As a sophomore the first thing you should do is to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Fill out as much information as possible. Here you will find all kinds of helpful information. Please make it a priority to study it. It is a very useful resource for you and your parents. It is extremely user friendly.
Check with your counselor to make sure you are keeping up on your Core classes and that you are taking NCAA Certified Courses.
If you are a high functioning student this is the year that I recommend you take your SATs/ACTs. Most school systems require you to take practice SAT tests and it is important to take this seriously. The NCAA and others recommend it be taken during your junior year and use this year to take your PSAT (Practice SAT) but taking it early has advantages. One, it allows you to use it as a practice test without taking the practice SAT. If you get a great score on it, then you that can help you, and if you do poorly you have two more years to take it again. Two, when you take it again there are no surprises and you know what to expect. The SAT just changed so make sure any practice test that you do online or in your school are the latest version. See 2017-2018 Dates Here
What ever you do. DO NOT wait until your senior year to take it for the first time!
Not playing Varsity
If you are not going to play Varsity football as a sophomore it is important to gain as much experience as possible to get you ready to have an extremely explosive junior year.
Your academics are still the priority and need to stay that way. Make sure you are sitting in the front of the class. Turning in ALL your assignments ON TIME. You are respectful and show great character. Those teachers may have to write a recommendation for you for a school. If you need any additional assistance with academics contact us before it is too late. Once you are behind it is hard to recover.
You are playing Varsity
Hopefully you worked hard between your freshman and sophomore year and now you are playing varsity. This is where film comes in. Only forward film to schools if it is from playing varsity. 80% of Division 1 (D1) football players are discovered during their sophomore year. So, if you plan on being a D1 football player I strongly suggest that you work hard in the weight room, in workouts, on the field, and with a trainer (Contact Coachgugs@sportsprepacademy.com for certified trainers in your area). If you want to be better than everyone else you have to work harder. There is no getting around it.
Before you link your highlight film or make it public for everyone to see you must make sure it is optimized to help you. If you fail to have the right plays in the beginning of your film, the coach will stop the film and move on. Please understand that he has been sent thousands or other players film and you have just seconds to make an impression. Here are some tips for creating your highlight film:
- Work on your film as the year goes on. Do not wait until the end of the year.
- Point to yourself out on the field before the ball is snapped, if possible, or as soon as you get into the frame.
- Do not make it a long film. Keep it under 4 minutes.
- You have 30 seconds to make an impression.
- Put ALL of your top plays up front and try to use film when you are playing against talent. The coaches can tell if it isn’t.
- You need 10 to 15 “WOW” plays if you only have 7 you probably aren’t an impact player.
- Example: if you are a WR playing against a DB that already has an offer and you do well, you need to note your stats for that game and who the DB is and what school he is going to.
- Include a variety of different kind of plays and positions (if you play them) and put them up front. DO NOT go game by game.
- Cut the play off as soon as you are no longer involved. (Don’t need to see the running back run for a 60 yard TD if you’re a lineman)
- Show things on the film that can’t be coached.
- Include your contact information on the film; post your GPA and SAT/ACT test scores in the introduction.
- Position Tips:
- Offensive Line: Make sure the film focus is you. Do not play the film while the running back is running 60 yards down the field. Show yourself getting off the ball making the block and finishing. Need to see those quick feet, hips and hands. Can you squat down with holding a broom stick over your head and keep your heels on the ground? After that go to the next play. Film from the end zone is best for linemen.
- Defensive Line: Need to see your first steps. If they are slow the coach will move on to the next quick. Show how active you are throughout the play, aggressiveness, use of hands, and ability to stay low.
- Wide receivers: Do not show lots of blocking. Focus on take offs on the line, show your speed, athleticism, different routes and hands.
- Running backs: No short yardage gains. Not all long touchdown runs either. Coaches want to see speed, strength, balance and change of direction,
- Quarterbacks: Show a variety of passes, able to scramble and throw on the run.
- Tightends: Show blocking and catches. Need to see your take offs, show a number of different routes, and hands.
- Linebackers: Can you fill a hole, track down a play, speed to get there, can you take on blocks and make tackles in space.
- Defensive Backs: Need to see a lot of hip movement, track the ball and the receiver, speed, and make tackles in space.
- If you would like Sports Prep Academy to share/retweet your highlight film on our social media platform to get your views up, please tag us at @coachgugs for twitter or just post in the Sports Prep Academy group on Facebook. From there we will personally share them.
- We have highly qualified Coaches that evaluate film. These coaches will look over your film and provide you with tips on how to specifically get better and will place you at the appropriate college level from NCAA D1 to if you should go to a Junior College (JuCo) or Prep school (JuCo or Prep does not mean you cannot PLAY at the D1 or D2 level). This will allow you to be able to focus on what type of school you should be focusing on during your recruiting. The best source is your High School Coach. He is the one you need a close relationship with.
- If you require additional editing and tips please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You have your varsity film ready. You have your profile up and running. Now you need to fill out the team’s athletic questionnaire. These are the questionnaires that are on the athletic sites of the school. They can be anywhere on the site but they are mostly under the “recruiting” or “prospect” tab on the website or you can just use google by typing the schools name, sport, and “questionnaire”. Before doing so make sure you have your coach’s information, the school’s information, and your measurable. Also, you will have to include phone and email and your high school address information.
You must fill out every questionnaire for all the schools in your home state and surrounding states. I also recommend filling out the questionnaire for your dream schools, and as many other schools as possible.
See this Website for Questionnaires
- You need to have your full name. When/if a coach searches for you, he is not going to use your nick name.
