The keys to getting recruited as a football player and the 2 videos every player and parent need to watch.

College recruiting for athletics has become an industry all it’s own, with recruiting services sometimes charging as much as $5,000 or more for their services.  Is that worth it, and what should an aspiring college football athlete be doing to get their name in front of the right people?  Those are some big questions facing players and parents today.

Roughly 6% of high school senior football players will go on to play at the college level, which means the chances are small, but also means the process can be competitive. We’ve provided this outline to shed some light on the process and provide players and parents with information about how you can maximize your opportunities to play at the next level.

1. Do NOT pay for recruiting services.

Recruiting services have become a big business with sales people that are very good at persuading parents to think they “need” their services in order for their sons to be seen and get recruited.  The video below provides a great summary of what head coaches at major college football programs think about recruiting services.  Be sure to watch the video to the end as Bret Bielema has some great insights into the “star system” as well.

“Do not pay for any recruiting service… The only recruiting services that I’ve ever used, any place that I’ve been, are the ones WE pay for.”  – James Franklin, Head Coach Penn State

2. Be the best player on your high school team.

This seems like a no-brainer, but listen to Ohio State’s Urban Meyer discuss this at one of their football camps:

Some players have become so caught up in the hype around showcases and recruiting, that they sometimes overlook the process of training hard, being a great teammate, and making an impression on their high school coach.  If there is a place to spend time, effort, and to invest money, it’s in becoming a better athlete, so your play on the field can do the talking.

3. Send your film to coaches.

Technology has completely changed the recruiting process.  With video software platforms like Hudl, it is extremely easy to create your own highlight videos and to share them with coaches.  Most coaches emails are available on the school/team’s website, so it is very easy to share video via email or social media.

Pick your top 10-20 school choices and send your video to coaches at those schools asking for feedback.  If they think you can play at their level, they will contact you!  Referencing the video under step #1, Bret Bielema comments, “send your film to a coach – someone’s eyes will be on it.”

4. Go to college camps.

If you choose to invest time in attending camps, pick your top 4-5 schools and make a point to attend their camps in the summer.  You are ensured to be seen by the coaches who you need to get in front of, and you can spend some time visiting the school, getting a feel for the campus, and deciding if it is a potential fit for you.

There has been an explosion of money-driven “showcase” camps and 7on7 events built around the idea that they are generating exposure for athletes (an entire post for another day).  These may be good experiences in some cases but, more often than not, they are hype-driven and do little or nothing to improve your abilities as a player or your exposure to coaches at the next level.

5. Get on social media.

Social media cannot be ignored and there are some important do’s and don’ts to remember if you’re serious about being recruited.  First and foremost, keep your social media posts clean.  Coaches WILL look at your social media accounts, so a good rule-of-thumb is: if you wouldn’t say it in front of them, don’t say it on your Twitter account.

Things to do on your social platforms include: 1. Post your highlight videos; 2. Post content showing you training or working hard toward getting better at your sport; 3. Follow coaches of schools you’re interested in; 4. Reach out to and communicate with these coaches through direct messages “DMs” – this gives you a unique opportunity to communicate with coaches directly and quickly share content with them that you think they would like to see (like your highlight videos).

We are not advocating for making your social media account all about business and recruiting – still have fun with it – but keep these things in mind if you’re serious about being recruited to play college sports.

The recruiting process has changed drastically over the last 10 years.  Technology has enabled players and parents to have access to and share film with coaches at the next level like never before.  The thing that remains constant is the requirement to work hard, become the best player you can be, and to let your play do the talking for you on the field.  If you dominate on Friday nights, the people who you want to take notice will find you.