With the last Signing Day for the class of 2022 in the past, we wanted to give a big picture overview of 3 big aspects of the recruiting process for the upcoming months. Whether you have had the dream of playing college football since you were little or just coming to realize that it may be something you want to pursue, these few points will be a good starting point as now all of the 2023 K/P/LS should be starting to roll on their recruiting strategy!
Target Schools – aside from academics and performance, being realistic in your choice of “target” schools is going to lead to the best possible chance of a successful recruiting journey. There are several aspects that you should be considering besides “they win a lot of football games” OR “their uniforms are awesome”. First - academics, both from an admission standpoint (do you have the grades to get in) and do they have what you want to study. Deciding what you want to study or at least having a direction is very important. Second – athletic fit for football. Can I play at this division? Check out some of their players from the 2022 class that are committed - watch their HS highlight film and see where they ranked out with the various Kicking/Punting/Long Snapping rankings. Being realistic in this evaluation leads to the highest chance of success through the recruiting process. Third – demographics and location, how far from home do I really want to go? Do I want to be in the city or suburbs? Small town or big town? Starting to research schools with these aspects (as well as many others) in mind can help build a good starting list. I tell people to keep two things in mind:
You can say, “Thanks coach but I’m not interested” to any school at any point during the recruiting process just like a coach can do the same to you. It’s a two-way street. It doesn’t cost anything but a little bit of time to reach out to a school (above, at or below where you believe you truly fit) just to see what happens.
A good D2 opportunity is better than a bad D1. A good D3/NAIA opportunity is better than a bad D2. Keep your priorities in mind – what I want to study, what is the cost, chance to play, do I like the coaches, is it a nice campus/atmosphere I will enjoy spending four years – rather than “I only want to play D1”.
Twitter – social media has become an absolute vital part of the recruiting process. The speed, ease and functionality of Twitter and Instagram make them invaluable tools for coaches and athletes alike. Keep your account updated – results, grades, film (game, season or training), visits, etc. – because you never know who is watching and keeping track. Follow coaches and programs, DM the ones you can and don’t be afraid to market yourself. REMEMBER – everyone now has a camera and it’s even more important to be smart with what you say, what you do and where you are.
Summer Camps – over the next several months as you dive deeper into your recruiting journey, trying to connect with coaches, making visits and planning your summer – specific college’s camps for your top choice schools should be a priority this summer. Coaches want to see athletes in person and performing well at their camp is one of the best ways to earn their attention (obviously). If you get a letter or an email from Alabama inviting you to their summer camp but no other communication or responses to emails/DMs, then that might not be the best use of your time and money. There are two approaches to take when considering summer camps:
Schools that you are in active, meaningful communication with prior to their camps (handwritten notes are nice but if that’s the only communication, you might be just an address on a long list).
Schools that would be your top choices or dream schools. Their camp can be a chance to get on their radar, impress them and jump start your recruiting process.
Since time and money are valuable commodities, you most likely will not be able to attend all the camps that you would like to – a busy summer is 5-7 college camps. While it isn’t the end of the road for you with a school if you can’t make it to their camp (some will offer athletes at the camps, but not the majority), the good news is that there are several ranking/competition camps that provide an excellent opportunity for you to compete, chart great and increase your star rating & ranking – impress coaches with performing well against other top K/P/LS in your class! Many schools will want to see how the senior year unfolds for a lot of the athletes that they are recruiting.
On the athletic side of things - training sessions, ranking and competition events and college camps – that is only one piece of the puzzle. For all the who, what, when, and how’s of the recruiting process, Underdog Consulting can help!