January Recruiting To-Do's
For 2022, 2023, 2024 Classes and Beyond
While there is no way to guarantee recruiting success, you can certainly do things to will make it more or less likely to occur. Make no mistake, while football is shut down on the field, the recruiting office is abuzz. Here is a list of To-Do’s for 2022, 2023 and 2024 hopefuls ↓
Circle back to every coach you have had contact with:
“Coach, hope you had a great holiday season. Would love to check if you had a minute after the New Year,” If they do not respond within a week, send a polite follow up, “Coach, just bumping my last message to the top of your inbox, hope all is well.” If they don’t get back to you after that, then it’s time to move on.
Create a hot, warm and cold list of schools speaking with you:
Hot schools are where coaches are driving the communication by calling, texting and emailing consistently with you.
Warm schools are where coaches respond intermittently. If you get a DM at 1am on Friday, you probably are not a priority. Coaches are likely keeping you somewhere in the middle or lower part of their recruiting list in case their first choices fall through.
Cold schools are ones that have not responded back to you ever, or have dropped off in their communication. These are the schools it’s probably time to move on from.
Understand that the majority of the recruiting decisions that will occur for you will happen somewhere between now and spring time of your senior year.
There is a lot of upheaval. Recruiting boards implode daily, but the further on we get into the 2022 year, the less likely that dream school is going to come through with an ideal football situation.
Load up your recruiting pipeline:
You don’t exist officially to a football program unless you have take time to fill out their recruiting questionnaires which are available for NAIA, JUCO, DIII, DII and FCS programs on their websites. These questionnaires are redundant and boring, but if you don’t take the time to fill these out, your recruiting won’t take off the ground.
Follow this format:
Recruiting questionnaires - These take about 5-10 minutes per team to fill out. Once these are filled out your position coach and area recruiter will get a ping on their phone/email stating that you entered in information in their recruiting areas.
Emails - Find your area recruiter and position coach and send them the scripted email below.
Twitter - Find and follow your area recruiter and position coach. When you can, send them the same message you emailed them.
Script: Coach my name is John Doe 23’ K/P/QB 3.9 GPA 6’1 John Doe HS and I’d love to compete for you. Here is my tape, with all my academic information below. Thank you for taking the time to read this. - John Doe.
Academic Information: While not essential it will really speed up your recruitment to have a copy of your official or unofficial transcript. Coaches will use this to determine how admissible you are. The higher the academic reputation of the school you are applying to the more this matters.
Most colleges pivot to the next recruiting class after the New Year which means you guys. When they do, you will be as ready to go as you can be.
The priority for 2023 recruits is to get invited to or attend Junior Days and a major part of making that likely to happen is this mundane, unglamorous January leg work. See this article for everything you need to know about Junior Days ↓
2024’s & Beyond
The goal for young athletes should be fourfold:
Get great mechanics
Not every young athlete is going to hit their growth spurt at the same time. But, every young athlete can start to develop crucial fundamental mechanics that great athletes will need at their desired position. The distance will come with the growth spurts, but the consistency comes with practice. Find a great swing or mechanics coach that you can rely on to develop you or your child’s form.
Get great grades
Grades play a much larger role in college recruiting than exposure camps would have you think. If you wait until senior year to “turn it on” you waited too long. Admissions departments tell their staffs every year the GPA’s, courses and test scores they can or cannot recruit. No coach ever complained about a recruit’s grades being too high.
Get really strong
Strength isn’t everything, but it certainly is never a weakness. Mechanics will only get you so far. All things being mechanically equal between two athletes, the stronger one will get the nod.
You only get four years to play your sport, maybe four more in college if you’re lucky. The quickest way to get burnt out in your college quest is to take it too seriously too soon. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of work ahead.
But, what about ranking camps?
I like baseball and football throwing coach Tom House’s take ↓
Showcases only benefit the players who are good enough to finish in the top 10-20% of athletes there. The marketing message of these showcases is simple: compete, get ranked and then get a college offer. But, these showcases offer no recruiting support: they do not make phone calls on behalf of their participants, they do not talk to families in depth about their unique situations and they are not transparent with exactly which college coaches they hold influence with.
Correlation is not causation. Because a power five recruit attends so-and-so’s camp does not mean attending that camp was the reason for their power five offer. There are players that do every camp and go power five, there are players who do every camp and go Division III, and there are players who do no camps or don’t even play high school football who end up at an SEC football school.
These camps are a lot of fun, but don’t think attending or not attending one will somehow make or break your recruiting by any means. To a lot of confused players and parents, a product with such a magical wand offering as a showcase is alluring. But no recruiting service or showcase has all the answers, and none certainly can predict the randomness that rules a lot of it.
If ranking camps are going to have an impact on your recruiting, the window for that impact would be between your rising junior and rising senior years. Anything before that, you won’t be strong enough to compete in any finals. Anything after that is too late in the recruiting cycle. For better or for worse, college recruiting boards are mostly set by the end of your junior going into senior year summers.
Putting It All Together
You will get a lot more out of a doing a little bit every day than a lot once in a while not only in life but in recruiting. Wherever you are in your recruiting journey, and whoever you are in this process, remember that there is no silver bullet product. If there is one that comes along, it is probably a lie. Randomness, timing and luck play just as large a role as habits, game tape and grades do. And, no matter what you do, you will never totally negate chance in your life. But, you can always control this question: What’s important to us? What does success look like?
Stay tuned for February’s Recruiting To-Do Guide…