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How does the recruiting process work?

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In college sports, “recruiting” basically refers to how college coaches fill the roster spots on their team with prospective student-athletes. Even though every college coach’s job depends on them winning, different coaches have different needs. Some coaches will need to find athletes with stronger grades and test scores than other coaches because their college is academically rigorous. Other coaches will need to fill their roster spots according to their current positional needs.

Many coaches begin the college recruiting process by contacting a large group of athletes that think would be a good fit for their program. For bigger programs, this number can be in the hundreds or even thousands. Through evaluations, reviewing highlight video and contact with recruits, they slowly start to whittle that number down until they’ve filled their open roster spots. In other words, the college recruiting process resembles a funnel, starting out with a large group of recruits and narrowing down to a select few.

College coaches generally follow specific steps through their collegiate athletic recruiting process. Knowing these steps will help potential recruits understand where they are in the recruiting process and what still needs to occur going forward. These steps include:

1) College coaches gather a list of prospective athletes who meet basic requirements

2) College coaches send out recruiting letters, recruiting questionnaires and camp invites to prospects

3) College coaches conduct in-depth athletic, academic and character evaluations of recruits

4) College coaches extend scholarship offers and lock down commitments

5) College coaches sign athletes and ensure academic eligibility