Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to interact with one of the top athletic recruits in the Class of 2010. While I am not going to say his name, I have also had the opportunity to interact with his mother as well. And despite having the ability to play his sport of choice at any college in the country (let me stress any college in the country), they are taking things extremely slow. In fact, the way they have handled the recruiting process has been one of the most impressive things I have seen in the last ten years of covering recruiting.
In a recent email with his mother, she sent me two things that they do to make sure that the recruiting process does not overwhelm them. With so many different scholarship offers from schools around the country, it could be difficult for most. But the family is focused on finding the right school for athletics that offers a great opportunity academically. His 4.0 GPA does not hurt him with the big boys of the college coaching world. Anyways, onto the two things she mentioned as well as some other things that I learned from the family thus far:
Establish up front with the programs exactly who is in the driver’s seat
I have mentioned this before but with the more offers that you have, the more flexibility and options that you have as well. If you have one offer, I will honestly tell you that it is very difficult to be in the driver’s seat because of the limited options that you have. But if you have two or more scholarship offers (the more, the better), then you can tell the schools about the other offers and make sure to let them know what is going on with you and that they can’t force a decision out of you.
Be honest. All that are involved know our time line and we don’t have any pressure.
Because this family has already told coaches that a decision is not coming anytime soon, coaches want this athlete so badly that they are not going to try and pressure him into a quick decision. They have been honest with the coaching staff and made sure that they know a decision is not coming until at least the spring. So if the coaches are serious about landing him, then they better spend the time focused on recruiting him and not trying to get a commitment out of him. At this point, it just doesn’t seem like it will be happening anytime soon.
Those are the main two that the mother stressed to me but here are some other things that I have seen help them during the recruiting process. This applies to all athletes and all sports (even Lacrosse!). So keep these in mind when going into the recruiting process.
Playing well at camps helped in a big way
I have always talked about performing well at the free combines or camps during the summer can help you in the recruiting process. This athlete blew up during the summer and that translated into offers from basically every school in the country. Rarely does a recruit get a chance to pick any school he wants to go to but this athlete definitely has that in his favor.
Being strong in school will help
If you look at some of the top recruits across the country, some schools are wary of recruits because of their baggage and struggles in the classroom. This top rated athlete has a 4.0 GPA and that has helped open a lot of doors for him. As I have mentioned before, his intelligence means coaches won’t have to worry about him getting in trouble on Saturday nights.
Academics will play a big role in his future school
Yes, this recruit would love an opportunity to play at the professional level. But if that doesn’t work out, he wants a degree that will allow him to get a great job after school if his chosen sport doesn’t work out. Athletics are important but your field of academics will likely be where you work for the next forty plus years. Keep that in your mind.
Take your time
This family is not rushing the recruiting process. They are taking it all in and seeing what options will be available to them at the end. This gives them a lot of options and will make sure they make the most informed decision possible.