Are you panicking about college recruiting and how you fit in? Are you an athlete who’s currently sweating because unlike some of your friends and teammates, you haven’t signed or even been contacted by a school?
On The Outside Looking In
Are you a parent experiencing the situation through the eyes of your son or daughter? Is it possible that you’re one of the two–athlete or parent–pre-senior year, trying to avoid the above mentioned situations? No matter your position or affiliation to college recruiting, it’s not always a fun experience, especially when you are on the outside looking in.
Understand that not everyone involved in high school sports will be offered scholarship opportunities, not everyone involved will have a chance to walk-on, not everyone has the skill to play at the college level. This means year after year many athletes are left standing on the sidelines with nothing more than their unfulfilled dreams and a handful of “what if’s.” These feelings of unanswered questions and regret can be avoided, but immediate action is required.
Another Potential Path
Alberto Gonzalez–a kicker turned defensive tackle receiving no college opportunities–found himself in this familiar college recruiting situation. To have a chance at playing in college, Alberto and 400 or so other unsigned senior football recruits found themselves competing at the Greater Houston Football Showcase.
The unique thing about this showcase is that coaches from all over the country, usually smaller schools many of which cannot offer athletic aid, come to “window shop” athletes. If you are the athlete who hasn’t signed with a school, maybe a showcase similar to this one is your ticket.
It’s possible that if you show up and DO GREAT, a coach MIGHT become impressed with you.
This is an amazing opportunity if it’s taken advantage of properly, but doesn’t mean waiting around is the right approach to take.
Did We Mention That You Should Start Early?
Aside from prospect showcases, there are many things that can be done to either salvage or avoid a failed recruiting experience. For those that have the opportunity, start early. In today’s scholarship thirsty environment it’s essential that you start looking at schools and opportunities as early as possible; for most this means before your junior year.
If it’s affordable, explore walking-on. Don’t look at walking-on as not being on the same level as scholarship athletes; college sports thrive because of the contributions walk-ons provide. Remember there are far more walk-on opportunities than there are scholarships available. Being open to walking-on allows a coach to see you as a talented athlete who won’t cost any money. This is a benefit to you and the coaching staff, possibly opening some previously closed doors.
Keep Working and Make Something Happen
Always make sure to stay positive and persistent. Scholarship opportunities fall through quite often; coaches go with different athletes and athletes go with different schools. Staying persistent with coaching staffs allows you an opportunity, albeit a small opportunity, at being picked up in lieu of someone else.
The only way to achieve this is to keep a positive outlook and attitude toward your recruiting situation and continue to work toward what you want. Keep in mind, this isn’t the time to sit back and relax–you have to make something happen.