Q: My daughter is a junior and a DII coach said if she’s not recruited by D1 schools by now that she never will be. True?
A: Everyone’s situation is different and college coaches are constantly evaluating talent and trying to find the best players available. From my experiences, there is no such thing as “too late” to coaches (even Division I coaches) if they think a prep player can help their team win. Period.
Timing is important in the recruiting process—a program may only need to sign one or two players at a particular position and already have commitments from recruits at those positions. They may not have scholarship spots available at certain positions and may only be recruiting certain positions.
Not all of the players that I’ve seen sign scholarships over the years were players that our staff found and went after. A good percentage of them were players who came to us first!
Many of the coaches that I’ve worked with are looking for three base traits—skill, size and speed. Many players may only have two of these three traits or they may even only be masters of one. It’s up to you to become the greatest that you can be at these three traits and recognize that sometimes you can’t control all of these factors… but you can compensate by being really great at the others.
While many great players can go unrecruited or underrecognized, it is also important to understand that coaches are constantly searching for that next great unknown. They’re scouting the area, asking everyone about the next up-and-coming player, even sometimes looking for a late addition to their next class.
You have to remember, most players are growing physically during all of their high school years. You will be a much different player as a junior and senior than you are as a freshman and sophomore. You have four years to grow and improve—to get bigger, more skilled, stronger and faster.
All coaches do offer underclassmen, but only proven players who would be an elite, top prospect for their program. They offer underclassmen that would likely have the talent to come in and start as a freshman for their program or see significant playing time early. Otherwise, they will take their time with evaluations until players are juniors or seniors.
Many players don’t see significant varsity playing time until their junior or senior season. Until you are a varsity starter or significant contributor, most coaches won’t take notice. But entering your junior year (and sometimes even your senior season), you still have plenty of time to get noticed!
Just some advice, don’t exclude plenty of opportunities for playing time, scholarships and a college degree by only focusing on Division I programs. There are plenty of DII, DIII, Junior College and NAIA schools out there that can provide one-in-a-lifetime experiences, memories, championships, friendships and degrees. Playing college sports, on any level, is a gift! Don’t limit yourself or leave scholarship money on the table by excluding every team outside of NCAA Division I.