Marketing scholarship offers during the athletic recruiting process


I recently had a comment from a parent who sits in a very desirable situation.  Even though his son is just entering his junior year of high school, he already holds two early scholarship offers.  What that means is his son has already gotten off to a great start in the recruiting process.  But with the offers in hand, now is a great time to capitalize on them.

I have always mentioned that making your offers public is important during the recruiting process.  Some feel differently, but I strongly feel that if schools see other programs recruiting you, they are going to take a closer look at you because of that interest.  Never lie about the amount of interest that you actually have but part of marketing yourself is letting other colleges and media outlets know that the scholarship offers are on the table.

While I don’t know all that much about the situation with the offers, the hope is that on September 1st these scholarships will become offers on paper instead of just a verbal offer.  I have heard many stories about coaches offering verbal scholarships and never coming through.  But for the sake of this article, lets say that the hard copies of the offers will be coming early next month.

If there have been other schools outside of the two recruiting this athlete, make sure to let the coaches know that there are two offers on the table.  As a parent, you can send an email update to the coach who you have had the most contact with.  Tell them about how the preseason practices/early games are going for your son, their updated height/weight, and about the recruiting interest.  The more coaches that know, the better for you.

The offers may also help you open more doors to schools that an athlete has grown up dreaming to play for.   I stress to market your child or yourself to college coaches.  When you pick new schools to contact and send your recruiting profile to, make sure to include that these two have offered early scholarship offers.  Make sure to include the date as well because you really have to be an excellent recruit to get offers so early in the recruiting process.

Once those are done, the third and final step is contact media outlets.  If it was me, the first place I would go is to check Rivals.com and see if the schools that have offered have a website on their network.  If it is updated frequently and people actually seem to care about it, then email the publisher and introduce yourself with mention of the offer.  If the site is poorly run (Most of the major BCS schools have the best sites), then email the recruiting experts at Rivals in your area.  Also, make sure to check out the high school site in your state and judge if it is worth contacting them about the information.  With these prep sites, only a few are done well so think hard if it is worth it.

After you have tried Rivals.com, do the exact same steps with 247Sports.  Look for sites at the schools that have offered and then try contacting their recruiting experts .  Last but not least, try the high school site in your state as well.  After that, the third place I would contact is ESPN.  I have tried searching for their contact information but it is definitely tricky.

The last place I would contact would be your local newspaper.  Find out who the prep writer is for your area (Most should already know this) and email them about the offers.  While it does not mean they are going to drop everything and do an article, it is good to let them know for future articles.

The reason that you tell college coaches about this is that offers breed more offers.  I really believe that.  Contacting Rivals, Scout, and ESPN is the next step to get the word out about the offers.  College coaches love checking out those sites so they will likely see it and move on from there.

Again, having scholarships before your junior year is a great thing.  It says a lot about the athlete and their ability on the field and you are in a very good position at this point.

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Waiting until your senior season does not help athletic recruiting


I recently had a chance to speak with an athlete who is a very good basketball at a small school. He played some for an AAU team during the summer but didn’t get all that much exposure. When talking to him about recruiting, I heard a statement that I really hope people do not believe: “I am getting some letters from a lot of colleges but I am going to wait until my senior season to help get myself out there a little bit.”

If you have logged varsity time in the sport that you hope to play in college, there is no better time than now to start marketing yourself in the athletic recruiting. It doesn’t matter if it is football, basketball, baseball, or any other sport for that matter. The longer that you wait, the harder it is going to be for you in the athletic recruiting process.
While I cannot say for sure, my guess is this athlete is going it alone in the recruiting process. He is uniformed and not received much help from those around him. I was in his situation many years back as well but this athlete has the stats that will help open doors for him to college coaches. He needs to take advantage of his skills and start contacting college coaches.

By contacting college coaches, I do not mean that he needs to be randomly sending tapes to any Division I school in the country. That is not something that will be wasting your time, money, and probably getting your hopes up as well. I knew a player from the Midwest that sent his tape to colleges in Virginia. If he was sending them there, how many others do you really think he sent out? The good news is that hudl and youtube links can be sent easily via email.

Instead of doing that, athletes should be looking into which schools fit them best. They need to figure out what they want most in a school in terms of education, location, the level of the program, and things along those lines. Once they find those schools, that is the time they go to the athletics website of that college and contact the coaches. Send them your recruiting profile and go from there.

First off, if a player is waiting until his senior season, chances are the only schools that will “help him get out there” are going to be Division III, NAIA, or Junior College programs. The scholarship schools at the Division I and II levels already have their recruiting board full of names. The sooner that you can contact them about your ability, the more it will help you.

If a scholarship school has five prospects for a shooting guard spot (Or even offensive tackle spot for football), they may end up getting a commitment from one of those prospects in the fall and be done with recruiting. If this player hopes to wait until his senior season to shine, it could be too late for so many schools that could be a good fit.
By doing the work now, you are at least taking control of the recruiting process and having some say as to which schools recruit you. This is not a sure fire way to a scholarship but it will help put you in the best situation possible to get attention from colleges that you are interested.

