In my many years working in sports and in recruiting, I have heard some great insights on recruiting that are not only informative, but sometimes shocking and eye-opening for recruits. Here are my top five that will show you what it takes to be a successful athlete and to be recruited.
1) Current Natchez Cathedral High coach Ron Rushing, a former high school baseball star, on how he thought he would be discovered by college coaches:
“Out of High School,” Coach Rushing told me, “I threw out 21 of 22 baserunners and hit .517 and had to walk on at Co-Lin Community College. One of the biggest fallacies is if you can play you can sit there and they will find you.”
2) Former All-SEC and NFL football player Trev Faulk shared what it takes for young people to be successful in recruiting and in sports:
“Everyone wants to be successful, but few are willing to pay the price. Not every athlete is willing to run that extra 100 in the heat, or get off Facebook or off the phone with their girlfriend and get to studying. You have to do the little things right all the time, and most importantly, you have to take care of your business in the classroom. You have to give your best effort. An old coach of mine told me you are either getting better every day or getting worse.”
3) Former lacrosse All-American Steve Boyle, who played for D1 national power Johns Hopkins, shared the commitment it takes to play for a D1 force:
“The lacrosse season is in the spring. In the fall, we practice 4 days a week, and then go to winter workouts. For spring season, we start preseason January 20th. A typical day during the season would have me taking classes in the morning, get to the locker room around 2:30, practice would go from 3:30 to 6, and then I would watch film of practice and of upcoming opponents for an hour or so. You get 4 hours with the coaches, per NCAA rules, but it doesn’t stop there for us. So, a normal day would have me at practice from 2:30 until about 8. Then I would eat and study. It’s not a case where you can come back and go, ‘Now, I want to play a video game.’ It is a commitment, and I knew that going in. I was fine with it. It is what I wanted. Athletes, especially at Division 1, have to understand the commitment. Also, I had a head coach in Dave Pietramala who is very fiery. He gets after you, but you have to understand it is not personal. He recruits guys who can take it. He is intense, but always has your back.”
4) Craig Vlietstra, assistant volleyball coach at D2 power Grand Valley State, shared these hard hitting observations about recruiting:
“Most kids have never seen a college volleyball game. They have no idea about self evaluation. They don’t know the level of college they are capable of playing. We will have HS or club coaches contact us sometimes and say they have the perfect D2 kid for us. I ask, ‘Can she play Division One?’ All of our kids here have been recruited by D1 programs. We recruit against Ball State, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan. We want to hear from the kid that specifically is interested in us. A young person that writes – ‘I had a knee injury in the 7th grade that made me interested in physical therapy. I know you have a strong PT program. I also understand you have just 1 Libero on your roster and I am genuinely interested in playing for you.’ – is someone we will pay attention to. In your video, show us what you can do. If you can touch the rim, show it. Getting verified information is a challenge.”
5) A high school coach shared this startling story when I was speaking about recruiting at John Adams High School in the Midwest. At the end of my talk, their softball coach, John Woodruff, asked to stand up and tell the audience of parents and high school athletes a story concerning a local high school football player:
“Always do the right thing,” Coach John Woodruff said. “You never know when someone is watching, so be a responsible recruit!”
Woodruff went on to share a story that left us all speechless.
A Midwest mid-level D1 college football program knew about a player that had the measurables, speed and strength to play at his college’s level against schools such as Western Michigan, Akron, Toledo, and Ball State. This coach thought the kid would be a good fit to play for him, so he went to the recruit’s high school.
He met the head coach of the high school team there to walk him down to the recruit’s afternoon class where he was going to offer him a full ride scholarship. They got the kid’s schedule and walked to the class, however the recruit was not there. He had decided to skip school that day.
The college coach immediately walked out of the building and offered the scholarship to a recruit in a neighboring state. That was the only D1 offer this young man (almost) received. His parents were very upset, obviously.
“Always do the right thing,” coach Woodruff said in that auditorium. Character matters.
Charlie Adams is a longtime motivational speaker and former sports anchor at television stations in markets such as New Orleans, Bakersfield and South Bend. His son is currently a NCAA college athlete.