Football Recruiting 101 Part Two

By U.S. Mail, Fed Ex, UPS and sometimes even hand delivered, college coaches know they'll receive hundreds of VHS tapes or DVD's of high school players looking for scholarship money. So what happens when a highlight comes into a college football office?

Depending upon the school the highlights will be seen by several coaches before an offer is made. Film goes to the video office to be downloaded in the team's system. First looks will go to the coach who recruits the prospects area or to the coach who coaches the prospects position. The prospect much show enough skill for the coach to make a choice about the prospects ability to play within their teams system.

Using a number system the position coach will issue a grade if the grade is good enough the highlight will be passed to the coordinator for that side of the ball to be reviewed. If the coordinator gives a positive grade it will then be viewed by that side of the footballs entire staff before possibly going in front of the rest of the staff, from here the highlight may go to the opposite side of the ball for review or could be passed to the head coach for viewing. It's in these staff meetings that coaches will say yes or no and why they like or dislike a prospect.

If they are looking at a highlight of a wide receiver the staff will study how the ball comes into the prospects hands, how is his acceleration when running the ball after the catch and if he shows the ability to be physical among other things. An offensive lineman will go under different standards as coaches will look at feet, knee bend, physical shape, snap of hands in blocking and if the player can keep his feet and get to second level defenders.

All these highlights are at a fingers touch stored on laptop computers with student assistants manning them for the coaches. These possible future coaches stand ready to go to the next highlight make a note in the staffs recruiting base on grades or possible offers and must not miss a note the staff wants stored in the players profile. Sometimes there will be more than one highlight that can be seen as some programs subscribe to multiply services that provide highlights of the top talent.

The grade issued here will be how the staff will recruit a prospect over the coming months. If the staff likes a prospect but not well enough to place in front of the head coach they'll give a grade to see more of the prospect during their summer camp and maybe even into a prospects senior season. Most prospects will fall into this category than any other as earning a camp offer means a prospect really showed something special during his day or days on campus.

The next grade issued by the staff is one for a prospect the staff feels has some of the tools to play for them but others might be ahead in one area or another. These prospects will find their recruiting coach working hard to keep them interested in the school and an invite to a program major Junior Day is sure to come. These prospects may hold offers from other programs but the staff feels at the current time they've got another prospect with more upside within reach. Keep in mind a staff will hand out many offers with limited spots to be filled and this type of prospect is the next in line to receive an offer if a prospect that has been offered makes a commitment to another program. This prospect will also be given every chance to earn a scholarship in camp if they've not been offered beforehand.

The next grade issued by a staff results in a prospect getting an official offer from the head coach by letter or in person. This prospect has received passing grades by all of the staff members and the head coach has seen film and listened to his staff as to why they like said prospect. Many times the recruiting coach will make the call to the prospects coach and express the interest to offer and their hopes of getting the prospect on campus for a Junior Day or other visit. If the time between the decision to offer is too far off from one of these days they will tell the coach they are making an offer and is a period that they can't call the prospect will ask for the prospect to call them. It is also marked in the computer that a letter must be sent with the official offer in writing.

But just because a prospect may get pass the entire coaching staff doesn't mean a prospect will get an offer. The final say is done by the head coach and if he feels a prospect doesn't have what he's looking for he can overturn the staff's interest to express an offer until a later time. Also in this group is what many call the National Recruits. These recruits hold several offers with most of them coming from programs that stay in the Top 10 on a regular basis. But just because a prospect holds several offers doesn't mean a program will offer.

Each coaching staff has an idea about the type of athlete they need to run their system. If a prospect doesn't fit they won't be offered no matter how many offers they may hold or how good some may feel a player is.

By now prospects have settled into four different areas.

1. No offer will be given.

2. Prospect has some skill but something is missing and a trip to camp can help them earn a scholarship.

3. Prospect has made the main board but is down the list at his position. A player can still control his future by coming to camp and having a great performance making the staff take notice and offer a scholarship.

4. Prospect is at the top of the list and holding an offer. All efforts will be made to get the prospect to issue a verbal commitment to the program and on campus as many times possible. These players will remain on the main recruiting board until they've made a commitment to another program or the staff feels they are out of the game in signing the prospect and they must move on to the next prospect on the board.

As you can see it is a multi step system college coaches go through before making an offer. While some prospects are known early and film study is limited, most prospects go through this process in getting an offer from a staff. As a staff several meetings will be held on recruiting throughout the year. This is the work that makes or breaks a staff's long term success but still is a long way from National Signing Day.

In Part Three we'll continue our look at recruiting looking at what happens after a player has been issued a grade and the staff plans on how to recruit a prospect for their system.

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