Your Kid Is Being Recruited To Play D1 Football? Here's What You Need To Know
The Truth About Getting Recruited
So your son is getting letters and receiving invitations for Football camps.. and you are very excited about his opportunities. Every new letter is another notch on the 'I have a dream' bedpost. Surely everyone who reaches out will want your son, and probably compete to have him play on their team! He's All State, he's All Conference, he's amazing! My son was all of these things and more, and we probably visited more than twenty-five schools who 'really wanted him' and promised him a spot. Some even promised him playing time his first year. Having been through all of this, perhaps I can share a little insight on what to believe and what not to take too seriously.
The picture above shows my son, number 75, making a tackle. He played both ways- OL/DL and he was the long snapper too. He came out for air maybe twice a game. He started as a sophomore and that year, his team won the 6A State Championship. If you'll notice, he has a brace on his left leg. He tore his ACL week 5 of his Junior Year but came back after just shy of 9 months to have a stellar season.
If your kid has an injury, it WILL hurt his recruiting chances. However, if he proves himself after the injury, it will help tremendously. During my son's Junior year, we started to get letters from the likes of Harvard, Princeton, Auburn, Florida State, KU, San Diego and North and South Dakota (Division 1 AA, but working to be D1), and countless private schools. We went on several visits, including South Dakota, Princeton, North Dakota, South Dakota State, Drake University, KU and some Division 2 schools. Every one of them brought out the 'Big Guns' so to speak. They all had days where they paraded the recruits around like prized cattle and some schools even had cheerleaders show them the ropes (for the visual effect I am sure). There are certain things you can and cannot do as a junior which are defined by the NCAA. You CAN go on unofficial visits to schools but you must pay your own way. The schools CAN give you tickets for events. There are strict rules on how many times coaches can contact you- they get one phone call during your Junior off-season. If you're getting calls and getting attention, especially individual attention during your Junior Year, this means that you are 'On the Radar.' This is the term that coaches will use. Coaches will often make recruits feel like they are way further up on the radar than they really are too. Remember, coaches want depth and they cannot rely on their favourites coming to school. My advice is to try to get to as many junior visits as possible, and also try and get to as many summer camps as possible for the schools you like. An 'in your face' presence will make the coaches know your name.
What Happens When You're A Senior
When your son is a senior, it's important for him to keep his highlight reel on HUDL and to talk to as many coaches as possible. He will know if he's going to get 'an offer' if he's invited to go on an official visit. My son refused to meet with any D2 coaches and I think it was a mistake. He finally did decide to go to an official visit at a D2 school and they were absolutely wonderful. The school was Wayne State in Nebraska and they had a wonderful coach and they were so receptive towards my son. As parents, expect for your hotel room and meals to be paid for. If they really want to put on a show, they'll do something special like invite you to their banquet or invite your son to stay with the seniors in the dorms. My son shied away from this but I am sure he would have had a little fun had he not! Official visits pretty much mean you're going to get an offer, and all of the camps, combines, hoping and wishing have paid off. D2 schools cannot give full scholarships. However, they can give partial scholarships at their discretion. I believe that all we would have to have paid for at the D2 school my son considered was about $5000 for the year for some tuition costs, which would have been covered by academic scholarships. Alas, my son would not consider D2 because, even though he had an injury, the 'dream was always D1.' So, we kept going on visits until he found that his local coach got him in for a visit with KU- and the lure of the Power 5 NCAA Big 12 Conference was too much for him to take.
What About Recruiting Sites like 'Go Big Recruiting' and Combines like NUC
My son went to several NUC combines and traveled for a few as well. We were also on 'Go Big Recruiting.' I can't say that NUC ever really did anything for us, no did 'Go Big.' In my opinion, these are money making scams that build kids up but they don't attract the very best competition. It's much better to attend your chosen's school summer camp then to try and compete in these National Combines that cost a fortune and often leave prospects with no real interest.
No Shame In Being A Preferred Walk On For a Power Five School
Preferred Walk Ons Are the Up and Coming Recruiting Frenzy
Schools like K-State have been moving mountains by recruiting players who are called 'Preferred Walk Ons.' The reason this is a thriving business is that K-State chooses a lot of ultra talented players that still have to prove themselves to the organization. There is nothing more powerful than an athlete with all heart- who has to prove something. Preferred Walk Ons are treated like any other team member. They eat with the team, practice with the team, live in the Athletic Dorms and have tutorial support. While some things may be free, normally tuition is not- but this is temporary because Preferred Walk Ons in respectable programs often have every opportunity to earn full scholarships. Preferred Walk On spots at a Division 1 School may be much more coveted than a scholarship to a D2 school. It depends on the student-athlete.
Have any of your kids been recruited for a sport, any sport at all?
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Your Kids' Coach and his Impact
I hope that anyone reading this article has the Class A coach that my son had the privilege of playing for. He was all business and he cared about the kids and about winning. He also did anything to help kids go on to get scholarships, including my son. Be sure to talk to your son's coach and ask him what colleges have shown interest, and what his options might be if he wants to continue to play football in high school. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work, but some kind thrive by competition and football gives them a purpose in their young years. I hope this article has been informative, and good luck with the recruiting process!