last few years.  It is a very interesting look at where the recruiting process sat for them at certain times and how it changed over the years.  The names of the schools have been changed but they are a similar level of schools.  All six of these athletes were All Staters at least one season during their prep careers and many posted some huge numbers.

Athlete #1
Background: 6-foot-6, 295 pounds, Offensive Tackle
Update in November of his junior year: Michigan, Michigan State, and three Division II schools
Update in November of his senior year: Michigan State, Division I-AA schools, Division II schools, and junior colleges
Signed with: Junior College
Offers from: Division II schools

Athlete #2
Background: 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Defensive Back
Update in November of his junior year: Took a visit to North Carolina, no other schools mentioned
Update in September of his senior year: North Carolina State, Ohio, and Division I-AA schools
Update in December of his senior year: Division I-AA schools
Signed with: Division I-AA school
Offers from: Division I-AA schools

Athlete #3
Background: 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Running Back
Update in January of junior year: Clemson, South Carolina, and Utah (hand written letters were mentioned by one of the schools)
Update in August before senior year: Clemson, South Carolina, and Kansas
Quote: “They want me to send some tape and I know they plan on coming to a game. That is when they’ll decide if they plan to offer me a scholarship or not.”
Update in November of senior year: None of previous schools.  All Division I-AA and Army.  Not a single mention of any of the other Division I-A schools
Signed with: Division I-AA school
Offers from: Division I-AA schools

Athlete #4
Background: 6-foot-6-, 225 pounds, Tight End
Update in March of junior year: New Mexico and New Mexico State.  Juniors Days attended at both.
Quotes: “It was nice. They have a lot of hospitable guys. They are good coaches.”
Update in June before senior year: Went to camps at New Mexico State, Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado (none of these schools came close to offering in the end)
Update in August before senior year: New Mexico, Division I-AA, and Division II schools
Update in November of senior year: New Mexico State, Division I-AA schools
Signed with: He has not signed.  Still waiting to hear about a walk on opportunity at New Mexico State.
Offers from: None

Athlete #5
Background: 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Running Back
Update in August before junior year: Auburn.  Also attended camps at Division II and I-AA schools earlier in the summer.
February of junior year: Auburn and Division III schools
May of junior year: Auburn, Alabama, and Division III schools.  Attended junior day at Auburn.
Quotes: “It was pretty good. They had a lifting presentation and kind of talked about their program for quite a bit. It was pretty cool.”
September of senior year: Division I-AA and Division III schools
Signed with: No one.  He picked a Division III school close to home
Offers: None

Athlete #6
Background: 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Tight End
Update in November of junior year: Miami, Florida, and Division I-AA schools
Update in December of junior year: Took a visit to Florida for their bowl practice.
Quotes: “It was a very nice opportunity to go down there. It was very competitive and nice to see how hard they work.”
Update in February of junior year: Now up to three scholarship offers from Miami, Florida, and Tennessee.
Update in April of junior year: Double digit offers and attention from colleges across the country.  Let me stress everywhere.
Update in June before senior year: Oregon and Texas A&M add to his offer list
Signed with: Oregon
Offers: He turned down at least ten schools.
Other: Let me stress that his highlight video may be the best I’ve seen from an athlete that isn’t currently in the NFL.

So again, what does this mean?  Don’t get a big head about the initial interest that you get.  Letters and junior days visits don’t always mean much in the end.  Just because a school is recruiting you early doesn’t mean you will end up there.

Out of six athletes, only one ended up at a school that had initially been recruiting him.  That player, Athlete #4, is still waiting to hear about walking-on and actually may just not play football at all.  The most recruited of the bunch, Athlete #6, had not been hearing from the school he ended up at after his junior year of football.  They came in the picture much later on.

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