8 Questions Every Recruit Should Ask College Football Coaches
In the world of college football recruiting, we talk a lot about how a coach can pitch or sell his program to a prospect, so it's easy to forget that recruiting is a two-way street.
Sure, it's up to the coach to make his program look and sound as appealing as possible, but there's also a responsibility on the player to ask the right questions, and that's something we don't talk a lot about.
Every player wants to know if they're going to start and have the chance to be a superstar, but those aren't the questions that really matter.
Here are some important questions every recruit should ask:
What Kind of Community Activities and Camps Do You Run?
Many college football programs put on youth camps and do things for the community in the offseason. Oftentimes players are involved in these activities, and it's a great way to give back and teach the next generation of players about the great game of football.
Some recruits may find this as a positive, but let's be honest, others may not want to be involved in something like this. Another good question to ask here is whether or not player involvement would be mandatory. What if I'm a recruit who lives across the country?
Either way, you can tell a lot about a program by the way they interact with the community and involve their players with that process.
What Kind of Nutrition/Dietary Plan Is Your Football Team On?
I'll let you in on a little secret: Football players really like to eat food, and a lot of it.
The kicker is—left to their own devices—most college kids are more likely to go grab a greasy burger before they even look at a salad or something else of the healthy variety.
For this reason, many college football programs help regulate what their players are eating, and what they're not.
Actually check that; it's the good college football programs that realize a player's production on the field is impacted by their diet just as much as it is by their workouts and reps in practice. This is a great question to ask if you want to see how serious a coach is about producing quality football players.
Another side question here would be in regards to weight. If I'm a defensive end you're thinking about putting at outside linebacker, am I going to have to put on some weight? If I'm an offensive lineman are you going to want me to gain weight or drop a few pounds?
These are all important questions.
What Kind of Graduation Track Will I Be On?
Sometimes it's easy to forget with all the hype surrounding college football, but these are student-athletes. The key word being student first.
Only the best of the best make it to the NFL, and even those players should focus on school.
What kind of graduation track will I be on, Coach? Are we looking at a four-year degree or is this something I can get done in three? How much time will I have for class and studying while we're in-season? What are my options for graduate school?
Obviously a lot of this depends on the athletes major of choice, but this question will go a long ways in telling you how in-tune a coach is with academics. If he can't answer these questions or quickly find you someone who can, perhaps you may want to be a student-athlete elsewhere.
How Can You Help Me If the NFL Doesn't Work Out?
As I said, only the best of the best make it to the NFL. The rest of the college football players out there need to be prepared for real life once their time playing on Saturday's is over.
This question shows a lot of maturity on the recruits part, but the coach's answer can also be an indication as to how much he really cares about his players as people, or if he just views them as a revolving door of football players.
How connected is the program with the career services department? Do they have special advisers or a job board? Not only that, but how much is my degree from this school going to help me find a job once I graduate?
This is also a great question to ask if you're a player that could be interested in coaching, as many former players are. Can I be brought back as a graduate assistant to learn more about the game of football plus the art of coaching?
What happens when my NFL dreams don't come true, Coach?
How Accessible Is the Program to My Family?
Some recruits have very close relationships with their families. Mom and Dad have seen them play every game since peewee football, so hopefully they'll be able to make it to the home games and maybe even the away ones once their recruit is in college.
Does your program have a family section in your stadium? How active can my family be in the football program?
Those are both great questions to ask for recruits that are more family-centric.
Programs that emphasize not just family, but the whole team being a family will put on functions where family is invited. This will allow the players get to know their teammates' families better, but it also allows the families to get to know each other.
This is important because it builds a unity within a program that otherwise wouldn't be there. When even players who aren't family-centric can feel like they are part of a bigger family, that's the mark of a successful football program.
How Do You See Me Fitting into Your System?
Smart football players will ask this question, and the coach better be able to answer it.
Not all football programs are the same. Systems and schemes are different as well as coaching philosophies, so it's important for a recruit to know how he will be utilized.
If a recruit is a scrambling quarterback but the coach runs a pro offense, perhaps asking him to stay under center and throw from the pocket wouldn't be the best fit.
On the defensive side of the ball, if the recruit is the defensive lineman, will the coach expect him to maintain gap integrity or will he be asked to get up field, be aggressive and chase the ball?
These are all drastic differences in style of play, so a recruit needs to know if he can fit his game with the program.
What Advantages Does Your Program Bring as Opposed to School X?
This question allows a recruit to see how much the coach knows about other schools and programs, but it also gives the coach a bit of a mini soapbox to pitch his school.
If a recruit really wants to see how much a coach believes in his program, he'll ask him to defend it against the competition.
Why are you better? Why should I choose you over school X?
You'll find out a lot about what a coach believes with those questions.
What Are the Next Steps You Plan to Take in Recruiting Me?
What's next, Coach? Do you have a plan for me moving into the future or is this where our paths part ways?
This is how a recruit can find how just how serious a coach is in recruiting him. Does he have a follow-up set up? Will he give you a weekly call or have someone on his staff keep in touch?
Does he have a few games he think would be great for you to visit?
Just how serious is the coach in regards to a players recruitment? You'll find all of that out with this simple question.
If he's got a plan moving forward, you'll know you're a serious target.