Evaluating the Recruiting Process

Trying to figure out what's in the mind of today's teenagers is a very difficult process. Trying to figure out what's in the mind of those same teenagers who are the country's finest athletes is even more difficult.

Part of the blame falls squarely on me, well not me entirely but the mainstream media coverage is out of this world and it's only intensifying as each National Signing Day comes and goes. It's the age of information and there is no business in the world that relies on information more than the recruiting business. Without information you have nothing and with it you still must caution on the safe side of error. Get it wrong and you can alter people's lives in some instances, get it right and all you have done is your job.

With combines, camps, visits both official and unofficial, 7-on-7 tournaments and countless other events across the country the exposure these prospects have is endless. There are different levels of "recruits" but the most talked about are the national recruits. The national recruits have offers from everyone you can imagine but those players are few and far between. Even when players say they have offers most of the time they are not commitable offers and that is the only kind that counts.

For example, it's much easier to offer out of state kids and clearly teams are more at ease about extending these written offers to players out of state. The reason is very simple, once you offer a player in state there is no turning back. Offering out of state kids takes time. Time for kids, parents and coaches to set up taking a potential visit to that particular school and in some cases could be months before those very same out of state kids can even make that visit.

If a team decides not to offer early then you have put yourself behind the supposed 8-ball. Some teams send out offers like candy and deal with the consequences at a later date. It's for this very reason where the commitable offer term comes into play. If a team sends out 200 written offers it is very easy to understand what I am talking about; 200 written offers go out and a team can only take 28 in one single year! That means that one out of every seven offers may be commitable. All 200 offers may be commitable but you understand the point I am making only one in seven would be allowed to ink with that particular team.

Recruiting is a very deadly game of poker and teams walk a fine line in determining who, when, where and at times how kids will be allowed to commit or go public. The problem is both the school and recruits hold ace/king and they don't even know it. The recruit may know he isn't going anywhere else and at times the school may also know it but getting to that point is a very difficult process at times. When do you bluff? When can a kid call a team out so to speak or a team the recruit? The true only way to know if a recruit has a commitable offer is when he tries to commit. It would amaze you at how many times recruits try to call teams and commit only to find out they don't have commitable offers. I am talking about high profile four-star type prospects. The stars must align at times for these announcements to take place between school and recruit.

The first thing that must take place throughout the recruiting process is very simple, simple for the teams anyway. Can this recruit come to our university and can he contribute, can he play here and make an impact? Second, can this particular recruit even qualify at this university and this is becoming a much bigger issue as the exposure increases with the recruits? Third, does this certain recruit display the kind of work ethic, drive, determination and what kind of person is he off the field? All these things are under consideration and clearly the perfect blend off these three characteristics are what teams strive to find.

Once a team determines a certain prospect is worthy of a commitable offer that is only the first part of the process. Is the certain prospect even interested in that particular school? Once both parties decide there is mutual interest from both sides then the dating process can begin and like most relationships you will have your ups and downs. Think about your first high school girlfriend and that roller coaster ride. The overall recruiting process is something like a phenomenon. There are plenty of factors that recruits use to make these decisions and I wanted to list a few for you so you can grasp the magnitude of what these kids are thinking about.

Athletic, academic and social areas, travel time to and from school, need to fly or is it drivable, overall quality of the academic program, importance of history and tradition, facilities, overall offensive and defensive philosophy, strength program, overall depth chart, quality of housing and even the campus layout are just a few things that recruits think about during this process.

What I have found is titles, depth charts and winning traditions are very important to recruits but what it comes down to is the relationships established by the coaches from the ground up. Often times it comes down to comfort for most recruits, not all but in my experience the relationship is the most important part of the recruiting process.

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