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Not From a Recruiting Hotbed? Five Ways to Stand Out

By Next College Student Athlete, 12/02/18, 8:00PM CST

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Follow these tips to get on the radar of college coaches — no matter where you’re located

Social media is a great platform to show off highlight clips, follow college programs you’re interested in and even send direct messages to coaches.

For better or worse, the world of athletic recruiting is full of regional hotbeds.

In college football, 54 percent of all 2018 blue-chip recruits hailed from four states — Texas, Florida, California and Georgia. In lacrosse, more than 40 percent of Division I recruits are natives of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and the DC Metro Area.

Take a look at ice hockey and you’ll find most recruits come from Minnesota, Michigan and New England. For each sport, college coaches focus most of their recruiting efforts toward specific hotbed regions and plan visits to several high schools in the same area. It’s cost-effective and efficient.

So, what if you don’t live in a hotbed region for your sport? How do you get recruited? Fortunately, technology has begun to level the playing field, and many college rosters include athletes from across the country and around the world. Follow these five tips to get on the radar of college coaches — no matter where you’re located.   

CAST A WIDE NET

Every recruit dreams of competing for a nationally-ranked college program and taking home the championship. Who wouldn’t want to play football for Alabama or basketball for Duke?

However, to grab the attention of a top-tier team, you’ll face plenty of stiff competition. Plus, these programs often lock up their recruiting classes early. To give yourself every opportunity to get discovered, reach out to college coaches at a variety of schools — DI, DII, DIII, small schools, large schools, etc.

Even if playing for your local state school is your dream, it’s always good to give yourself options and backup plans. Check out NCSA’s 2018 Power Rankings to see our list of Best Colleges for Student-Athletes.  

CREATE A GREAT HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

Highlight videos are a chance to get student-athletes in front of college coaches and give them an unbiased look at their skills and abilities.

Coming from an under-recruited region, your highlight film might be your best tool for getting noticed. To make sure your video stands out, record every game you can and update the footage as you improve your skills and get more playing time. Think of a highlight video as an athletic resume. Include stats, measurables, GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

MAKE SURE COACHES SEE YOU COMPETE IN PERSON

If college coaches don't make it to your area, find a way to go to them. Many colleges host camps and combines that are led by members of the coaching staff and current athletes.

While impressive video footage can help you get noticed, most coaches like to evaluate recruits in person before they offer them a spot on the team. Keep in mind that traveling to camps and combines can be expensive.

Before making travel plans, do some research and see if you can attend multiple college camps on the same trip. In addition, reach out to coaches ahead of time and let them know to keep an eye out for you.

SHINE IN THE CLASSROOM

If college coaches are evaluating two comparable recruits to fill a roster spot, they will offer a scholarship to the athlete with better grades and test scores 99 times out of 100.

The risk of losing a player to academic ineligibility is simply not worth it to most coaches. At some college programs, academics are considered to be just as important as athletic performance. Impressive grades and standardized test scores will only improve your chances of getting recruited.

STAY ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Many college coaches are extremely active on Twitter and other social media. In 2016, the NCAA allowed college coaches to like, favorite, share or retweet posts by recruits. Social media is a great platform to show off highlight clips, follow college programs you’re interested in and even send Direct Messages to coaches. Make sure to set your accounts to public and keep things professional.

And if a college football coach follows you, be sure to follow them back.

ABOUT NEXT COLLEGE STUDENT ATHLETE

NCSA is the world's largest and most successful collegiate athletic recruiting network. A wholly owned subsidiary of Reigning Champs LLC, NCSA's 700 teammates leverage exclusive data, proprietary matching algorithms and personal relationships built over nearly two decades as the industry leader to connect tens of thousands of college-bound student-athletes to more than 35,000 college coaches nationwide across 34 sports every year.

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