By Tom Kovic
If you are a junior prospect, you should launch your college search with earnest. Between the multitude of recruiting events you have attended, and the evaluation information you have forwarded to college coaches, you are well on your way. What follows is a snapshot of junior days and building this component into your college recruiting plan.
The college search for athletes has accelerated to the point where a substantial percentage of blue-chip athletes are receiving early verbal offers from college coaches. Furthermore, timelines have advanced, and families who do not begin developing and executing their personal college recruiting strategies may find themselves lagging the pack.
Junior Days are dynamic and helpful strategies college coaches use in attracting families and prospects to campus for a “look under the hood.” Specifically, prospects can attend recruiting specific meetings, tour the campus, attend a home football game and in certain cases, stay overnight with one of the guys on the team. It is all well within NCAA rules.
Long ago, college coaches were using junior day strategy as a means of introducing young prospects to their institution and planting the “seed of interest. Presently, the recruiting process has advanced and receiving an invitation to attend a junior day is a positive sign that coach may lean strongly toward a commitment.
Academic Select Colleges
This is not the case with D-3 and select, non-scholarship institutions (Ivy, Patriot, for example). Generally, coaches are not yet positioned to make firm offers until the junior year grades are in, along with a round or two of standardized testing.
Prospective student-athlete strategy has shifted somewhat as well. Not only do you want to get a look under the hood at a handful of colleges, you want to maximize the visits.
NCAA rules are stringent regarding junior contacts with coaches. Envision the college campus as a haven of recruiting where junior prospects can meet with coaches and discuss virtually anything about their institution and sports program. Above all, It will drive you to make the most of the opportunity.
Junior days can assist you in killing a couple of birds with one stone. Not only do you make an unofficial visit to campus, you also have the chance to spend one on one time with coach and discuss his interest in you and vice versa. In addition, you get to mingle with the team and possibly meet with a regional admissions advisor. It’s a one-stop-shop.
The college search for athletes entails a myriad of tactics, organizational skills, and a keen sense of determination. The goal is to build momentum and communicate with college coaches effectively.
Junior days is one of several recruiting tactics that college coaches and prospects use to narrow down their recruiting list. In addition, if a college coach invites you to attend a junior day, this is a sincere sign of interest!
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and Founder/Principal of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises prospects and families on college recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.