How does a college coach offer a sophomore or freshman during the football recruiting process?

If you are reading this site, then there is little doubt that you have read articles at,, and similar sites that follow prep athletes and how the recruiting process is going for them.  And when reading about the top sophomores and sometimes freshmen on these sites, some of the football players claim to have scholarship offers from some of the top programs across the country.

So how exactly does that happen, if according to NCAA rules, college coaches cannot do more than send a questionnaire or a camp invite to an athlete until September 1st of their junior year?  There are a few ways that all college coaches can make it work if they really want to offer a prospect before that September 1st date.  Here are three different ways.

Speak with the high school coach
From my experience in following these early scholarship offers to football recruits, speaking to college coaches actually seems to be the most prevalent.  In this example, the high school coach has a relationship with the coaches at State University.  The high school coach has sent tape of you, only a sophomore right now, to the college coaches and they were impressed.  Your high school coach has also raved about your abilities, your work ethic, and maturity.

The college coaches trust your high school coach and came in during the spring evaluation period to do the eyeball test on you.  This is something you have passed so they call the high school coach and tell them that they have a scholarship offer waiting for you.  The high school coach then passes that information off to you and tells you that you received your first scholarship offer.

In this example, I have actually seen a high school coach relay the offer to the high school prospect and the coach then relay a commitment to the college coach after a short period of time.  It is always interesting to see this at work.  It takes a helpful high school coach, but honestly, a high school coach should be thrilled to be passing the good news.

If you have a high school coach who is extremely helpful in the recruiting process, what he will do is make sure that the other schools recruiting you know about the scholarship offer.  Last summer, a running back prospect received a scholarship offer from an out of state program through this method.  The high school coach called/emailed State University and told them that there was an offer on the table from one of their rivals.  That prompted State University to pull the trigger on a scholarship offer that day.

Relay the message that you need to call the coach
One thing college coaches often do is tell the high school coach about the offer but say that they want to speak with you, the athlete, about it.  In this situation, the high school coach basically just tells you that you need to call Coach Johnson and gives you his number.  With everyone having cell phones these days, an athlete can make the call at the school and find out about the offer.  This is a pretty straight forward method of doing it but you must call them in order to do it.

Talk to you at their summer camp
If you are attending a camp at State University and just wow the coaching staff, then they may tell you before you go that there is a scholarship offer waiting for you.  These camps give the college coaches a chance to see you in person and will give them a better feel about your abilities and overall skills.  Plus they get to see how well you take to new things and handle college coaches.

This is rare but some sophomores do leave college football camps with a scholarship offer.  It is a great thing to have as it really says a lot about what the college coach things and how they feel about your skills on the gridiron.

These are the three main ways that college coaches can offer a football recruiting process before their junior year.  Please note that if the school really means is with the offer, it should be officially mailed to you early in September of your junior year.  It doesn’t always happen that way but if the college coaches are confident about you and your abilities, this is something that they should be doing.

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One Day Football Camps vs. Three Day Football Camps

With football camps going on throughout the country, many athletes are hoping that they can finally get a chance to showcase their skills in front of college coaches and receive a scholarship offer. And while few get a chance to actually live that dream, many are at least spending some time at these camps. The question is how long should they be there?
In all honesty, the answer to that question really depends on a lot of things. The biggest factor is if you are there strictly to get recruited. If that is the case and the coaches are serious about you as a recruit, they will do whatever they can to accommodate your schedule so that they can see you in action. The coaches should be able to see you in action for a full day and figure out what the next step is in recruiting. It may be to offer, continue recruiting, or move on to another prospect. But at the very least, they will figure out one of of those three options.

If you are attending the camp to get better as a player and have heard great things about the coaching there, my advice would be to stay for the week. The majority of this type of camp is either at a smaller school or a camp that is not even affiliated with a school. That means instead of worrying about recruiting, they are able to actually coach the players and help them become better. The evaluation process for recruiting is hard to do when you are trying to coach other players as well.

Going back to the one day camps, the big advantage of these is the money factor. If a camp costs $300 for three days, I would assume one day would cost $100. That saves you a big chunk of money right there. If you have a busy summer of football camps, that $200 will quickly add up. If your plans are to go to five camps, that is $1,000 right there.

