Q: Is it okay to ask a coach where you fit on their list and how they see you competing for the scholarship offer?
A: Sure, in fact you should ask if you have a scholarship offer and are considering committing to them. You should ask coaches what their specific plan is for your development.
And remember – competition is not a bad thing, especially if you want to win games and play for a successful team. Winning teams have depth at most positions, so competition on the depth chart is inevitable if you want to win!
Be aware that you’ll likely be getting the sugarcoated version, many coaches may tell you that you’ll be coming in and starting or being a major contributor right away. Coaches are always “recruiting” you, especially before the NLI (National Letter of Intent) is signed, so they’ll always over-compliment you. Not too many coaches will flat out tell you – if they’re pushing you to sign – that you’ll probably redshirt for a year and be a backup as a sophomore. They’ll tell you that you’ll come in and compete but they’ll see you starting or heavily contributing as a freshman right away.
If you don’t have an offer but are in the mix of evaluations, coaches may be more honest with you. Coaches have a list, position-by-position, class-by-class of the top targets and keep them in order of priority to sign.
If you’re in the top group and already have an offer, coaches usually have 2-5 players who they’d be happy to sign, all interchangeable and pretty equally talented. This is the group they are “actively recruiting,” calling, building relationships (with you, your parents, your prep coaches, your mentors), visiting in person, mailing info to you about campus and the program. In many cases, a coach may have 1-2 scholarships to sign for that position, that year, and be equally recruiting 2-5 players hard for those spots. Outside of that, they’re sending mail to 30-100 players for each open scholarship.
ASK. Find out where you fit in. There are a lot of scenarios of how this could work out, but coaches love when players and their families ask what the plan for their development is and you need to know where you fit in among the other players offered.