Posted February 23, 2022 | Jake
Blog by Jacob Dombrowski // Kohl’s Coach & Underdog Recruiting Consultant
With the last Signing Day in the past, we wanted to give a big picture overview of a few of the big aspects of the recruiting process. While it’s impossible to sum the whole recruiting process and all the different pieces in a couple hundred words, these few points will be a good starting point as now all of the 2023’s should be starting to roll on their recruiting strategy!
1. Target Schools – aside from academics and performance, being realistic in your choice of “target” schools is going to lead to the best possible chance of a successful recruiting journey. There are several factors that you should be considering besides “they win a lot of football games” OR “they’re uniforms are awesome”. First - academics, both from an admission standpoint (do you have the grades to get in) and do they have what you want to study. Second – athletic fit for football. Third – demographics and location, how far from home do I really want to go? Do I want to be in the city or suburbs? Small town or big town? Starting to research schools with these aspects (as well as many others) in mind can help build a good starting list. I tell people to keep two things in mind:
- You can say, “I’m not interested” to any school at any point during the recruiting process just like a coach can do the same to you. It’s a two-way street. It doesn’t cost anything but a little bit of time to reach out to a school (above, at or below where you believe you truly fit) just to see what happens.
- A good D2 opportunity is better than a bad D1. A good D3/NAIA opportunity is better than a bad D2. Keep your priorities in mind – what I want to study, what is the cost, chance to play, do I like the coaches, is it a nice campus/atmosphere I will enjoy spending four years – rather than “I only want to play D1”.
2. Twitter – social media has become an absolute vital part of the recruiting process. The speed, ease and functionality of Twitter and Instagram make them invaluable tools for coaches and athletes alike. Keep your account updated – results, grades, film (game, season or training), visits, etc. – because you never know who is watching and keeping track. Follow coaches and programs, DM the ones you can and don’t be afraid to market yourself. REMEMBER – everyone now has a camera and it’s even more important to be smart with what you say, what you do and where you are.
3. Summer Camps – over the next several months as you dive deeper into your recruiting journey, trying to connect with coaches, making visits and planning your summer–specific college camps for your top choice schools should be a priority this summer. Coaches want to see athletes in person and performing well at their camp is one of the best ways to earn their attention (obviously). If you get a letter or an email from a top-tier SEC school inviting you to their summer camp but no other communication or responses to emails/DM’s, then that might not be the best use of your time and money.
There are two approaches to take when considering summer camps:
- Schools that you are in active, meaningful communication with prior to their camps
- Schools that would be your top choices (if football doesn’t come into the picture)
Since time and money are valuable commodities, you most likely will not be able to attend all the camps that you would like to. While it isn’t the end of the road for nearly all schools (some will offer athletes at the camps, but not the majority), the good news is that the Kohl’s Showcases & National Scholarship camp still provide an excellent opportunity for you to compete, chart great and increase your star rating & ranking – ball out when the lights are on!
Being a part of the Kohl’s family is a huge advantage in terms of training/competition opportunities (Divisions, Training camps, Ranking Showcases and the NSC) and exposure to college coaches (nearly all) that utilize and trust the rankings, results and evaluations. That’s only a piece of the whole recruiting picture and that’s where Underdog Consulting comes into play!
Underdog helps with the following:
- Target List Identification based on evaluation and priorities
- Coach Communication Strategy (templates, contact information)
- Plan of Attack Calendar
- Highlight Video Guidance
- Twitter Marketing Strategy
- Admission Essays
- Virtual Training Lessons
- Focused Strength & Conditioning for Specialists
Underdog has helped 250+ specialists in their recruiting and 80% have gone on to find their place to play.
Reach out today to learn more about how Underdog can be an advantage in your recruiting!
Founder of Underdog/Kohl’s Kicking Coach