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Getting Recruited


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Starting the Recruiting Process

Important Recruiting Terms


Celebratory standardized signing form (D3) 1:25

Contact 2:17

Contact period 2:45

Dead period 3:14

Quiet period 3:42

Evaluation 4:13

Evaluation period 4:47

Recruiting calendar 5:28

Recruiting shutdown 5:52

Financial aid (scholarship) 6:23 Full-time student 6:54

Five-year clock (D1) 8:24

Ten-semester/15 quarter clock 9:29

Two-year college 10:32

Walk-on 11:12

Institutional request list 12:37

International student 13:58

Recruited 14:20

Verbal commitment 15:00

Official commitment 16:12

Season of competition 16:40

Unofficial visit 18:43

Official visit 20:46

When Does the Recruiting Process Begin?


Families often mistake the recruiting process for communicating with and receiving offers from college coaches. However, this is only one part of the recruiting process which may not happen until an athlete's senior year. 


The recruiting process actually begins in Grade 9. The process is lengthy, and there are several steps athletes need to take during each semester of high school. If an athlete wants to get recruited, they must put in both the time and effort. This recruiting guide provides a checklist with the steps an athlete needs to take at each part of the process.

Overall, it is recommended to start the recruiting process early. This gives athletes more time to gain opportunities, as well as ensures they do not fall behind in the process. 

The Stages of the Recruiting Process 

1. Prospective athletes

2. Coaches start their initial evaluations

3. Programs begin contacting potential recruits

4. Evaluations begin to shrink recruiting class

5. Official visits and offers being sent out

The top stage starts with thousands of potential recruits at various levels. Coaches will then begin basic, initial evaluations focusing on criteria such as physical attributes, grad year and position. Afterwards, coaches will start to contact those who they have identified as potential recruits. Evaluations will continue and become more in-depth to narrow down their list of recruits. Finally, coaches will start offering official visits and extending offers.

How can recruits get on a college coach’s radar? To get noticed by college coaches, athletes should take the initiative to reach out to them. A common way for athletes to begin developing a line of communication with college coaches is by sending them an email with their athletic and academic achievements, as well as why they are interested in the specific program.

How Can a Student-Athlete Get Noticed by College Coaches?


To get seen by college coaches, athletes should initiate the first contact. A popular way for athletes to start communicating with college coaches is by sending them an email with a link to their online profile (showcasing their academics, athletics and personal info) and why they are interested in the specific program. As a result, coaches will be able to evaluate their profile and interests, as well as determine if they could be a prospect for their team.

Contacting College Coaches


History of NCAA, NAIA, NCJAA (Juco) 2:00

Understanding the Leagues and Divisions 5:11

Eligibility Requirements For Each Division 13:02

Which Division Should I Target? 18:42

Finding the Best Fit Schools

Athletes getting an unbiased view of how they match up against other student-athletes is a critical component of the recruiting process. This is the most difficult part of the process because families learn how to go about recruiting. Most athletes hope to compete at the Division 1 level and earn a scholarship; however, if they do not have the grades nor skill to play at such a level, it does not make sense to target these schools. The best way for an athlete to get an understanding of where they fit is to research college rosters, search coach recruiting needs, monitor coach activity and be evaluated by a trusted third party such as ImRecruitable. Being self-aware is going to be an athlete's greatest asset. 


College Sport Divisions

NCAA Division 1: This is the most competitive level of college sports. Institutions in this division typically have large budgets and state-of-the-art facilities. Students are also expected to follow a rigorous training schedule.

NCAA Division 2: While this division is still competitive, it provides athletes with a more balanced lifestyle, and student-athletes still have the opportunity to obtain scholarships.

NCAA Division 3: This division is less rigorous than the previous two, and it provides a larger emphasis on academics due to the shorter practice seasons and more balanced athletic schedule.

NAIA: With only slightly over 250 institutions, the NAIA is a small community, and it is especially attractive to those who are hoping to pursue a specific program or attend a smaller, private college.

NJCAA: This league is an excellent option for athletes to get a sense of the college sports atmosphere at a two-year institution before transferring to a four-year university. Many athletes choose this route to save money before transferring to a four-year academic institution.

ImRecruitable Insider Tip: The division in which a school is part of does not necessarily determine the program's level. For example, it is not uncommon for a Division 2 school to beat a Division 1 program, especially in certain sports. Therefore, it is important for athletes to do their research and to not pick a school solely based on its division.

Understanding Academic Eligibility

An athlete’s academic performance can have a significant impact on their eligibility as a college recruit. Those with strong GPAs and standardized test scores can have a significant advantage in the recruiting process. Furthermore, many institutions have specific academic entrance requirements. Thus, it is extremely important for student-athletes to succeed in the classroom as well.

For more information on academic eligibility, click here.

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