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#12 Recruiting Corner: HS vs. Club Sports, Recruiting Strategies, Unofficial Visits, Duel-Sport Athletes

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Joshua: Hey guys, welcome back. You know what time it is. Another round of The Recruiting Corner. Joshua Zimmerman welcoming back David Frank how are things going?

David: Good. Good to be back missed out last week, so happy to share some news this week.

Joshua: Glad to have you back guys. Just a reminder you can catch all of the episodes via YouTube. Check out Athnet Sports along with all of our frequently asked questions as well. So there’s a lot of information on there to help you through your recruiting process. So David, what do we have going on today?

David: Lots of news per usual in recruiting. We’re going to start off with somebody else coming out against high school sports in favor of club teams.

Joshua: Definitely. We’re also going to talk about whether using the newspaper is a great way to get recruited or not.

David: I think we know the answer to that already. We get to hear from a D1 coach who gives us his policy on recruiting overseas and a little bit of insight into how other coaches recruit overseas.

Joshua: Definitely. We’re also going to talk about how beneficial unofficial visits can be.

David: And more about dual sport athletes and whether you should try and remain a dual sport athlete or not.

Joshua: And because we’ve forget it last week, we’re going to go ahead and do two Facebook questions this week as well. So lots and lots to go. Why don’t you go ahead and get us started off

David: All right. Well, the first story is coming from Bill Wells, and his article is “College Recruiting Process Swing Towards Clubs.” This is again another article about how important clubs are becoming in recruiting and sort of against high school sports. So why don’t you explain what it is about.

Joshua: Basically, what he’s talking about in this is how heavily weighted the club sports are becoming versus the high school sports. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago, and really it’s a stress-er. It’s great to see another writer coming out and saying the exact same thing that we are saying and seeing the exact same thing that we are seeing. The trend is that high school sports for many, many sports are sort of falling off. I mean, you’ve got swimmers that are competing in heavy club sports. You’ve got soccer players. You’ve got baseball players. The reason behind it, what I found interesting, is because not only do the coaches get to see all the top level athletes in one particular area, but also that it’s opposite their season. So it’s really hard for a baseball coach to go during baseball season and recruit. It’s very easy for a baseball coach to go during the fall when they’re not doing anything to recruit. So it’s really interesting, and that’s why club sports are becoming so prevalent

David: Yeah. I thought that was a great point. It is that it’s out of season for them and they can go and see you during your club season.

Joshua: Definitely. So guys, check this out. Sticking with Bill Wells, he wrote an article because some parents were a little miffed at the fact that there was an error in the newspaper about their athlete, and they thought that that was going to hurt them in the recruiting process, because they thought that the newspaper was actually going to help them get recruited

David: Yeah, and Bill Wells know something that we’ve also found out. I get it from parents and athletes all the time, like, “Oh, do you think that I should share my newspaper clippings with coaches?” No. Coaches don’t want to see the newspaper clippings. They don’t cull the newspapers to find out information about recruits. It’s not an important piece of information for college coaches. It’s great. I know it makes you feel good, warm and fuzzy that you got in the newspaper and maybe you got a picture. But I’m telling you keep that in the scrapbook. Don’t send it to coaches and don’t waste their time

Joshua: Definitely. I still have my scrapbook from when I was in high school. Unfortunately, I don’t think a college coach ever called me, as heavily recruited as I was for a little while, I don’t think any one of them said, “Hey, I saw you in the newspaper. I think you’re a good athlete.” So just keep that in mind guys.

David: My scrapbook articles are all, “Oh, yeah, the cross country team ran.”

Joshua: Nice.

David: All right. We get to hear from Coach Thurmond again at the University of Washington. He got a question from an athlete presumably overseas who says, “What’s your policy on recruiting overseas, and when you go overseas, is there a lot of pressure for that athlete to commit once you’re there?”

Joshua: Definitely. Great question. Coach Thurmond has a wonderful blog, and it’s really great to hear from him as a D1 coach a at this point. Listen, as an international athlete, your opportunities to get recruited are ten times harder than it is for someone here in the United States, and that is simply because of access. It’s really expensive for a coach to board an international flight, go overseas, stay internationally for a period of time, and then come back. So when they do go, they have to not only have the budget to support that, but also they have to make it worthwhile, and that was one of the big things that Coach Thurmond said. If they’re going overseas, they’re going for a specific reason. It’s not for one athlete. Normally, it’s for multiple athletes, and the pressure there to commit is huge because if they flew all that way and they spent all that money to come see you, you better be the athlete that they really want.

David: Yes, that’s right. I think another take home message is he says most programs do make at least one trip overseas a year, and they go to the biggest tournaments available. He’s a golf coach, and he talks about going to either the European Boys Championship or something like the UK Boys Championship. If you’re not playing in those tournaments, you’re going to miss out on probably 90% of the coaches who are coming overseas to see you. So really good insight. Another great article from Coach Thurmond.

Joshua: Definitely. So check this out. A couple of major D1 athletes are taking unofficial visits. We read a story from Michael Carvell from out of Atlanta, and then also from Jeff Borzello at CBS Sports. They basically talked about two athletes. One of them was a commit for Georgia and Nick Saban sort of had a deal with him, and then also Shabazz Muhammad. You can go ahead and talk about that in basketball.

