By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Columbus East High (Ind.) head coach Bob Gaddis is also the executive director of the Indiana Football Coaches Association. He has established a recruiting pipeline to Division 1, 2 and 3 and NAIA colleges.
- Educate parents and players on the process.
Parents need to understand the difference between scholarship football (Division 1) and other options (Division 2, Division 3, NAIA). College coaches who don’t have scholarship money to offer still recruit high school players. Gaddis recommends having a recruiting meeting each year with sophomores and their parents.
- Encourage parents and players to research.
Players and their parents should research each school on their wish list and take football out of the equation. See if the school is a fit academically, financially and geographically. Create a list of schools that meet the criteria, and share it with the high school coach.
- Have the player draft a resume.
Recruiting coordinators at colleges have a limited amount of time, so it’s important to include all of the pertinent information in one place. A player’s resume should include height, weight, year in school, age, GPA, test scores, statistics and a link to a highlight video.
- Have the player contact the recruiting coordinator.
Contact information for college recruiting coordinators is often on the school’s athletics website. Gaddis encourages players to take the initiative in the recruiting process.
“Open the lines of communication and be proactive,” Gaddis said.
- Reach out to college recruiters on behalf of players.
It is important to recognize which level of college football a player is pursuing. Division 1 prospects should jumpstart the recruiting process during their sophomore years. Gaddis reaches out on behalf of all other prospects in the spring of their junior years.
- Invite college recruiters to the high school campus for visits.
Gaddis estimates he had 30 to 35 recruiters come through Columbus East this fall. About 90 percent had already spoken with the player they were recruiting.
“They stop here because they have open lines of communication,” Gaddis said.
- Host an Open Football Night.
Gaddis hosts a practice session each year in early May for college recruiters.
“The college coaches can see them work out, and see how big and fast they are,” Gaddis said. “Give the college coaches the players’ academic profiles as well.”
- Arrange a player’s official visit to a college campus.
If a player is going to receive a scholarship offer, it typically happens when he’s visiting that particular school’s campus.
“Those one-day recruiting deals are huge because most Division 1 schools won’t offer a player that hasn’t visited in the summer,” Gaddis said.
- Look for opportunities for a player to meet other coaches.
Schools like Ohio State and Northwestern host camps for high school players, and coaches from more than 50 colleges attend to scout/recruit.
“You have to be selective of where you go if you’re getting recruited by multiple schools,” Gaddis said.
- Let the player and his parents make the decision.
Once a player has his acceptance letters and offers, the coach’s job is to provide information without steering the decision. Gaddis stresses that parents should stress the academic and social fit for the player.
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