One of the most popular questions we get at Athnet is “When should I start the recruiting process?” The answer is: usually a lot earlier than you think. Too often athletes wait until their senior year or even halfway through their senior year to start the recruiting process. This is too late. Yes, you may be able to find a scholarship if you start looking in your senior year, but it may not be the best fit or opportunity for you.
We strongly encourage athletes to start (at least) thinking about recruiting and the types of schools they are interested in during their freshman year of high school. Read this article to get a basic understanding of the things you need to do every year to get recruited. The scholarship process can take time and effort on the student athlete’s end. They will need to seek out schools, contact coaches, go to camps, and continue to develop relationships with coaches. All these things occur over several years.
Two Important Lessons
There are two very important lessons to learn from basketball player Chris Lewis. The first is that sports like basketball, soccer, and golf recruit early. Lewis is an eighth grader from a suburb just outside of Atlanta. He recently received two scholarship offers to play basketball at University of New Mexico and Memphis University. Lewis already stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and is the son of former New York Jets’ linebacker Mo Lewis. Lewis’s situation highlights the fact that in some NCAA sports, coaches are looking at athletes at a young age; and if they find an exceptional athlete, they will make a verbal offer.
The second, and most important, lesson to take away is that this is not a typical situation for the vast majority of athletes. We don’t want you to think coaches will just find you if you are a really good middle school (or even freshman or sophomore) athlete. Our intention is to highlight the need to view the recruiting process as a four-year progression throughout your high school career. Coaches are looking to connect with athletes earlier in high school than you may expect. Developing relationships throughout your high school career will ultimately lead to scholarship offers. Starting recruiting early will also allow you to learn more about your college choices and each individual college; this will ensure that you make the best decision in the end.