The four letter word of college athletic recruiting: EXPOSURE

If I asked you who Phillip Phillips, Carrie Underwood, or Kelly Clarkson are, that might be an easy answer for you. They were all American Idol winners and immensely talented singers who have gone on to successful music careers since the show. But can you tell me who Shannon Magrane, Paul Jolley, or Andrew Garcia are? They finished in the top 10 of American Idol in the last several years out of a pool of hundreds of thousands of contestants. While some contestants are still in the music business in some capacity, you probably won’t find them performing at any large concert venues or award shows.

Each week I seem to come across the latest and greatest in recruiting services and apps and widgets to help high school athletes connect with college coaches. Most of them are based on some form of social media, web, or email app. The underlying theme: EXPOSURE

It is true; you cannot get recruited unless a college coach knows your name or unless you are exposed to them somehow. But a college coach knowing your name is hardly the deciding factor in whether or not you get recruited. Each week the three top ten finishers listed above sang in front of not only millions of viewers on TV, but in front of every music executive in the country if not the world. The tenth best singer out of a pool of possibly a million people that show up at the American Idol auditions wasn’t offered a record deal or a job in the music business after the show. How can this be, as they had more EXPOSURE than any musician in the world could possibly ask for??

There is no magic bullet to recruiting. Exposure is not a path to success. To succeed in recruiting, you have to have a unique set of skills (academic, athletic, social, work ethic, desire) that other recruits do not have. Then you have to find a college and a college coach that has a need and a desire for your skills. Then you need to personally communicate with that college coach. And after all that, you might fail to get recruited. You might be a great goalie, but if a college has three already, there will be no need to recruit you. You might be a great center, but if your grades are sub-par, the ability for the coach to recruit you will be diminished. You might be fast, but the coach needs someone faster. You might be big, but the coach needs someone bigger.

The last service I came across said the following…

“It does not matter how good you are, to be recruited and be in line for a college scholarship, you need to aggressively reach out to college Coaches and Recruiters.”

Yes, and after you reach out to them, the next thing that matters is HOW GOOD YOU ARE! And it matters a lot! How good are you on the field, how good are you in the classroom, how good of a person are you? How good you are matters! Anyone can reach out to any coach, their email is plastered all over their school’s website or through a recruit contact form. But that will get you nowhere if you don’t have several other things going for you.

Here are the seven questions a college coach asks after they learn your name.

1 – Can this recruit get accepted to my school based in their academic record?
2 – Does this recruit possess the athletic skills to play for our program?
3 – Do I have the ability to evaluate their skills to make a fair evaluation?
4 – Is this recruit truly interested in playing for my program?
5 – Can this recruit afford to come to our school?
6 – Does our school offer academic programs this recruit is interested in?
7 – Will this recruit be happy and successful at our school?

If the answer to ANY of those questions is NO, then your recruiting process is probably over for that school. You can expose yourself as much as you want to as many schools as you want to, but no amount of exposure will get you recruited if those questions above are not met by you!

The most successful families in the recruiting process work backwards. They research the colleges that are a potential fit athletically, academically, socially, financially, and even geographically and then they make personal contact with the college coach to discuss a potential fit. They do the grunt work for the college coach. Then when they hear twenty “thank you but no thank you” from college coaches who work at colleges that might have been a perfect match for “the recruit”, they move onto the 21st school on their list because it only takes one yes to succeed in this process. Every “no” they hear is a chance to move on and succeed at another school. Exposure is their goal, but exposure is the last trait on a long list of traits that will lead them to success in this process.

Your college recruiting process is extremely important. Don’t leave success in the hands of an app, or widget, or website that promise the world; that promise to make things easy! It’s a personal process that takes a lot of time, dedication and research to succeed in.

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