a few of the other series of articles that I have started, I plan to break down
what I would recommend to high school athletes in different situations. This
will cover football and basketball as well as the year the athlete is and the
recruiting interest they have been receiving. This should help those athletes
and parents that are confused about the recruiting process and what they are
The first thing that you must figure out if you are 100% sure that you want to play at the college level. The answer to this question must be a definitive yes. If you are unsure or there are question marks regarding your decision, then it is probably a good idea to hang up your cleats and relive your high school glory days later on. No matter what level of college football you end up playing, you will be spending a great deal of time honing your skills. Even if you are on JV at a Division III school, they will keep you busy with games, practices, lifting, video, and just about anything else you can think of. So if you are not all in, then don’t waste your time trying.
My best guess is that if you kept reading this article, then you want to play college football but have had no takers at this point. I do think that good athletes can still fall through the cracks. If this player decides to take it upon himself to play, then you can still enjoy a football career at the college level.
Right now is a good time to be honest with yourself. By that, I mean if you have no recruiting interest right now, then the ship has likely sailed to receive a Division I scholarship straight out of high school. The chances of that happening are so slim that it may not be worth considering. Sorry to break it to you but it probably won’t happen.
As I have always
recommended if you are unhappy with your recruiting options, take a look at the
website that lists all of the colleges in the country (Click
here to see that link, and no I am not getting paid to advertise this, although
I wish I was). Anyways, go through that list and see what colleges would be
a good fit for you academically, athletically, and socially. Check out what
programs they offer in academics as well as how good their football team is. And
when you see USC and LSU, just move on.
My best guess is that you have not had a chance to put together a recruiting profile sheet. This is essential in telling the colleges that you are interested in their programs (click here to see an article on putting together a recruiting profile sheet). The programs I would look most at on that list would be Division III schools, NAIA schools, Junior Colleges, and smaller Division II programs. With the Division II schools, chances are strong you may have to walk on there.
Feel free to add a comment to this post if you are having any trouble putting together your recruiting profile. Once completed, make sure to add senior stats and anything else of interest that is relevant. Since you are the one doing this, it does not cost anything to make this on your computer.
If you decide to go any of the four options mentioned above, you are not in a hurry as regulated by the NCAA. You can wait and decide until the last day of your senior year what Division III program you will be attending. It really doesn’t matter until the players report in the late summer. But then again, you probably want to go somewhere that you are wanted at.
After sending out the recruiting profile, see what schools are interested in you as an athlete. If your dreams are just to play college football, focus on the smaller schools. See what type of help they can give you financially. If you have been taking care of business in the class room, it will help reduce your tuition a great deal at the school. If you have eyes for playing at a bigger school, then look into the walking on at a Division II program or going the Junior College route. While heading to a JuCo may not be your strongest option academically, it could help open some doors if you are good enough to play at a high level.
Once you figure out what level you are focusing on, try to take some visits to these programs. They will likely be unofficial visits where you pay your own way to travel to the school but it is an opportunity to learn more about the program. I don’t want to downplay how much interest the coaches will show you but there is a good chance that they won’t have a ton of time for an un recruited walk on.
After taking the visits, try to talk to the coaches some more over the phone and via email. Get a feel for what would be the best fit for you. Apply to the programs that you are interested in see what type of financial aid they can offer you. Again, the coaches will probably spend some time helping you but I am sure they have bigger fish to fry at this time.
Once you are happy with a school, tell the coaches that you want to go there. This will help you through the process of putting down a room deposit and figuring out when you need to report.
Again, if it is this late but you still want to play, it is very possible to find a good fit for you. It would probably not be a good investment to spend hundreds of dollars on a highlight video. But take your time and find a place you like. If things don’t work out athletically, you can still have a good four years and not have to transfer.