In my opinion, the majority of college coaches will have a pretty good idea of your skill level after watching and evaluating you for one day. The only time I have ever heard a recruit get asked to stay the second day was for a prospect who eventually got an offer. But the coaching staff was fired before he signed so that may be a sign of their coaching.
These coaches may want to rewatch your highlight video and see how you progress during the senior season but they will at least have a better idea of your ability. While the coaches may be truthful, expect a generic answer related to your senior season and your progress if you did not wow them right away. Kids that really stand out at camps more often than not get an offer with twenty four hours.

Again, I am a huge believer in only going to one day of camp. It saves your body from getting beat up over long camp stretches and should be more than enough for the coaches to evaluate you. If anything, save the money here and invest it in a high quality highlight tape after the first few games of your senior season. If the school is still interested in you, they will be requesting that early in the fall to evaluate you further.

Every situation of athletes are unique and some may want to spend more time around coaches and the program. It may be the school that they grew up routing for and they just want to be as close to the program as possible. But if that is not the case, then don’t feel going to camp should last three days. It really is up to you as an athlete as well as depending on your summer schedule.

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College Camp Advice Athletic Recruiting

As an athlete at the high school level, it is always great to receive mail from college coaches. Even if it is a form letter or just a camp invite, it really just make you feel special to open the letter from a big school. And while I am not here to rain on your parade, I think it important for athletes to realize what a camp invite means and how you should handle them.

Let me start out by saying that a number of college programs send out tape invites to hundreds and probably thousands of athletes. Unless you have been hearing from the school before receiving this invite, then really, it means nothing. Unless you really blow up at their camp (And the chances are slim), than they are not going to recruit you. And if you have spent the money to attend the week long camp, hopefully you got something out of it more than a hope that you can improve your recruiting stock.

As I have said many times before, college coaches supplement a big part of their paycheck with summer camps. If they bring in 1,000 kids at $50 per kid, that equals out to $50,000 that they have added to their revenue. Also remember that the price I just listed is extremely small and the big schools are able to bring in well over 1,000 kids in the summer.

If you really feel that you have what it takes to play at the Division I level, then you need to be looking for camps that are more individual for the top athletes. For example, one camp in the state I live in has a one day senior elite camp. These coaches charge less for this camp because they want to bring in as many top flight prospects as possible. These prospect will then go head to head and that allows the coaches to get a better feel for the athletes there.

College basketball coaches will do the same thing. These coaches will hold elite basketball camps and slash the costs of the camp as much as possible. If both of these camps break even for the coaching staff, it is well worth it. First off, it helps their evaluations by getting a chance to work with the players. It also helps in recruiting because the players are on campus and some feel that is half the battle in the recruiting process.

If a college does not hold an elite one day camp or it is something that you have not been invited to, speak with them about attending one or two days of their week long camp. I just took a quick look at how much it would cost a high school athlete to attend the LSU week long camp. Obviously the Tigers are a hot team coming off of a National title but they currently charge $300 per athlete from Sunday night until Wednesday.

I only recommend talking to the coaching staff about attending one day if you are being recruited by them. If they have requested tape, sent hand written mail, and tried to get you on campus for a visit. If my son was going through the recruiting process, unless this camp was the best fundamental camp in the country, I would not take him to a camp just because they sent me an invite and have shown no other attention. You might as well chalk with up with the other form letters you have been getting.

If a college coach cannot figure out if you can play or not in one day, then maybe they should not be at that position. That is why speaking with them about attending one day will save you money and the hassle of attending weeks and weeks of college football camps. This will also allow you to get to more camps and give you more overall flexibility.

For college basketball, the college coaches put a smaller emphasis of trying to recruit kids at their non-elite summer camps. I recently had an athlete tell me that he wanted to go to the big in-state school to play basketball and was named MVP of the summer week long camp. The problem is that the majority of all good basketball players, especially to play at the Division I level, are likely on AAU teams traveling the country or playing with their high school team. Most of the camps that I have seen, the head coach is in attendance on the first day and the last day. They know that they players that will keep them in their job are on the AAU circuit. Could they find a walk on? Maybe, but you are better off not attending these camps if you are looking at it in financial terms.

