Blue chip, five star, clearinghouse, SPARQ rating, rep max. Recruiting in the 21st century has its own vocabulary. Each year recruiting becomes more and more of a maze for coaches, players and recruiters trying to improve football programs across the nation. The following story looks at the recruiting process from the perspective of both players and coaches in an attempt to shed some light on what can be a tough process.
At 5'9 160 pounds with 4.7 speed and low grades, wide receiver Will Sullivan had to take the hard road to a D1 program. Sullivan spent two years at a junior college and eventually with attention to training and books received a scholarship and became a two year starter at Bowling Green. From Bowling Green, Sullivan forged a living with a journeyman career in the Arena Football League. Sullivan says, "pick a junior college that has a history of winning, that way more D-1 recruiters will be at your games." Sullivan goes on to say that when picking a university, "choose one where you fit in." "Make sure you fit in to the scheme that the school runs and that you like your teammates."
Ray Perkins was on the other end of the recruiting spectrum from Will Sullivan. Perkins was a five star recruit who had his pick of major D1 colleges across the nation. Perkins eventually chose Virginia and from Virginia went on to a long career in the NFL. Perkins, who currently is a high school administrator and head of postivelyspeaking.org, believes finding a school that feels most like family is the key to the recruiting process. Perkins feels student athletes should look for program stability, keeping in mind coaches, the town the university is in and the academics of the school. Most importantly, Perkins wants athletes to leave school "with something in their hand" meaning make sure student athletes get a diploma.
Tom Nordquist is the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach for Arizona State University. Nordquist believes honesty on the part of recruiters, high school coaches, players and families is a key component in the process. When recruiting a prospective athlete, four of the many things that Nordquist looks for are athleticism, love of the game, character and grades. Coach Nordquist also points out that recruiting is not an exact science. Current NFL players and first round draft picks Adam Archuleta and Levi Jones were both walk ons.
Of the millions of kids that will play high school football this season only a select handful will play at a D1 school. The majority will end their playing careers while others will go on and play at DII, DIII or NAIA schools. Miguel Regalado is an assistant coach at Urbana University a NAIA school in Ohio. Regalado feels the level of NAIA players is increasing. Many of these athletes wait until all other avenues are exhausted and then turn to smaller school. Regalado tells prospective recruits not to be afraid of the word loan due to the fact that it is a big part of putting together financial packages for NAIA players.
The bottom line is if someone has the passion and willingness to play there is a school for him. The key is for each individual player, no matter what the skill level, to find the right fit.