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Recruiting Column: How to get a college football coach to notice you

USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting.  Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.

Every. Single. Day. Athletes everywhere ask us the same question. Without a doubt, this is the question that is asked the most during the college recruiting process: “How do I get a coach to notice me?” And, understandably so. Because, getting a college coach to notice you for the first time, is essentially what makes you a recruit. It’s the million-dollar question.

Well, with football season upon us, I thought now would be a good time to answer that question for all you high school football players out there! When we asked some of the best college football coaches in the country what it takes for them to notice a recruit, here is what they had to say.

Vince Kehres, Mount Union Football

I value a young man that’s looking for us, as much as we’re looking for him. It means something to me when a recruit can make it personal for us. We get a lot of emails from recruits, every day. And, a lot of the emails are all kind of the same, in the sense that it’s a kid sending an email to Mount Union, along with a hundred other programs.

Now, the emails that we really pay attention to, are the ones that display a knowledge of our program. When a young man can express what it would mean to him to be a part of our program, that carries some weight. It makes us feel a sense of obligation in handling that young man. The recruiting process requires a tremendous amount of communication, both from the recruit and the coaches. Through that communication, we want to gather as much accurate information on a guy, as possible. If you’re actively coming after Mount Union, we won’t overlook you. As much as we’re trying to find you, you should try to find us, too.

Pete Fredenburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor 

Getting a personal letter or a note from a player makes a huge impression on me. A personal note from a player’s coach makes a huge impression on me. That said, when I get something from a recruiting service on a player, it doesn’t make near the impression on me. I just have a lot of respect for a youngster or his coach that takes the time to show our program some effort. It makes me want to show them the same type of effort. I feel it’s something they deserve.

Tim Murphy, Harvard

The reality of recruiting is you don’t really know how interested you will be in a young man until you meet him. I make that point to our coaches all the time. We don’t offer kids just based on transcripts or video or emails. It takes meeting them and interviewing them for us to really understand how well they would fit in with our program. A lot of college recruiting is about the gut instinct you have on people, based on human interactions. At the end of the day, you’re making bets on people and you’re certainly not going to marry someone before you get to know them!

John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State

It’s through their high school coach. It really is that simple for us. High school coaches are the lifeblood to college football. We honor and take the relationships we have them very seriously. If a high school coach wants us to look at one of their guys, we’re going to put sometime into evaluating that young man. We will definitely communicate our assessment and feelings about the player and make sure that high school coach is getting what he needs from us. Without a doubt, if you want to land on our radar, have your high school coach reach out to us.

Kevin Donley, Saint Francis (Ind.)

Contact us. Pick up the phone, send us an email or Hudl video. Tell us about yourself and what’s important to you. We want to see kids face-to-face, too. We want to meet you and shake your hand. We want to meet your mom and dad. We genuinely want to hear about you and what you want to not only do for the next four years, but for the rest of your life. The business of recruiting is all about relationships. I think high school kids are surprised to see that we are just as interested in learning about them, as they are in learning about us. So, focus on building relationships with the people you want to build relationships with. It’s as simple as that.

DistinctAthlete.com is an entertaining sports site. The site specializes in viral sports content. Content includes controversial and original opinions, news stories, off-beat stories, humorous videos, entertaining photos, exclusive interviews, and witty banter between the writers and commenters. Distinct Athlete was launched in May of 2012 and has been featured and/or cited on several prominent sports sites.

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