Q: Is it possible to get recruited if I’m not a starter?
A: Yes but it will be tough. Coaches are looking for players who can help them WIN. Period. Players who can consistently provide at least one skill that can affect the outcome of the game.
Even if you aren’t a starter, that doesn’t have to eliminate you from consideration but you must find a key role for yourself. The best way to be able to make the most of the playing time you do get is to become a specialist in a certain skill. Certain skills may not get the flash, media attention or fan recognition—but may be the skills that help WIN GAMES. Coaches are always looking for those type of unselfish players.
Not only have I worked with players who went on to play at the college level—I know players who have gone on to play professionally because they were specialists in a certain area:
– Special teams
– 3rd down conversions
– Defensive specialists
There may be a great player ahead of you on the depth chart, politics may be in play, you may not get a ton of minutes to be able to make the impact you want to… but you can still find a way to make an impact and be able to put together some good film, stats and reputation in the area.
Playing time in high school and college is fluid. Players get injured, quit, transfer, are academically ineligible, etc. Starting jobs aren’t as important as playing time and making an impact with the time you do get, no matter how little.
Another option is to talk to your coach about a position change. Would you be able to help your team at another position? Are there more opportunities in another role if you are behind a great player on the depth chart?
Remember—college coaches are looking for three key things: skill, size and speed. Some players may be solid at all three, some may only be good at one or two. Which areas are you strengths and how can you improve in those other areas? Focus your attention on those three areas, and focus on what you can improve on. Don’t focus on what you can never fix, such as height.
Camps are a great way to get your foot in the door, they give coaches a chance to see you up close, in person and evaluate your skills. They won’t know if you are a starter or not, they will just get time to check out your skills, size and speed in person and evaluate if you would be a good fit for their program.
If you are in this position be prepared to do the footwork on your own with the recruiting process. You’ll have to send out your info, make phone calls, attend camps/combines/tournaments. Coaches may not be coming to you—you may have to go to them! And remember, you just need ONE coaching staff to believe in you, not 50!
Keep working until you find that one school that wants and needs a player just like YOU!