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Proving recruiting experts from Rivals and Scout wrong when it comes to player rankings


The USA Today recently had an article talking about how the best recruits in the country do not always end up being the most productive at the college level. Having college coaches all over the country offering you, fans hoping that you will come to their school, and getting high reviews from recruiting experts from Scout, Rivals, ESPN is great but it does not mean you are going to be a sure fire NFL draft pick.

In a lot of cases though, the top rated recruits do have more tools to be able to get to the next level. Their size, speed, strength, and things of that nature after being fine tuned by college coaches could be exactly what NFL scouts want down the road. But it doesn’t always work that way. The article I mentioned above specifically talks about Penn State and their recruits, both with high and low rankings.

The two players that were often mentioned in the article were wide receivers One walked on and another was a grayshirt recruit, which basically means they were not expected to be among the top players on team. Each would be great if they add depth but little was likely expected out of them.

Work harder than anyone else:
While hard work will not make a terrible athlete better than one of the best in the country, if there are two comparable athletes and one works harder, which one do you think will see the field first? Going back to another quote, think about this one. And it is among my favorite all time quotes: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Don’t take anything for granted:
Sometimes when recruits are highly rated, they expect the starting position to be handed to them and that they don’t have to worry about much else. They have been handed things all of their life so why should it stop now? As an underrated recruit, do not take anything for granted. Don’t take the opportunity to walk on or potential to earn a scholarship for granted. Keep it in mind during your workouts that you have something to prove.

Play with a chip on your shoulder:
When you are on the field, play with a chip on your shoulder. Try to prove to the coaching staff that you deserve a scholarship offer. While you will have to put a staggering amount of time in, remember that the time you are putting in is for something you love.

Avoid off the field problems:
The less problems you have off the field, the better chances you avoid going into the doghouse. Just stay out of trouble.

Have success in the classroom:
While this may not get you on the field, having success in the classroom will help you overall. Maybe you never get that scholarship but are able to graduate with a 3.5 GPA.

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Ten things that you can do to hurt yourself in the athletic recruiting process


Unless you get an early scholarship offer, the athletic recruiting process is not easy.  There are going to be times of stress, frustration, and hopefully joy when you finally make a final decision.  But before picking a college, there is going to be a lot of things to do.

But instead of focusing on that, we are going to talk about the ten things you should not do in the chase for a scholarship offer.  These are many things we have talked about at times but thought this would be a good article to put ten things in an article that are things you should definitely avoid.  Onto the list!

1.) Waiting for schools to find you
Athletes will tell me that they are waiting until their senior year and the attention will start coming.  Are they serious?  Do the work yourself and don’t just wait.  You will be waiting to pay for student loans at a Division III school.

2.) Not marketing yourself
There may be some schools that find you and are aware of.  But what if there is an out of state school that never recruits your region and is a perfect fit, how will they find you?  You will need to market yourself to those schools and get your name out there.

3.) Deciding not to bother with a highlight video
I have to say time and time again that a highlight video is not where to save money in the recruiting process.  This is a very valuable tool and needs to be done, especially in football.

4.) Skipping summer college camps/AAU/showcases
Any chance to showcase your skills in front of college coaches is a great way to help yourself.  Unlike the independent combines that make me sick, college coaches are around and have the ability to evaluate you.

5.) Putting too much stock into a letter
Unless the letter says that they want to offer you a scholarship, then it means very little.  I was a high schooler once who was excited about a Division I letter I received (which I still have by the way).  But in all honesty, if it is a form letter or a questionnaire, there are thousands of other athletes that receive these.  Again, thousands.

6.) Focusing all of your attention on a small number of schools
Some families just take all of their visits to two or three schools.  What happens when those schools don’t offer?  Keeping things wide open and looking at lots of schools will help you in the long run.

7.) Going to independent combines/camps that cost money
It would do you better to just take the money out of the bank and burn it.  These independent camps only help put cash in the pockets of those that run them.

8.) Looking only at schools that are at one level (normally focused on Division I programs)
If you are reading this site frequently and only have Division I eyes, please comment on this post so I can smack you.  Keep your search broad and your options open.

9.) Not going on enough visits
If you don’t take multiple visits to a variety of schools, it is going to be tough to find a program that you end up loving.  See different programs and campuses helps widen your options.

10.) Relying on others to handle the athletic recruiting process for your family
Even if you decide to hire a recruiting service, your job isn’t over.  You may be paying them hundreds or thousands but you still need to educate yourself, take visits, and talk to them frequently about what is going on.

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The slippery slope for early scholarship offers by Division I-AA and II schools in the football recruiting process


When it comes to scholarship offers in the football recruiting process, 80% of the news is from Division I-A (BCS) schools doing the offering. Most of the scholarships are from programs in BCS conferences in hopes that they are able to land top recruits early in the process. If they do that, the coaches are not going to be sweating it out on Signing Day.
I have talked that some Division I-AA and II schools do not frequently end up offering athletes early. If this happens, why is it not publicized and talked about much? Why are athletes not broadcasting their summer Division II football scholarship offer?

