The intricacies of recruiting

Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Division I universities released the efforts of their recruiting process in football on Dec. 18, 2019. This has been a long-anticipated process of evaluating, calling, visiting and having the prospects visit their campus. This is the early signing date and another will follow in February. Most coaches hope that they can use the next month evaluating junior prospects and not have to worry about adding to this year’s class.

With the early signing period that now exists, it is my hope that all juniors in high school will get active in their academics and gain as much exposure from other sports as possible. Exposure is so important for the athletes and the schools that are recruiting them. My best advice is to attend as many junior days and workouts as possible to help schools evaluate you. These junior days can be a chance for you and your parents to visit and get to meet the coaching staff as well as university representatives. This is not possible on a game day when the coaches are preparing for a game later that day. On any given junior day they will have compliance people, guides, professors and coaches available for a prospect and prospects’ parents to meet. These are good days and informative in every way, especially for the parents. Parents, please attend these days because college coaches want to get to know you, as well.

Universities will offer these days in February and March and most high school coaches will receive notice of these important dates. Also, college coaches will be sending out questionnaires to high school coaches for them to fill out and send back to the colleges. If a player is not recommended by his high school coach, he will not be recruited. The bigger universities would like to offer scholarships and have commitments by the summer. This saves them time and money while out on the recruiting trail. They can spend this time evaluating sophomores and rising juniors if they get early commitments. Recruiting is a battle that all colleges face and it is a challenge for many.

Coaches, please fill out the questionnaires honestly and get them back to the college coaches. Having done this on both ends, I’ve learned it only helps your program and especially your players. He may be your best athlete, but if he is not a prospect, do not get his or his parents’ hope too high. There are plenty of D-2 and D-3 colleges that are looking for players. The biggest complaint from college coaches is that they cannot trust some high school coaches because of the players they have recommended in the past. Just be honest!

In the summer, every college will offer camps and one-day workouts for rising high school seniors. Please use these one-day workouts and save your money on the camps. College coaches will have a chance to see an athlete run, get weighed, test his agility and put him through a position-specific workout. This will give them something to gauge him against others they are recruiting. It is a money-saving experience for the parents, and parents, I urge you to attend. These one day workouts will usually be held in June and July, and prospects can come for one-day workouts if invited during the camp sessions.

Recruiting is a never-ending battle for all college coaches. It is a must, and some do it better than others. The days of an alumni calling are over. It is now a time of colleges evaluating the players — they either win or lose because of their recruiting efforts.

I have learned many valuable lessons between two white lines and thank all my coaches for the opportunity to do so!

— Harold Robinson Jr. is a former coach at Williamston High School for 31 years, and a member of the East Carolina coaching staff for 12 years.