At times, it really is hard to figure out what schools want to evaluate you at camp or want to get your money for the camp. But use your best judgment and go to camps at places you would actually want to go to school. There is no reason to try and get an offer from a school that you wouldn’t want to attend.


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A high school coach is needed for the athletic recruiting process

In talking with parents and athletes who are going through the recruiting process, many feel that their high school coach is not doing much in the recruiting process. While many coaches may be uneducated about how to help their player, if you can get your high school coach helping you, it would be a big boast to the recruiting process.

The reason the coach is essential is because you will need an outside opinion that does not have any bias in the recruiting process. For example, if a dad or a mom starts calling colleges and tells them about their son or daughter, chances are that the coach will not listen.

It is a completely different story if the high school coach would start calling around. This coach carries more weight because they are at least the head coach of a high school program. College coaches don’t want to burn bridges with this high school coach simply because they may have the next big player down the road.

Here is a good story I recently heard about this. A few years back, there was a talented basketball who came off of the bench as a junior but ended up being an All Stater in Indiana as a senior. Because this state has so much basketball talent, getting a high honor like that is a great achievement. But with him really excelling as a senior, it was tough for the coach to get him any looks.

The HS head school coach is a veteran and has been there for quite sometime. He knows exactly what he is doing and knows what players can play Division I. This coach did some calling and spoke with a number of lower Division I basketball programs in the Midwest. Some had already filled up their spots but still talked to him. Others didn’t return his phone calls and a few tried to talk to him about a sophomore prospect he had.

This coach, who sent a player to one of the top five programs in the country recently, decided to pull the plug on the coaches that didn’t speak with him about this player or tried to talk to him about a different guy on the team. This shows that when high school coaches get involved, there is more of an impact if parents are the ones calling.

I heard from a Division I coach that no matter what, he will try calling back a high school coach about a kid. If a tape is sent and then the high school coach calls, this college coach will at least try to take a look at it. If the parent sends a tape and then calls about it, chance are slim that it will be watched. As I have mentioned before, if you are sending out highlight tapes to every school in the country, the majority of them will get thrown away.

College coaches will also call the high school quite often requesting tape and talking to the high school coach about you. If the coach is hard to get a hold of, that does make it tough for the college coach to get any information on you. That includes contact information, grades, stats, and video.

I recently was told that a junior kicker had schools around the Midwest like Wisconsin, Iowa, and others requesting tape. If these coaches had an issue getting in touch with the coach, there is no way that the tape would have been sent.

It is also important to have an organized high school coach. If you have a major recruit on your team, it is tough to keep everything straight in terms of videos sent, letters sent, and then worrying about your own life as well. With teaching, your family, and everything else a high school coach does, there is little time to try and figure out where you already sent highlight videos.

In order to get your high school coach on your side, you need to talk to him or her about what level they think you can play at. If there is a disagreement on that, then you might be in for trouble during the process. But if you are on the same page, then you can talk to him about helping you out and what he has done and seen in the past years. That experience is what could help you eventually earn that college scholarship.

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If I shouldn’t pay for a recruiting service to help, why should I pay to get a recruiting highlight video to be produced?

I think I might just be lightening up a little bit overall on recruiting services. While they are not for everyone and can be expensive, there is no doubt that certain recruiting services can be helpful in situations where time is limited. For that I owe an apology to the all of those that work for recruiting services throughout the country (and I know you are reading!).

Anyways, if money is tight and you can’t afford a recruiting service, than why exactly would I tell a family that they should get their highlight video professionally produced? If you can learn more about the recruiting process, can you not learn more about what is needed to put together a recruiting highlight tape?

Before going into this, hudl and similar sites hold your hand through the process.  They do a great job helping athletes and if you have the skills, time, and confidence that you are putting together the very best package, then do it.  However, if there are any questions, then look into getting into done by an expert.

I am going to take a look at this question from both sides. While I think getting your highlight video professionally done is a great thing that can help you in the recruiting process, it may also be something that you have the skills to do if you are willing to put in the time, effort, and a little money.

