I recently had the chance to chat with a NCAA Division 1 Football Coach who has worked at one of the most prestigious football schools in the nation!

I wanted to pick his brain about the recruiting process.  Thought this would be helpful for both coaches and parents!   These are his responses below.  Enjoy!


Why aren’t D1 schools calling my son?

At the FBS (NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision) big 6 conferences level the main reason is the intangibles: 
can you dominate your opponent physically?
Most FBS schools have a bunch of guys that watch a ton of tape to find these athletes and in reality do not listen to the recruiting services. 
As the Head Coach I work for would say, put it on tape.  As we all know FBS athletes are very special.  If you want to go to a school you have to go to their camp.  Coaches want to see the athletes in their drills.
Now if you are a 5’10 OL more than likely you aren’t a FBS guy.   Kids can get recruited right there on the spot at these camps, it happens often.  We watch the camp tape to make sure we aren’t missing anyone.  

Okay, my kid isn’t going to an NCAA D1 school.  What about smaller schools, the Mid Majors and FCS?

Here is a little tip I got from a coach Southern Utah a while back.  A kid who is out of state cost schools double what an in state athlete costs.  So for him to take a CA kid to SUU the kid has to be able to produce right away.  Same with some of the lower tier FBS schools.
Another rule of thumb that most FBS/FCS schools use, they won’t go out of state to get lineman which really hurts some regions.  So Cal, Texas, Florida for instance.  Every coach believes that they have enough lineman in their state and do not want to spurn their local high school coaches.

A checklist when trying to promote players:

1.  Grades

A 3.0 kid can’t get into UC Davis, Cal Poly… grades will dictate wear you can send film.  Coaches should always send transcripts with their first correspondence with that coach.

2.  What schools does the athlete want to attend? 

That’s important so that they know where they are going.  Most CA kids can’t survive in “real” weather.  Also, a lot of kids and their parents have no idea the ability that they have.  Every kid wants to go to Alabama, Oregon, Texas, USC, but is not a FBS athlete.

Especially at lower levels of high school football.  That’s where the camps come in.  A kid that dominates in a lower level of classification, and then all the sudden is camping with D1 athletes, suddenly the lower level athlete is not so dominant.

3.  Where, realistically can the kid play? 

Yeah the kid ran for 1500 yards, but is a 4.8 40.  Colleges will ask, if he plays Safety or OLB.  Know what level your athlete fits physically.

Any other reason that kids are not getting recruited?  

Their coach does not put their tape out or promote them. Simple as that.  One Southern California Inland Empire high school had 24 kids playing on Saturday, and you would NEVER guess it coming from this school, not a perennial CIF Champion per se.  They had kids playing at schools from FBS all the way to D3.
One of their coaches developed some dynamite relationships with college coaches. He was able to build trust with us.  College coaches knew that he wasn’t wasting their time when he contacted them.
Coaches do not watch tape that is sent to them by athletes or their parents.  The high school coach needs to have a relationship with the college coach to get that tape watched.
The main reason kids don’t get recruited is their coaches have no idea how to do it or they are lazy.   Coaches have to do their homework and work to get kids out.  There is a school for every high school player if they have grades.
A lot of coaches don’t like to do the recruiting part because you have to be real to athlete and their parents which they don’t like to hear.  Not everyone is a FBS guy.
Most college coaches don’t have time to waste and if a coach lies to them, they may never watch tape from that high school again. 

Chris Fore is a Certified Athletic Administrator and thirteen year football coach from Southern California.  He has a Master’s degree in Athletic Administration.  He maintains a popular blog at CoachFore.org; consulting business can be found at EightLaces.org. He helps coaches nationwide at both the high school and college level with their career search and program development.  He is the author of Building Championship-Caliber Football Programs, An Insider’s Guide To Scoring Your Next Coaching Job and the Shield Punt e Clinic.