It is likely–as you go through the college recruiting process–that you are surrounded by a group of people who care about you and want to help you achieve your dreams. This support group could include your parents, grandparents, guardians, pastor, teachers, guidance counselors or coaching staffs.
It is important that as the student-athlete you make your intentions known to these people and ask them for help. Help can come in many different forms: advice on what to do, financial advice so you can attend a camp or visit a campus, a shared experience that sheds light onto your own situation.
Perhaps they will just be there for you in this exciting yet tumultuous time in your life. You need to know that this cannot be done alone. You should reach out to those who care about you the most.
Express Your Interest and Be Proactive
This goes hand-in-hand with asking for help. Generally when asking for help you are also stating or expressing your initial interest in your own recruiting process. Of course this is only the beginning; the secret to successfully playing college football–or any other college sport–is being proactive. As a talented student-athlete you need to go out and make things happen for yourself. Unless you are ranked in the ESPNU 150, Rivals, or any other website that says you are part of the top 1% then you need to go out and make coaches aware of who you are.
I heard a speech on recruiting once and it stuck with me. The speaker depicted a recruit
who was super excited about the recruiting process, was talented, had the frame, had everything that a coach would want in a college football player. The student-athlete knew what his first step should be so he created a resume that shared his experiences academically and athletically.
Unfortunately beyond creating a good resume the student-athlete was lost and wasn’t asking for any help. Instead he thought because he knew he was a good player that coaches would just find him.
He had this great resume but it just sat in his kitchen day after day and week after week. This student-athlete was literally waiting for a coach to come to his house, knock on his door, and praise him for his accomplishments.
We can all laugh at how silly this student-athlete was being, but this is the process that most of you will follow (minus the kitchen). Most student-athletes believe they will get noticed because they are good–it’s as simple as that. Or they play with another great player who has college coaches clawing at the door to sign him and they think it will get them noticed.
Although this is possible it is unlikely. Instead, use those advantages and inform college coaches on what you want. Hint: It’s to play for their program. After you share your interest you must prove to them through hard work and dedication that you deserve to be a part of their program.
Show Character, Be a Leader
College coaches aren’t just looking for that player who can run a 4.4 40 yard dash, throw on a rope for 60 yards, or make 15 tackles a game. They are looking for all of those attributes and more.
The “more” in this case is how you act on and off the field. When a coach is watching film, a live game or a camp, they are evaluating technique but they are also watching how you deal with certain situations.
They’re watching to see if and when you mess up, how you recover, if you ever quit on any plays, if you are cheering on your teammates. Are you causing ridiculous unsportsmanlike penalties, are you being a LEADER on your team?
When losing, are you trying to fire your team up, are you hanging your head and moping or holding your head high because you know you gave it your all? These all come into account when a coach is trying to judge a student-athlete on his leadership abilities. And these are just questions that arise from the game.
Your ability to lead in the community will also come into question and should always be met positively. Building your character will be the hardest aspect of your college football recruiting journey because it is most visible and everyone is always watching.
Everything you do and say affects the way coaches perceive you as a person, a football player, and a potential leader on their team. Keep this in mind next time you decide to “show-off” on the field or decide that your needs are more important than those of your teammates. Someone will see it or hear about it and the impression you leave could cost you a scholarship.