Why you should get a highlight video professionally made

  • They should be able to do it quicker and give you a timetable as to how soon it will be completed.
  • Their work should be better than what you are able to do.
  • They will hopefully package it in a very professional manner that draws attention from college coaches over other highlight tapes that they receive (the name written on a DVD with a sharpie is not the way to go).
  • Some people are intimidated by technology and don’t want to take the time to learn new software.
  • Time is limited (it seems that time is limited for everyone by the way).
  • Spending money on software and not using it/learning it is very costly overall.

Why would should do a highlight video yourself

  • It is another bonding tool that can bring your family closer while doing it together.
  • If you have more than one athlete who is going to be recruited, this is a great way to save a lot of money overtime.
  • It adds a skill to your resume and a possible way to make money with teammates of your child.
  • You are not relying on others to do the work and thus you are accountable.
  • It is your child and you may know exactly the way that you want to present their abilities (and hopefully have the technical skills to do so.

Each situation is unique. One athlete may have a computer programmer for a parent who has the abilities to learn new software and make a highlight video. Another may have a parent who is a CEO at a company who doesn’t have the time to spend learning new programs. Take the time to think long and hard what you want to do before putting together that video because it will be a major factor in the chase for a scholarship offer.

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Filling numbers at elite basketball & football camps

The recruiting game is changing…. and I think it is changing for the worse.  Maybe I was not a “well versed” a few years back, but I see lots of things either differently now vs. then.  I would describe the “process” as treacherous and borderline dirty.  For the misinformed parent, you can be taken for a ride.  I highly recommend every parent to learn to “read between the lines” and constantly talk to someone who has been thru the process…… cause its just that….. a process.  Lots of sharks out here, looking for prey…..  This is for a family friend…….

I had a chance to talk to a recruit last night and was speaking with him about summer camps. While this was a basketball player, this article does apply to a variety of different sports. Before going into what he said, let me state that he has multiple Division I offers from low major schools and interest from a variety of others. Like a lot of basketball recruits, many are waiting to see him more this summer on the AAU circuit.

I asked him about what other camps that he planned to attend that summer. He mentioned that he received an invite from State University (The most liked college in his State) to their Elite Camp. Normally that is a big honor that most athletes sign up for right away. But this recruit had a very interesting line when talking about it. He said that because State University had called him or shown all that much interest, he wasn’t going to go. The reason he said was because he felt that he was invited just to fill numbers at the camp.

What he meant by filling numbers at the camp is this. A Division I men’s basketball program is allowed to give out thirteen scholarships to prospective athletes. Because most coaches try to keep the recruiting classes even, they want to bring in somewhere around four athletes per recruiting period. At an elite basketball camp, there are usually somewhere between fifty to sixty players. While ages can vary greatly, the percentage of athletes at the camp that will end up getting an offer from that school are small.

This athlete knew that the school was recruiting him. They would occasionally send him mail and they may watch him during the AAU season. But because the numbers at the camp had to be filled, they were obviously sending out invites to players that they may not really be evaluating. What they were doing is filling the numbers with competent athletes (He does have multiple Division I offers just not at the level of this school) who could play against kids that they had higher on their recruiting lists.

The reason that this applies to football as well is that most colleges have a senior one day camp where they bring in what they consider their top prospects. While these football coaches may be getting a chance to work with these players for the first time, my guess is that they don’t think all really have as good of a shot at getting a scholarship as the top prospects of the group. As with the basketball camp, they need to find enough bodies that can at least stay somewhat competitive against their top recruits.

These elite camps or senior camps are much more important in the recruiting process than their week long camps later in the summer (That is especially true for basketball). While you can get a scholarship out of the week long football camps, the majority of the summer basketball camps are jokes. It is a way for the college coaches to boost their income and let the kids have some fun.

The one nice thing about these elite camps is that they are normally cheaper. The college coaches are making little, if any money off of them. The reason that they are holding them is as a recruiting tool. They want to get a chance to evaluate the prospects and learn more about them. And at the same time, they have the recruits on campus and are building a relationship that way.

Many of these camps also have lower level coaches that may help you down the road. But if you already hold multiple scholarship offers and you have a school that is going through the motions in recruiting, he may have made the right choice passing. Why not spend your energy at a school that is seriously considering you as a prospective recruit than one that just needs you to fill a number?


