TAKE CARE OF THESE THINGS BY THE SUMMER BEFORE YOUR SENIOR YEAR
- Core GPA – Your Core GPA is the one that matters – You will look at your cumulative GPA and believe that you are in great shape. The NCAA takes your Core GPA- not the cumulative GPA… which means a combination of your math, science, social studies, English, and foreign language. It will be a total of 16 classes that determine your Core GPA. Each level has a different scale to determine your eligibility. Division I and Division I-AA has one and Division II has it’s own. For you to be eligible, you must have a certain GPA and you must complete all 16 of those courses. Also, you need to make sure that those courses are NCAA Approved. There are situations coming up all the time where prospects will take a math class that may be easier and will allow them to pass, but the NCAA will not accept it. Those players are being deemed Non-Qualifiers which means you can not be given a scholarship or practice with a collegiate team for an entire year. Double check with your guidance counselors and principals to make sure that you are eligible.
- SAT/ACT – It’s best to have taken that before going into your senior summer… enough time to get it out of the way but also retake it if you need to. You must score a certain score that correlates with your GPA (a sliding scale). It’s important that you know your score and have the paperwork on you in case a coach asks for it. Certain states, like West Virginia, offer scholarships for scoring well on the ACT- known as the PROMISE scholarship. This can be incredibly beneficial when trying to obtain a scholarship. Division I and Division I-AA must offer full rides but Division II can offer partials that cover what academic scholarships don’t.
- NCAA Eligibility Center – The eligibility center is where all this information will be sent to. All the transcripts, test scores, amateurism; it’s all sent there. You need to register to the Eligibility Center before the summer begins. It’ll give you an NCAA ID, and it will allow you to take official visits to schools when the time comes. If you are going to play any collegiate sport in the NCAA, you will have to be registered before you even start a practice. Go ahead and get it out of the way.
- First impression – First impressions are everything and the eye test is completely important in the recruiting process. Kids are not getting it for the most part and taking it in the wrong direction. This has become more of an issue and has gotten bad over the past two years. There are a few that get it, but for the most part… they are really missing the boat here.
- Wear boots – It gives you a little more height and is fine to wear on a visit. Wear them right though- tie them up, be presentable.
- Wear a letterman but have a fitted t-shirt underneath – Wearing a letterman jacket is fine but coaches want to know what your body looks like. When you get a chance… say at lunch or sitting down for a presentation… take off the letterman jacket. Coaches want to see if you have body fat or fill out the muscular look.
- Have all important information ready – Have your transcripts on hand as well as your test scores. Be registered for the NCAA clearinghouse before your senior summer (as said before). Have your parents fill out the FAFSA (Financial Aid) and know your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) number on hand.
- Be Active – Be reaching out to college coaches on social media. Know when the camps are and go to those camps. Stay in contact but don’t be overwhelming.
- Wear AirPods on visits – It’s literally telling the coaches that you are not listening to a word they say. It doesn’t look cool, it just makes you look bad in the recruiter’s eyes.
- Be on your phone – If you are constantly texting or on your phone, it gives a disinterested look to the recruiters. They are recruiting hundreds of guys- you want to stand out but not in a bad way.
- Be inaccessible – You’d be surprised in the world of social media how hard it can be to get in contact with kids. Be open and have multiple ways for coaches to reach out to you. Have a Twitter, a solid cell phone number, Facebook, email; have it all! Don’t take days to respond to coaches either- they will move on.
- Go to college camps – Camps are the best way for coaches to meet you and see you workout in person. Camps need to be used for that purpose and that purpose alone. Majority of coaches want to do the timing, the measurements, the drills themselves and not by outer sources. Are there camps that do a good job with this that are not sponsored by colleges themselves? Yes. But if you notice, there are college coaches at those the majority of the time. The coaches want to see you- they don’t really ever read the sheet the camps send out to coaches afterwards.
- Be picky with independent camps/combines – What’s more important? Independent camps or college camps? – Without a doubt it is the college camps. The coaches want to see you run, do their own timing. Getting you on campus is a big deal. The college camps are typically cheaper than the independent camps as well. It’s the best way for the coaches to know your name and know who you are. You can go to these large camps where there are 1000+ kids but the coaches won’t know you because there are so many other kids. However, local in-state camps that are not packed with as many players as possible (money grabs) are appreciated and looked at.
How to Stand Out
- Bigger does not mean better – The eye test is everything in college football. You must look the part for coaches to take you seriously. Are there exceptions? Yes. But for 95% of athletes- they have the look. I am not talking about your clothes or all the bands and sleeves (you actually kind of get made fun of for those)- it’s what your body looks like. For a lot of kids they think, “I must get bigger, I need to put on weight.” The issue is that a lot of prospects put on the wrong kind of weight, and they start putting on fat.
- The right weight gain – Be sure to be putting on the right kind of weight. That means lift and run, eat healthy, and stay away from the unhealthy foods. It’ll improve all aspects of your game and make you a better athlete. It’ll make your body look more toned and less sloppy.
- Faster = Better – The name of the game is speed. Even in the trenches, the players that can move are the ones that get recruited better. If you look at why one 6’6″ 315-pound kid goes to a Power 5 program and another, who is the same size and weight, doesn’t get recruited at all- it’s typically because one can move and one cannot.
- Have multiple tools – Show that you can long snap, return kicks, play on all special teams, etc.
- Show incredible effort – Be the first in, last out. Finish every drill harder than you ever have. Play hard constantly. That requires you to be in shape and that means you need to run. The players that stand out the most often are the ones that make effort plays like running a ball carrier down from behind or getting out in front to make an extra block.