If you are basing your expectations of the recruiting process on what you see happening to the biggest recruits in your sport, you are setting up for disappointment. The difference between a 5-star recruit and a no-star recruit is a lot more than five stars. This doesn’t mean you can’t get recruited or that you need to be on a recruiting website to end up at a big school. The biggest differences between unknown and 5-star recruits are in the recruiting budgets of the schools recruiting them, how many schools will be recruiting them, the leverage they have with coaches and the amount of help they will get in the recruiting process.
Recruiting Budget’s of $500,000 vs. $5,000
The top college programs in the country have recruiting budgets that are 100x the recruiting budgets of most other universities. This means they can afford to send out letters to gauge recruits interest, fly scouts to camps and combines and have full time staff members dedicated to organizing recruiting. For most universities on smaller recruiting budgets the task of recruiting is just one of the many things a coach needs to do each week. In addition, small recruiting budgets means the coaches don’t have the resources to “find or look for” recruits. They need to make their evaluations over film (the majority of them online) and make sure that if they are going to be spending the money to come watch that athlete in person, they already have a very good idea that you are good enough for their team.
You Don’t Need 10 Offers to Get 1 Scholarship
Going on to sites like Rivals or 247sports you can easily see the long list of offers top recruits have. As an unknown recruit, you shouldn’t expect to have the same size offer lists. Many of the offers you see listed on these sites are coming from media reports of an offer based on conversations with someone directly or indirectly involved with the athlete. Having an offer listed on a website doesn’t mean that athlete is strongly considering that school at all. You shouldn’t have attitude of having an offer just to have an offer. You want to have a list of schools you are seriously considering.
You will only have the time to get to know about 5 schools well enough to make an informed decision about that school and coach. Trying to talk with and evaluate more schools than that and you are spreading your time out too much and sacrificing getting to know any school or coach.
5-Star Recruits Have Leverage with Coaches
When an elite recruit talks to another university, they have a big advantage because that coach knows that recruit has or will soon have other scholarship offers. This means, if that coach wants that recruit, they are going to need to use a scholarship to get them. When you are a less well known recruit and don’t have other schools you are talking to, a coach is always going to try and get you on their team for the lowest price possible (usually a walk-on). In order to put the odds of a scholarship in your favor, you need to find more schools and coaches you like. The more schools you are truly willing to attend, the more those coaches are going to have to compete for you.
Universities Have More Resources to Help 5-Star Recruits
In addition to increased recruiting budgets, larger schools have much bigger athletic department staffs. One of the things these departments do is help that schools recruits through the recruiting process. As a 5-star recruit, coaches are going to use their athletic department staff to ensure you get all the help you need to get into an be eligible for their school. When you are being recruited by smaller schools, coaches have to be more selective about how many athletes they ask their athletic departments to review. As a recruit, you can really help the process by having all of your academic information together (transcripts, test scores, NCAA ID) and meeting with your high school councilor to make sure you are on track.
Are you having a hard time getting started in the recruiting process? Do you think you have what it takes to play college sports but no coaches know who you are? Let us help, contact me on Twitter or email through Google+.