Potential college recruits shouldn’t look at recruiting as something that they can put in a little effort a couple of times a year and still expect to receive the scholarship offer of their dreams. It’s something that no matter what time of the year it is, you are always doing a little bit of work toward finding a scholarship or walk-on opportunity.
Nothing illustrates this point better than the Rivals article about six BCS-conference football coaches. Rivals featured Steve Sarkisian of the University of Washington; Lane Kiffen of the University of Southern California; Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern University; David Shaw of Stanford University; Dan Mullen of Mississippi State University; and James Franklin of Vanderbilt University. You may be wondering what these six coaches have in common; well, they are all 40 years old and younger, and they are head coaches at schools in BCS automatic qualifying conferences.
The amount of time these coaches have held their current position varies, Fitzgerald being there the longest (6 years) and Shaw is most recent hire (entering his second season), but all six coaches have found a way to drastically improve the recruiting at their programs. But what makes them better recruiters than their predecessors?
They View Recruiting as a 24/7 Job (You Should do this Too)
If you only take away one piece of information from this article, let it be this: there is no offseason for these six coaches, no time where they aren’t focused on finding the next recruit. Whether this means putting extra effort into visiting prospective student-athletes on their high school campus, hosting visits, sending letters and emails, or reviewing film to evaluate recruits, there is always something to be done to piece together each recruiting class.
You can do the same thing with your recruiting. Look at the big picture and start to think about how each part of your playing season and school year fits into your recruiting plan. Whether you are training during the summer, filling out recruiting questionnaires before your season starts, putting together highlight films, or even contacting coaches during or after your season, you are always going through a different phase of recruiting. Once you embrace recruiting as a year round event, you can do a better job of making a plan for recruiting and executing it.
Their Youth Allows Them to Connect with Recruits Better
The Rivals article mentions these coaches’ ability to recruit well when they were all assistant coaches. Younger coaches are able to connect with high school athletes easier than some of the older coaches in college sports. These coaches all mastered their ability to connect with students when they were assistants, and it has carried over well into their head coaching careers. Most notably, former Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh left prior to superstar quarterback Andrew Luck’s senior year. Everyone thought Luck would go pro because of Harbaugh’s departure, but Luck decided to stay and play his last year under Shaw. The main reason behind Luck’s decision was the hiring of Shaw, a man that had developed a great relationship with Luck as an assistant coach during his recruiting.
They Have a Better Understanding of Social Media and Other Technology Used For Recruiting
Every year technology influences recruiting more and more. These days, much of the communication between coaches and recruits is digital, whether it be emails, Facebook messages, direct messages on Twitter, or even text messages. Much of the discovery of athletes occurs online as well. The coaches that will dominate recruiting in the future will grasp developing technology like these guys have.
If You can’t Get in Touch with These Guys, it May Be Time to Explore Other Options
Coaches at the top division 1 schools got there by not only being the best coaches, but by being the best at recruiting also. We always encourage athletes to push themselves to achieve their goals, and to contact all the coaches at every school that interests them, but if you keep contacting the top coaches at the top schools with no luck, it might be better to start looking at division 2 schools and even division 3 colleges. The guys at the top are the best recruiters, and there may be a reason why you have had trouble getting in touch with them.
Are not getting recruited? Do you have questions? Leave them in the comments below and I will answer them.