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Getting recruited is a multi-year process that requires focus, determination.
This is the second of a three-part series on college recruiting with coach Chad Johnson of Spring High School in Texas.See the first part here.What's it like sending a kid off to a college?
Johnson: This question varies from kid to kid based on what level of prospect. There are two general college coach terms in the recruiting process. The area coach: This coach recruits our geographic area of the country. The position coach: This coach actually coaches the position the prospect will play at the college level. He may or may not actually be the coach who recruits our geographic area. For a D1 power five prospect:
During the winter contact period of an athlete's sophomore year, college area coaches will visit the school and pick up a prospect sheet for our underclassmen. At that time, I will identify the young man as a potential recruit and discuss the athlete with the coach.
From there, the staff at the university goes back and evaluates the prospect's film. If the school is genuinely interested in the young man, the coaches and recruiting personnel start the recruiting process by following the young man on Twitter and often inviting him to a Junior Day at the school. Sometimes a scholarship offer will be extended at that time. As we get into the spring contact period from April through the end of May:
The college area coach will again come by the school. At this time, the coach is checking up on the young man, often picking up a transcript and possibly evaluating him either during our athletic period or during our spring football practice. Typically, the school is very interested or already has extended an offer to the young man.
The position coach will also come by sometime during the spring contact period. This is especially true if the position coach does not recruit our area. In addition, often times an offensive or defensive coordinator accompanies the area coach or position coach to evaluate the prospect. At some point during this spring evaluation period, the coaches will also ask to have the young man attend one of their summer camps.
If the school has not yet offered the young man a scholarship, it is at the summer camp where they actually get to put the prospect through drills and really evaluate him that the offer may come. The coaches will remain in contact with the prospect via social media through the summer between the prospect's sophomore and junior year. As the prospect heads into the fall of his junior year, it is important to continue to develop his strength and skills on the field as well as continue to do well in the classroom.
During the football season, the coaching staff will monitor the prospects progress - on and off the field. They'll check his statistics and film each week to see how he's doing individually as well as how his team is doing. As we head into the winter contact period during December and January, the process repeats itself.
If the young man was not identified as a prospect following his sophomore season, perhaps they played JV as a sophomore, or maybe they we just a role player as a sophomore, all isn't over. Say the prospect has a big junior season and has emerged as a potential D1 recruit. This is where their recruiting process will take off for him.
This is also when it's important to start taking the SAT and ACT college entrance exam. It is important to take both tests as some students perform better on the SAT than the ACT and vice versa. It is also extremely important to achieve a qualifying test score to go with their GPA in order become an NCAA qualifier. For a young man who is a prospect, but perhaps is not at the D1 level and is more of a D2 or D3 level prospect:
It is during this spring evaluation period of their junior year where the D2 or D3 coach will begin an early evaluation and ask to have the young man attend a camp over the summer. As we start the prospect's senior year:
The coaches will be in regular contact with the prospect, following how their season is going and inviting the prospect on an official visit or sometimes an unofficial visit to come see a game on campus. For a big time prospect the school is really after, you may say a coach stop by to watch the young man play on Friday night.
College coaching staffs are allowed 42 days during their season to be out recruiting and making visits. Therefore, you may have a coach come by the school to talk with the high school coach and then catch a game on Friday night. As the season ends in November or December and the college coaches again hit the road recruiting:
The prospect may continue to take official visits to schools recruiting him. The college coaches will visit the school to see the prospect and to check his progress toward graduation. In addition, at some point during this December and January period, the position coach, often accompanied by the head coach or perhaps the offensive or defensive coordinator will make an in-home visit with the prospect and his family.
At any point in time during this process, the recruit can commit to the school. However, the prospect must understand a couple things. 1) The college scholarship offer that has been extended may, at any time, be rescinded. 2) Just because you have "committed" to College A, does not mean colleges B, C, D, E and F will stop recruiting you. It is up to you to tell them you are no longer interested in their school.
Ultimately, we arrive at the first Wednesday in February where a student athlete will sign their National Letter of Intent with the college of their choice. At this point things do not end. The prospec'ts college coaches will continue to be in contact with the prospect, making sure he stays on the right track and graduates. They also send a packet from their strength and conditioning coach that outlines workouts for the young man during the spring semester. Once the prospect graduates, the next step will be to get on campus and start their college career. Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.