The reason that they are rarely broadcast or even mentioned for that is matter that they don’t happen all that frequently. Most of the coaches at these schools realize that they have been burned too many times in the past to waste their time with these early scholarships.
The reason is simple. If you get a Division II offer, the first thing I recommend doing is broadcasting that attention. You tell media and the other college coaches that recruiting you. You post is on twitter. If you believe you are above a Division II player and a DII school offers in the summer, I would share that as much as possible with the Division I-AA (FCS) schools recruiting me. You might as well share that information with other Division I-AA (FCS) schools that are also not recruiting you.

The Division I-AA (FCS) and II coaches who have been around long enough normally know that in most situations, it is best to wait to offer athletes. I will tell a story for my reasoning. Say that an under the radar athlete was hurt his junior season comes to their camp and just blows up. All of the coaches are amazed by his skills and improvement. The coaches are so impressed that they end up offering the athlete.

Luckily for this athlete, he has a very savvy high school coach who lets the in-state Division I-A (BCS) schools know about his rapid improvement, camp performance, and his overall abilities. These schools start sniffing around and find out that this kid can play. Two of the four Division I-A (BCS) programs end up offering by the end of the summer. Do you really think that the Division I-AA (FCS) school really has a chance?

Again, I would say that 95% of the scholarship offers being handed out now as from Division I-A (BCS schools) and likely 90% is also of the schools from the top ten major conferences. A scholarship offer shows an athlete that a college coach wants you bad enough at their school that they will pay for your education. Word travels quickly regarding offers and recruiting information so it makes it harder for Division I-AA (FCS) and Division II coaches to hide under the radar gems these days.

There is also one other reason why these smaller schools could end up offering scholarships. Their coaches have worked at all different levels and feel that they know level a player is after having seen them in camp. What I mean by that is if you see a Division I-A (BCS) athlete at camp, you are likely to be blown away. Division I-AA (FCS) and Division II type athletes may not be quite as big, quite as athlete, but it is obvious that they have skill. These coaches could feel that this athlete could be a good fit at their level.

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The slippery slope for early scholarship offers by Division I-AA and II schools in the football recruiting process


When it comes to scholarship offers in the football recruiting process, 80% of the news is from Division I-A (BCS) schools doing the offering. Most of the scholarships are from programs in BCS conferences in hopes that they are able to land top recruits early in the process. If they do that, the coaches are not going to be sweating it out on Signing Day.
I have talked that some Division I-AA and II schools do not frequently end up offering athletes early. If this happens, why is it not publicized and talked about much? Why are athletes not broadcasting their summer Division II football scholarship offer?

The reason that they are rarely broadcast or even mentioned for that is matter that they don’t happen all that frequently. Most of the coaches at these schools realize that they have been burned too many times in the past to waste their time with these early scholarships.
The reason is simple. If you get a Division II offer, the first thing I recommend doing is broadcasting that attention. You tell media and the other college coaches that recruiting you. You post is on twitter. If you believe you are above a Division II player and a DII school offers in the summer, I would share that as much as possible with the Division I-AA (FCS) schools recruiting me. You might as well share that information with other Division I-AA (FCS) schools that are also not recruiting you.

The Division I-AA (FCS) and II coaches who have been around long enough normally know that in most situations, it is best to wait to offer athletes. I will tell a story for my reasoning. Say that an under the radar athlete was hurt his junior season comes to their camp and just blows up. All of the coaches are amazed by his skills and improvement. The coaches are so impressed that they end up offering the athlete.

Luckily for this athlete, he has a very savvy high school coach who lets the in-state Division I-A (BCS) schools know about his rapid improvement, camp performance, and his overall abilities. These schools start sniffing around and find out that this kid can play. Two of the four Division I-A (BCS) programs end up offering by the end of the summer. Do you really think that the Division I-AA (FCS) school really has a chance?

Again, I would say that 95% of the scholarship offers being handed out now as from Division I-A (BCS schools) and likely 90% is also of the schools from the top ten major conferences. A scholarship offer shows an athlete that a college coach wants you bad enough at their school that they will pay for your education. Word travels quickly regarding offers and recruiting information so it makes it harder for Division I-AA (FCS) and Division II coaches to hide under the radar gems these days.

There is also one other reason why these smaller schools could end up offering scholarships. Their coaches have worked at all different levels and feel that they know level a player is after having seen them in camp. What I mean by that is if you see a Division I-A (BCS) athlete at camp, you are likely to be blown away. Division I-AA (FCS) and Division II type athletes may not be quite as big, quite as athlete, but it is obvious that they have skill. These coaches could feel that this athlete could be a good fit at their level.

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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 Rivals.com, Rise.com, 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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