If you're one of the many college football recruits angling for a scholarship, getting coaches to notice you is the first challenge. College coaching staffs are literally evaluating thousands of recruits to award a mere handful of scholarships. Here are five strategies to help you get on the radar and a step closer to earning a scholarship.
1. Spend some quality time on your highlight tape.
The Number One thing you can do to enhance your chances of getting noticed is to send out a highlight tape. College coaches must rely on tape to get an accurate assessment of your potential. Remember to keep it professional. Spot-shadowing yourself at the beginning of the play is fine, but don't rewind big plays, and keep music out of it. Make it succinct. Ten-minute highlight tapes are often ignored. Choose some of your best plays and move on. Think of your highlight tape as part of the résumé you'll send to coaches.
2. Make the most of your college visits.
The number of allowable visits—official and unofficial—varies by division, but it's important to make as many as possible. When on campus, ask questions. How does football fit in with your academic plans? Is there an opportunity to play immediately? What does the depth chart look like and how many other recruits are coming in at your position? Thoughtful questions show coaches you're serious about your recruiting and that you have specific criteria for choosing a school.
3. Explore all divisions
Conduct an honest assessment of yourself as a recruit. Not every athlete is a Division I player, but there are lots of opportunities in other divisions. Make a list of what's most important to you in a school, including factors such as academics, location and size. From there, explore schools across all divisions that match your criteria. You should have a sizeable list, allowing you to pursue schools that match up well with what you're looking for.
4. Maintain good grades
Good grades and high test scores help you in multiple ways. For starters, they open the door to many universities. If you don't have a shot at an athletic scholarship, good grades can present other opportunities for financial aid. Another benefit of academic success is that coaching staffs really do take notice. Think of football teams as mini-corporations. The best businesses want the smartest people working for them. Football teams are no different.
5. Start early
College recruiting doesn't start during your junior year of high school. It doesn't start when you make varsity. The clock starts ticking the first day of your freshman year. You need to be proactive. Research schools and contact the ones that interest you. Remember, there are no limitations on athletes reaching out to schools, so be your biggest advocate. If you're searching for a scholarship, the earlier you start the better.
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