USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online college planning experience for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
College recruiting is not an exact science. From differing roster needs, to scholarship availability, to player preferences, there are so many variables that are constantly changing. But, as crazy and chaotic as college recruiting can be at times, there are still ways to determine how good of a chance you really have at playing your sport in college.
Every day at Playced, you recruits ask us if we think you have what it takes to get to the next level. Truthfully, without knowing you, we have no idea! In order for us to provide the most appropriate answer possible, we need more information from you! So, here are three of the top indicators that you are progressing towards a college career.
Are you a varsity starter?
If you have serious interest of playing your sport in college, you need to answer “yes” to this question. Whether you can say that you have been starting on your high school’s varsity team for the last four years or you are expecting to start your senior year, this is one of the easiest indicators of an athlete moving onto the next level. In all honesty, if you are not starting at the highest level your high school has to offer, there is a slim-to-none chance that you will ever get the shot of playing collegiately. Being a varsity starter indicates:
- You have reached the highest level, up to this point in your career.
- You are competing against the best competition possible.
- You are playing on a bigger stage, with brighter lights and more pressure.
- You most-likely have passion for the sport you play.
- You are most-likely committed to the sport you play.
Just keep in mind, college coaches are looking to fill their rosters with the best possible athletes. In almost every scenario, that means they are out watching high school varsity teams, not high school junior varsity teams or high school freshmen teams. All of the aforementioned indicators of being a varsity starter is what will attract college coaches!
Are you one of the top three players on your team?
Let’s do an exercise quickly. Take out a piece of paper, grab a pen and write down the three top players on your team. That can be whatever team you are playing for, currently. It can be your varsity team, your junior varsity team or even your select/club team (in that case, make it the top six players). It’s all relative. Is your list ready? Now, let me ask you this, will every player that you wrote on your list get the opportunity to play collegiately? I’m guessing that most of you would say “no” to this question. And, even if you answer “yes,” would player No. 4 or player No. 5 on your list go on to play in college? That answer, in all likelihood, is going to be “probably not!”
The reality of college recruiting is that not every good player will get a shot at the next level. Whether it has to do with size, speed or lacking fundamentals, so many talented players plateau at the high school level. The bottom line is that it takes a special talent to get through that high school funnel. If you want to know whether or not you have what it takes to play in college, you absolutely should be one of the standout players on your team.
Would your coach be willing to vouch for you?
Ask any college coach in the country what outside opinion do they consider most when making a decision on a recruit and the overwhelming majority would answer with, “the recruit’s current coach.” Whether it is a high school, select or club coach, college coaches rely on the opinion of the coach closest to the recruit. So, let me ask you this, would your current coach be willing to put his or her name behind you? Would your coach be willing to help you get to the next level because he or she thinks you are worthy of that privilege? You shouldn’t even have to think about this one.
Here’s the deal, you coach’s opinion of you matters. It’s not the only opinion that matters, but it is one of the opinions that can greatly increase your chances of playing in college. A coach that is willing to vouch for you speaks volumes to the college coach that is recruiting you. It’s telling of your character, your work ethic, your abilities and so much more. If you are wondering what it is going to take to get to the next level, take a long, hard look at the relationship you have with your current coach. It will play a huge role in your college recruiting process.