College Football: 10 Things Every Recruit Wants to Know
Championships are won on the recruiting trail just as much as they are on the field. The recruiting business requires dedicated, relentless and tireless labor in order to be successful, and even this isn't enough.
Probably the most important aspect of recruiting is related to the recruits themselves. Coaches that can connect with recruits are normally the most successful recruiters, and in order to make this connection, they must know what recruits want to hear.
High school kids are some of the most unpredictable creatures on the planet. This being said, there are several things that every recruit wants to know. If a coach wants to reel in a top ten class, he would do well to learn each of them.
10. The Depth Chart
Some recruits want to play right away and some want to ease their way into playing time. Either way, every high school prospect wants to know where they stand on the depth chart in the incoming years.
It's the recruiter's job to find out what the specific recruit wants in terms of playing time. Once they have attained this information, the coaches must express to the recruit how well he will fit in their depth chart. Whether he is interested in seeing the field early or learning under an upperclassman, the prospect wants to hear about the depth chart and be reassured.
Rightfully so, high school prospects are very concerned with themselves and want to feel comfortable in the position they will be put in for the next few years. In order to reassure them, coaches should thoroughly explain what players he already has and what he's expecting from them in their first year and the years proceeding.
9. Conference Credibility
With the current BCS system and conference realignment, conference credibility has become a major aspect of the recruitment of high school prospects. Recruits want to know how strong the school's conference is. They also want to know how stable the school's conference is and if the school plans on remaining in the same conference in the years to come.
As the recruiter, it would behoove you to inform the recruit of your conference's appeal. They want to learn the history of your conference and be assured that your conference's future is bright. High school prospects also want to know what NFL scouts and analysts think of the quality of your conference.
Above all else, if your conference is, in fact, a "BCS" conference, inform them od the benefits of this and what BCS bowl game your conference receives an automatic bid from.
8. Head Coach's Track Record
An experienced coach is an extremely useful tool in the recruiting game. The more success a head coach has had in the past, the better, and if your track record is impressive, it will benefit you greatly to inform the recruit of your past successes.
No recruit wants to play for an inexperienced head coach. On their visit, recruits want to know what the head coach's resume looks like and how successful he has been in the past. Some prospects put more stock into this than others, but nonetheless, every recruit wants to know how their potentially future head coach has fared throughout his career.
High school prospects concern themselves with this because a solid head coach is vital to their personal success. Along with the useful instruction they will be given on the practice field, experienced coaches can also offer connections to NFL scouts and coaches, which could affect a recruit's draft status.
7. National Exposure
High school prospects, especially the highly touted ones, are extremely concerned with national exposure. Many of these kids are stars in their hometowns and expect to further their fame at the next level.
Recruits want to hear how many times your team will appear on television and how many prime-time games your team will compete in. They want to see your team's schedule for the next three to four years and see how many marquee games they will have the opportunity to play in.
National exposure is such a major aspect in recruiting because it influences so many things. For example, the amount of national exposure a college player receives greatly affects their chances of winning major awards like the Heisman Trophy or other position-specific awards. Also, the more times a team appears on television could affect what type of bowl games a college player has the opportunity to play in during their brief career.
Needless to say, national exposure has become an integral part of the game we know and love today.
6. Location/Campus Life
Barring unique circumstances, these recruits will be living in the location of the college that they choose for the next three to four years. This fact can't be overlooked.
While on their visit, recruits want to hear about the living conditions of the dorms on campus and the other housing options around the area. More importantly, they want to be taken on a tour of the campus and the city around it. An effective way to accomplish this is to assign a current player and an assistant coach to chaperone the recruit around town and let him experience his surroundings firsthand. By doing this, you allow the prospect to visualize himself attending your school which will only further his interest in your program.
The reason recruits are so concerned with the location of a school is simple. Any human being that has the opportunity to move to a wide range of options would like to choose an pleasant area that suits their needs.
5. Program Prestige
Tradition is an aspect of college football that separates it from other sports. Hardly any other sport in this world stresses tradition like college football, and in the recruiting game this can be used to a recruiter's advantage.
Recruits love to hear about the history of your football program. From unique traditions to historic games and everywhere in between, recruits eat that stuff up. Many of them are big college football fans and are extremely intrigued by what a school's history has to offer.
Some programs aren't graced with a deep and rich history but are still very solid options. If this is the case, the recruiter can stress the competitiveness and popularity that their program has established in the recent years, which also greatly appeal to the recruit.
Bottom line, recruits want to play for a strong and respected program. Whether this strength is the result of a strong tradition or a recent competitive surge doesn't really matter. They just want to hear that your program is a big deal and why.
4. Up-to-Date Facilities and Equipment
If a recruit is one of the best in the country, he expects to work in the best conditions in the country. In recent years, the advantage of newer athletic facilities and equipment has become absolutely huge.
Recruits want to hear how new your weight room and athletic facility are. They expect the best, and if your facilities can impress them on their visit, it will go a long way in the recruitment of them. The amount of work a college football player has to put in is astronomical, and naturally, high school prospects want to perform this labor in the best conditions possible.
Blue chippers are also very interested in the type of equipment your program uses. Things like new helmets, team cleats, and flashy jerseys greatly appeal to them. In the past few years, many major programs have partaken in wearing Nike Pro Combat uniforms for a game or two, and despite what they might tell you, these flashy outfits are mostly recruiting tools. These are the type of things that intrigue recruits in this day and age.
3. His Place in the Offense/Defense
Naturally, recruits are very interested in where they fit in your system. With this in mind, they want to hear where they will play, how they will play and when they will play. High school prospects crave to hear your exact plans for them and how they can be successful in your system. Recruiters should thoroughly explain why the system their program runs would put the prospect in the absolute best position to succeed.
For example, if a dual-threat quarterback is on an official visit, it would greatly allure the recruit to your school if you can convince him that the offense you run is tailored to his versatility.
Recruits want to attend a school that puts them in the best position to succeed, so the more a recruiter can prove to an athlete that their system benefits their specific talents, the better.
2. Program Stability
In the world of college football, many coaches move from school to school as often as they change clothes. Recruits want to know that the head coach that is recruiting them now is the same coach they will embrace on senior day.
On an official visit, high school prospects desperately want to hear that the head coach they are speaking to is in it for the long haul. They want to hear when the head coach's contract runs out and how passionate the head coach is about the university he is currently working for. A sense of stability will go a very long way in the recruiting game, and the more the recruit feels he can trust the head coach, the more likely he will commit to that program.
Recruits are also concerned with the legal stability of a program. One of the worst things that can happen to a committed prospect is one year into their collegiate career, the program they committed to has been disciplined by the NCAA. All of the sudden, that player will never have the opportunity to play in a bowl game or win a conference championship.
Therefore, one of the most important things for a recruit to hear on his official visit is that the program he is considering is 100 percent clean.
1. Commitment to Success
Top-tier high school prospects are extremely competitive. Most likely, these kids have been winning trophies all their lives, and they don't intend to stop this at the next level.
Considering this, the number one thing a recruit wants to hear is that the program he is visiting is absolutely committed to success. They want to hear what goals the head coach has laid out for his program and what he expects from his team each year. A high school recruit wants to hear that the coaching staff will work tirelessly to ensure their team is one of the best in the country. When the recruit talks to current players, he wants to hear them speak of dedication and winning.
Nobody attends a school because they want to play on a mediocre team for four years. They want to attend a school that has big plans.