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Are paid recruiting scouting service that have a hefty price worth it in the quest for a scholarship?

Because of the growth of the Internet over the past fifteen years, a variety of businesses have opened that are made easier because of the Internet. One area that has had a lot of growth because of this is paid scouting services. These are the types of scouting services that advertise to get your name out to college coaches and help you earn a scholarship. With a price tag usually in the thousands of dollars, are these really worth that hefty amount?

Here are some of the things that a few of these scouting services offer: “We promote each athlete to every college in the country offering the athlete’s sport. We do not pick and choose colleges in order to cut costs and we do not leave anyone out. Consequently 100% of our prospects get widespread exposure and recognition.” Here is also another one: “For the past 25 years, we have dedicated our efforts toward providing thousands of prospects, parents and college coaches with state – of – the – art products and unparalleled services. And, you will agree that our results speak for themselves.”

These were two random scouting services that I found on the Internet and I have no positive or negative feelings about either. Obviously when promoting a product, they will shoot for the stars and really be positive about their product. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all. I do the same at this site and other sites that I run. It is just a way to help stay productive over time in what you do when trying to earn money.

But will sending your information to every single college in the country really help you with the recruiting process? Will these coaches take your name off of a list and consider you a serious recruit? If all of these coaches take you as a serious recruit and really start showing you attention, then it would be worth the thousands of dollars. But in the back of my mind, that is definitely something I have to question.

I really emailed with a family who worked extremely hard to help their son eventually receive a Division I basketball scholarship. They have been the most aggressive parents that I have seen in the past tens years and it really has paid off with their son getting a free ride. Here is what they thought when I asked about if they considered using a recruiting service:

“We were approached by a couple after “Ben’s” junior year. They were kind of expensive ($1000 and up depending on what services they provided). We found we were already doing the same things they would do—profiles, contact coaches, follow up, game film , etc. It wouldn’t have paid for us to utilize these services, but for parents who really don’t enjoy or have the time to do the legwork, it could be an attractive option.”

I really take that quote to heart because I saw first hand these parents video taping their son at games, AAU events, and anything to help put together a better highlight tape for their son. However, that is not for everyone. It really just depends on what type of situation you are in and also if you have the technical knowledge to put together an extensive profile, cut video, and send it to coaches over the Internet in a timely manner.

Going back to the question at hand, if you are the athlete, there is little change that you can afford a scouting service to help you. So it will probably be up to your parents to fit the bill and that is not an easy feat for the majority of families out there. What I would recommend is research as many of these as you can. I personally think the ones that approach you or your child in person might be a little shady. Yes, that is their job, but I would personally rather find one myself that has been recommended to me. Talk to as many people as you know who have been through the process before and find out as much information as possible. It never hurts to ask, especially if you plan to lay down a few thousand dollars.

As with the quote above, if you don’t have the time or knowledge to do this for one of your children, then look more into the scouting services. Two quick notes that need to be said before I end this article. The first is that if your son or daughter is not a legit player, you are wasting your money. I promise it is a huge waste of time and money if they are not 100% committed to playing college athletics and love the sport that they are looking into. Your son or daughter may also love the game but they also must be good at and good enough to play at the next level. I would have a talk with their high school coach and see what he says about what level your son or daughter can play at. A lot of these scouting services make money off of kids who cannot play.

And the second, and probably most important, is that signing up and paying thousands of dollars does not mean that your child will be getting a scholarship. It means that the program that you signed up for will do what they can, but they are also doing the same for other clients in the same situation. If you are a parent with the ability to promote your child, there is a good chance that he or she is your number one priority in recruiting. Things like work and other family responsibilities may come up but they are your focus. A company does not have that loyalty to you. They will do what they can to help, but like I said, they are doing to however many athletes they have signed up. And for them, the more athletes, the bigger the pay check.

My final advice is if you have the time, skills, and ability to do it yourself, then do it. You can even use this site as a resource to help you through this confusing time. If you are not comfortable doing that, put a lot of time into research, talk to other college athletes, and those in the know that can give you some help as to which direction you may want to go in picking a scouting service. It really depends on the situation.

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