- Use this as your Profile.
- Your hudl or highlight film needs to be linked into your profile as your “pinned tweet” or your website. Make sure it is set up correctly before you post.
- Your bio should have your GPA, SAT/ACT Scores, and other athletic or academic accolades. There is limited space so please use it wisely.
Use your Twitter:
- Post your highlight film.
- Tag entire coaching staff.
- You have to go to the athletic pages of the schools and find the coaches.
- Make sure you tag coaches that they have listed as “Recruiting Coordinators,” “Operations,” and other support staff.
- Tag the coaches who are involved with recruiting, either for your position or your area. If it doesn’t specify which coach it is, focus on your position coach and the coordinator.
- Add a picture to the post to add visibility. You are not the only one tagging coaches to gain their attention.
- The head coach isn’t necessarily going to be able to look at your film. It as a business and they are the CEO and they are managing all the parts. They hire the guys they feel can do the job.
- Your Instagram should have the same information in the bio field along with highlight film link.
Personal Emails to Coaches
Not all coaches are on Twitter and even if they are, not all of them are heavily involved so your tweet may go unnoticed. This is where the next stage comes into play. Email!
This is your chance to introduce yourself to them for the first time and you need to use it wisely. There is an example of an email “HERE”. If you are not a strong writer, you need to have someone help you.
Here are some tips in the email process:
- Provide all your information
- Full Name
- Positions (Specials and both sides of the ball)
- School name with the city, state
- Your coach’s name, email and phone (College Coaches will contact them for complete game film and talk to them about you. Your coach will not lie to them because his integrity is on the line.)
- Other things you need to include
- Academic Honors, GPA, and Test Scores
- Highlight film
- What camps you are attending
- Social Media handles/tags
You need to personalize the email and make sure it doesn’t sound like the one you just sent the last school. Include specific things about the school that you like.
- How can you add to the team?
- What you like about the University/College?
- What academic program do they have that you are interested in?
- Ask for additional information about that program.
Lastly, thank them for taking the time to read the email and to check you out. They receive thousands of emails and the fact that they opened yours is a gift.
Calls to the Coaching Staffs
Before you call there are few things you need to take care of before doing so
- Email them a week before you call. Use the email information above.
- Have a pad of paper and something to write with and note the date, time and coach your are calling. Keep a record of everything and take notes.
- Research the school, team and the coaches that you plan to contact.
- Have prepared detailed questions about the academics and the team to ask the coach.
- Be prepared for any questions they might ask you. GPA, Test Scores…
There are still a lot of coaches that love getting a personal phone call from the recruit. Cold calling a coach at any level can be intimidating. If you are nervous, practice the call with a friend, parent, or coach three or four times right before calling the coach. If you don’t have that use a mirror and practice with yourself. If you are on the phone with the coach and you freeze, just be honest that you are nervous but excited that he is taking time to talk to you.
What if you get a Voice Mail
- Use your full name
- What School and the state that is is located
- How they can contact you back.
“Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, Coach Smith, My name is John George and I’m calling you because of my interest in playing football at the University of Maryland. I am currently a Junior at Sally High School in Maryland and play Center. I’d love to speak with you further about the opportunity of playing for you. When you are free could you please call me back at 555-234-1234. Thank you very much for your time.”
What if he/she picks up the phone!?
- Don’t be nervous! If you are let them know how excited you are. Practicing with someone or in the mirror can help.
- Ask if they have time to talk. If it isn’t a good time to talk schedule a time that best fits their schedule and make time to talk to them.
- If they can talk to you share with them the following information
- School at Location
- Graduation Year
- Ask them if they have seen your email and had the chance to evaluate you. If not, make sure you get his information so at the end of the call you can send it to him.
- Ask the prepared questions about the school.
- Ask about the next steps. What do you need to do next?
Keep in mind coaches can only talk to you during certain times in the calendar year, depending on the NCAA level. Make sure you know when those times are. Don’t get discouraged. See the NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 Calendar Here.
The REAL Camp season begins for your Student Athlete at the end of the sophomore year. This is where you go to the right camps to get looked at. Most of the time coaches at these camps already know who they are looking at and just want to see you up close. If a coach has asks you to come to his camp you should go if you are interested in the school. It is great to hit camps early such as at the end of your freshman year to gain the experience. You only need to do a couple to gain the experience. After your sophomore and junior year, you need to go to as many camps as possible, as long as it doesn’t interfere with what your coach needs you to do. Check with your coach regarding your camp schedule to make sure it doesn’t conflict with his schedule. The team comes first! It will cost you scholarships if you are not a team player first. Your coach is the best source for camps in the area and recommending which ones to go to. He/she knows you best and will have your best intentions in mind.
In addition, if you have done the questionnaires the schools will also send you information.
After your sophomore year and after June 15th, you are allowed to do everything with Division 2 schools. This means official visits, tryouts on campus, in-person off-campus contact, emails, letters, phone calls, texts and friend requests on social media.
Division 1 coaches will continue to send questionnaires and brochures, camp invites, and other school related information.
Please use this Self Recruiting Guide as a “tool” to promote your own athletic and academic achievements. These are not the only resources available, but they are important to follow and to adhere to in order to succeed.
This is only a tool.
Hard work, dedication, self-awareness, and persistence are all keys. One of the biggest issues is that players and families aren’t realistic about their talents. Not all people are meant to play at the next level. That is Ok. You need to still use what you have learned and apply it to your own special talents. You will not get anywhere by not putting forth the effort. Height and speed matter. Hip flexibility matters. GRADES and TEST SCORES matter!