Q: I have never been on an Official Visit, what should I expect?
A: On both Official and Unofficial visits, coaches are trying to both get to know you better and want you get a better understanding of them, what they have to offer and to get to know their coaching staff and players. It’s a two-way street and coaches are often trying to impress you as much as you are trying to impress them.
The important takeaway from visits is getting a feel for what it will be like to live there, go to school there, be among the type of players they have and learn from that coaching staff. Do you feel comfortable? Can you get better? Will you be happy? Are you too far or too close to home? Will you be around positive, influential people?
Unofficial Visits are usually a little less personal, depending on where you rank at your position for that staff. For Junior Days and gamedays, some coaching staffs invite hundreds of players who are early in the recruiting cycle, especially if the staff is new and trying to get to know the local and regional players better. Unofficial Visits can also be very personalized with just one or two players spending the day with the staff, it varies.
If coaches have interest in you, they will definitely try to get you to visit campus so they can meet you in person or spend more time with you on a personal level. How much personal times they spend with you, and how detailed the visit in can tell you a lot about where you rank on their priority list.
Another key difference is if you scheduled the visit yourself or if you were invited. Not all staffs will take the time, or have the time, to spend with you if you just show up or try to set up a visit on your own. They may also be restricted from meeting with you if you stop by during an NCAA Dead Period. Not to discourage you, there are plenty of players who called and expressed interest in coming to campus for an Unofficial Visit, and who eventually earned scholarship offers—it just really depends on where the coaching staff is in terms of evaluations of your signing class.
If you are invited and coaches spend personal time with you, they have some level of interest in you and are already evaluating you for a scholarship.
Another telling sign if the amount of personal time you get with the head coach. If the head coach meets with you one-on-one, that means you are a high priority to them and they may be close to offering you. If the head coach spends time with you or pulls you off from the other prospects, that’s a great sign.
On visits, you may:
– Meet with:
o Academic Advisors
o Professor in the major you are interested in
o Dean of the School you are interested in
o University President
o Athletic Director
o Position Coach
o Offensive/Defensive Coordinator
o Head Coach
o Strength Coach
o Athletic Trainer
o Sports Information Director
o Other coaches on the staff
o Other athletic department staff
o Players at your position or side of the ball
o Players from your hometown
– Go on a campus tour to see:
o Dining Hall
o Student Union
o Athletic Facilities
o Popular campus spots
– Game Invites: If you are being evaluated for a scholarship, coaches will definitely try to get you to come to a game and they will ask you personally. Sure, schools may invite more recruits to games than others, each staff varies… but if you are being invited personally by phone or in person, that’s a great sign.
– Watch practice
– See a hype-up highlight video
Understand all visits are choreographed so you will see what they want you to see – and they will keep you away from what they don’t want you to see! The people you interact with are hand selected, so understand most coaching staffs are trying to paint a picture of the place you have told them you want to be.