I recently had a chance to email the father of an athlete a number of questions related to the football recruiting process that his son had just completed. His son is a senior and plays in a very small area that receives little recognition by colleges throughout the country.
But instead of complaining about the situation, the father took it upon himself to help market his son to college coaches. In the end, it paid off as the son ended with double digit Division I-A (BCS) scholarship offers. Schools in the SEC, Big 12, Big 10, and a number of other conferences were offering him before it was over. Here is what the father said about his experiences during the recruiting process:
Briefly describe the overall recruiting process that your son went through?
It was a long process that started when my son was a sophomore. Fortunately we were able to wrap up early. There was a lot of travel to meet coaches and tour the schools and athletic facilities. At times it was both frustrating yet rewarding. I’m happy we spent the time and money to explore all options.
What was your experience with the recruiting process before this?
I had some experience back in the early 80’s with myself. It certainly doesn’t come close to today’s recruiting process. It was like starting over – a new learning experience.
Talk about your decision to be proactive in the recruiting process and do what you could to help your son get his name out to college coaches?
It turned out to be a good decision to be proactive. When my son was a sophomore we had a feeling that he would be able to play at the D1 level when coaches started to notice him and provided input on his abilities. Today there are so many good athletes that you need to get on as many lists that you can and as early as you can.
What do you feel were some of the best steps that you took to help get your son attention?
To start with, when you talk about getting attention you are talking about getting national attention. Being from a smaller state, it is hard to get national attention. First, you have to be deserving. You need to pull together game film, game film highlights, provide seasonal stats which include measurables (ie: 40 time, vertical, bench etc) showing that you are good enough to get their attention. Once that is done you need to get it out to the national folks – Rivals.com, Scouts.com, ESPN, Prep Nation, etc.. All you can do is put your information in front of them in hopes they will look at it and like it. Sometimes it’s a very opinionated and political industry. You hope that someone sees the same qualities that you have. The same goes for getting the information out to the colleges and letting them know that you have an interest in hopes you fit in to their program. When providing the measurable information it really needs to be verified. Going to some of the combines does help give creditability.
Were there any steps that you took that you would have avoided when looking back now?
No, I don’t think you can avoid any of the steps even though we would have liked to. We’re not playing in Texas so when you’re from a smaller state, you have to take all the steps since we don’t seem to get the same national attention.
As a parent, how stressful was the recruiting process?
It was a little stressful but mostly time consuming and sometimes frustrating. As a parent and knowing what a good player my son is, as well as having so many people from the surrounding area know what a good player he is, it was frustrating to have to work so hard to get some people to take a look at him to see the same ability that we all saw.
Did you ever expect to see some of the top programs across the country offering your son a scholarship? What did it feel like when schools like two major out-of-state colleges extended offers early in the process?
We really didn’t know what was going to happen. We knew he could be a D1 player but didn’t quite know how good of a D1 player until these types of colleges starting offering. Last February when a major out-of-state program offered we knew then that we were on our way. It was a lot of hard work and very rewarding and we then knew we were on the right path. The goal that was set was starting to come true.
What was the process as a family to narrow down the recruiting process?
We outlined all the pros and cons of the colleges. We never put any travel restrictions on his choices. We wanted to make sure that it was the best fit no matter where it was. The colleges were rated from 1 to 5 by our son – what school has the biggest opportunity from a playing standpoint, which coaches did he feel comfortable with, what were the athletic facilities like, how did the process work with athletes academically. It was our son’s decision and as a family we didn’t know until the day of his announcement who he had decided to play for.
Did you use a recruiting service/recruiting agent during the recruiting process? If so, why? If not, why did you go that route?
We used any resource available, from advice, recruiting service, agent, recruiting analysts. We left no stone unturned because it was all new to us. The school that our son attends doesn’t offer a lot of help through the process so we needed to get as much as we could
Do you feel that college coaches were honest with you the entire time in the process?
Yes I do. We were always in a position where we were very honest with them and them with us. They didn’t want to make a mistake and neither did we. We were very upfront with the schools we talked to.
Did you feel that schools offered because other schools did? If so, do you think that happened often?
Our son did get offers because other schools offered but it was because it drew attention to him. It made other schools make it a priority to take a look at the information that had been sent to them. Once they viewed the material and saw his abilities they offered.
Estimate how many unofficial visits you took and how worth while they were during the process?
Around 15 unofficial and they were all worth it. We could rule the college out or when we left we were sure we were interested. It was good for the coaches to see our son first hand and be able to measure him up in person. It was a confirmation of what they saw on the video. I think it is very beneficial to both the coaches and players.
What would you say was the most difficult part of the recruiting process?
The very beginning. Trying to get him the exposure he needed. Trying to figure where there was a fit and what colleges to send tapes to. When you don’t know enough about it you do a lot of things because you’re not sure what you should be doing.
Do you have any other words of wisdom for families out there reading this?
Start as quickly as possible to understand where your son/daughter fits in. Have them evaluated by a number of sources that know what they are doing. Some may say they’re good and others may not so remember that it is their opinion. You will need to take all the information you receive from these evaluations and form your own opinion. You need to understand at what level they fit in and then start the recruiting process.
With your younger son, do you think you would change any steps that were done in recruiting?
He has made a commitment to playing football at the college level as well. Unfortunately he’s a year behind in the recruiting process due to an injury so the recruiting will be his senior season. I don’t think there are steps I would change but they will be more streamlined and the process should be much easier this time around with the people that I have met and the contacts that I have made during our oldest son’s process. I also have a better understanding of where he would fit in.
How can I help support Recruiting-101?
- Use highlight-videos.com for a Hudl tuneup/new video
- E-Book: Guide to the Athletic Recruiting Process for Parents
- E-Book: How Juniors Can Get a Head Start on the Football Recruiting Process
- Complete Package: Junior Football All State Recruiting Package
- E-Book: Football Recruiting Position by Position Advice
- Complete Package: Senior Football All State Recruiting Package
- E-Book: Producing a Scholarship Worthy Highlight Video
- E-Book: How Seniors Can Finish the Football Recruiting Process Strong
A special thanks for the help from this parent