You’ve probably heard from a friend, “yeah, I’m talking to Duke, North Carolina and USC,” and you think to yourself there is no way that can be possible - they don’t even start on the high school team! So, why does your friend think they’re being recruited by these schools? The discrepancy is often between a player’s definition of recruited versus a coach’s definition of recruited. To understand the definition of being recruited, you have to understand the steps a coach goes through during the recruiting process.
STEP 1: Evaluate
Before you can consider yourself a “recruited athlete”, you have to be evaluated. No coach will actively recruit a player without going through some form of evaluating academics and athletics. It could be as simple as an email with your GPA, test scores and video link. You could also be evaluated in person at games, camps and showcases.
Coach Tip: Getting an invite to a camp with no prior contact from a coach is usually a cold email. Do not take a camp invite as a sign that you are being recruited.
STEP 2: Investigate
Once a coach checks the box on a player’s skill set and academics, they will investigate more about the player. This means they will most likely contact a player through email and/or phone call and get to know them. This is the piece of the process that causes the most confusion. A coach reaching out to learn more does not mean you are being recruited. It means the coach is interested in potentially recruiting you. During this time, the coach will check references with your high school coach, travel coach or other relied upon resources.
In summary, the investigation step is when they collect as much information as possible to determine if you are a player they would like to recruit.
Coach Tip: Think of this as a first date. You are getting to know the other person to see if you both want to get more serious. First date doesn’t mean marriage.
STEP 3: Recruit
Up to this point, you are just a player who is trying to be a recruited athlete. You will know you are being recruited when the coaching staff clearly articulates how they see you fitting in with their current recruiting class. If the coach has not discussed how you could fit in the program, then you are not being recruited. Sometimes this discussion happens over the phone, sometimes it happens in person on a campus visit or at an event.
As a rule of thumb, you can be confident that you are being recruited when the coaching staff asks you to visit campus. This is how the coach shows that you are separated from the pack. Coaches do not shuttle hundreds of players in and out of their office on visits. It takes a lot of time and effort on their end, so the invitation to visit is reserved for players they are recruiting. On this visit, they will be clear about where you stand in their current recruiting class, and an offer may or may not happen.
Coach Tip: Do not confuse a player asking to visit with a coach asking a player to visit. A coach might say yes if a player asks to visit, however that does not mean you are a recruit.
STEP 4: Offer/Don’t Offer
When a coach determines you are an athlete they want to make an official part of their recruiting class, they will extend an offer. That offer can come with scholarship money, the potential for academic money and/or support through the admissions process. At the D3 level, the only thing they can “offer” is support through the admissions process. D1 and D2 can offer scholarship. The offer piece will be very clear. Coaches are probably their most articulate when it comes to communicating offers. This is to mitigate any miscommunication that could take place.
Just because you got to the recruiting phase, does not mean you will get an offer.
Coach Tip: No scholarship money, no academic support, but the “chance to try out in the fall” is not an offer.
THE RECRUITING COACHES (@TheRecruitingCo) helps families navigate the tricky waters of the college recruiting process by providing the most truthful advice and hands-on guidance. Our coaches are all former college athletes and college coaches. You can learn more about how we can help your recruiting process here.