One of the most frequent questions I’m asked while traveling across the country doing seminars is, “When should we start preparing for the recruiting process”? My answer to this question may surprise you. Let me start by explaining a timeline for recruiting in the eyes of college coaches. Certainly this will differ from D-I colleges to D-III and NAIA schools. But maybe not as much as you might think.
For example, when my son Coy was in 9th grade I started creating packets to send to college coaches. Understand that he was a phenom 2 sport varsity starter as a 14 year old freshman at the largest classification of school in PA. By the end of his freshman year, I had enough quality highlights to start sending packets to D-I FB coaches. Even though NCAA rules prohibit colleges from sending recruiting letters before September 1st of their junior year, Coy immediately started getting letters. It started slow at first but by the end of his sophomore year they were coming in hot and heavy.
Now if they started sending letters that early, when do you suppose they started seriously evaluating him as a prospective recruit? The answer is simple. It had to have been sometime during his freshman year when he showed up on their “radar screen”. Granted we are talking D-I schools but it isn’t much different for D-II. Now D-III, NAIA, and junior college coaches don’t usually go after such young athletes.
They have to be a little more patient to see how the dust settles and which athletes get recruited by the “Big Boys” and which ones don’t. My point is this. With all the high school athletes that compete for those coveted athletic scholarships, the sooner you start, the more likely your student-athlete is to be recruited.
So if you are a parent of a 7th or 8th grade athlete that has aspirations of playing college sports, I strongly recommend you start educating yourself about college recruiting and develop a “recruiting plan” for your child. By starting this process early your child will be prepared when they step into high school as a freshman. You must become PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. You do NOT want to go into this process unprepared or without having focus and direction. Be organized, efficient, and most of all listen to what your student-athlete is telling you their goals and aspirations are. After all, their goals and aspirations are all that REALLY matters.