David: So the story goes these two very high-end recruits – Shabazz Muhammad by the way is the number one or two top basketball recruit in the country – and what it talks about is the extensive amount of unofficial visits these guys have been going on. In the case of going up to see Coach Saban in Alabama, this recruit got in a car with all of his buddies, drove up to Alabama on his own, and was in the office with Nick Saban. Shabazz Muhammad, the story was reported he made over 15 unofficial visits across the country. I think the really, really important news is that guys, if the best recruits in the country, the biggest names in recruiting are getting out there and seeing schools on their own dime, then you really, really need to make the effort to see these schools. Pile in the car with all your buddies, make a road trip up there to see these coaches, and make sure that you establish with these coaches that you’re coming so that when you are there you can visit with them. Two really, really good articles just to promote those unofficial visits.

Joshua: Definitely. As David said and he mentioned in there, listen, unofficial visits are completely on you. Coaches aren’t paying for anything, which means that you have to go. The unfortunate part for Shabazz is the fact that he had some people pay for his unofficial visits, and it could cost him a little bit of eligibility. But I know that’s still and the thing, you have to pay for it. So keep that in mind. This isn’t something that maybe family friends or business friends or whatever. This comes from your family and it’s tough. But they are a necessity in recruiting these days.

David: Right. Exactly. I think unofficial visits are not an option. It’s a necessity.

Joshua: Definitely. So next?

David: Next, coming up Monica McNutt, she wrote a great article. It’s “Transition Game, The Dual Sport Dilemma.” She talks about the difficulties of being a dual sport athlete in high school and how it impacts recruiting.

Joshua: Definitely. Listen, I was a dual sport athlete in high school for a couple years. I played soccer and I played football. My football coach sat me down and he said, “Listen, Josh, are you going to play college soccer? You’re a good soccer player. You’re not a great soccer player. You’re a great football player. Which is going to pay for your college education?” And I said, “Football probably.” He said, “Exactly. You need a quit soccer.” I was a sophomore in high school when we had that discussion. Probably the best decision I made at that point because soccer just wasn’t going to take me anywhere. Many, many high school athletes face this, and Monica McNutt talks about the fact that sometimes being a dual sport athlete hurts you more than it helps you, and that’s because it does take you away from maybe your bread and butter sports. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s great to say you are three-sport athlete. But if you find yourself losing focus, then sometimes it’s better to focus on one sport than try to be Mr. All American.

David: Yes, and I think that just goes for the advice to those top level recruits. These coaches need to see you playing year round, and you can’t play other sport if you’re trying to be at these elite programs.

Joshua: Definitely. Keep in mind, guys, if you play a sport, like let’s say its football and track. If you are a wide receiver and you’re a sprinter, those sort of go together, so that’s okay. If you’re a lineman and you’re a thrower, it’s sort of okay. But if you’re trying to play football, baseball, and soccer or you’re trying to play a fall, winter, and a spring sport, it’s really, really taxing. You need some time to let your body rest.

David: Yes, exactly. All right. So on to our Facebook questions. We have two coming from Thomas, two excellent questions by the way. First one up is he wants to know, “I’m emailing coaches. How do I get more responses?”

Joshua: Right now, Thomas, unfortunately emailing is not enough. Depending on your age, I realize that some people think you can or cannot contact. But right now you can contact coaches. So instead of just sending emails, we want to go ahead and make sure that you’re calling coaches, that you’re setting up unofficial visits, that you’re making sure that you’re persistent enough to let that coach know that you want this beyond just sending one e-mail.

David: Right. If you are only able to send email, something that is really important is make it personalized. Don’t write a “Dear I’m interested in your university,” put the university’s name in the title. Put the coach’s name in the title. Let them know that it’s addressed to them personally and not just some email you’ve been sending out to every other coach.

Joshua: That’s a great point.

David: All right. The next question Thomas asks and he goes, “Coach got back to me. He said, ‘I’ll follow up.’ But what should I do?”

Joshua: So basically, listen, if you get any response from a coach, feel lucky, because a lot of times coaches don’t respond automatically. If you get a response, respond back to them and thank them. You need to let them know that you care that they took their precious time and wrote you back. What you can do in that email is just let them know that you’re looking forward to corresponding with them over the next period of time, and always ask them how they prefer to receive their information, because some coaches might prefer email over phone, but some coaches want you to maybe call in once a week and just let them know an update on. So you might want to ask that question as well.

David: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Coaches, they’ll never get tired of hearing from a recruit once a week, once every two weeks with just an update. So if he says he’ll follow up, great, but don’t just take his word for it. Be ready to give him that new information when you get it and stay up to date on your contact.

Joshua: Definitely.

David: I think that about covers it.

Joshua: I think we wrapped it up today.

David: So what’s up for the weekend?

Joshua: You know, I’m actually jumping out of an airplane this weekend. So if you guys don’t see me, it’s been fun. But definitely going to try that, getting to go skydiving on Sunday. Yourself?

David: I can’t compete with that. I’m just going to be hanging out at home. No skydiving for me.

Joshua: You were dog sitting this weekend. So you get to have some fun there, Guys, thanks so much for tuning. Listen, as always, if you have questions, definitely hit us up on Facebook and on Twitter. We always answer them, and maybe we can make you part of the show. You know our Twitter handles @JZimmy67, @Athnet, and @DavidRFrank. Thanks for tuning in.

David: Thanks guys.

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