This is the first week in April. What are college recruiters doing? What should high school juniors be doing? And how important is the upcoming May evaluation period? And what don't high school coaches, prospects and their parents know about the recruiting process that they need to know?
Recruiting isn't as intense as it was a month ago. College coaches are focusing on spring practice. Many of them take one day off each week to watch and evaluate film. As far as the recruiting process, they are trying to persuade high school coaches to have their top prospects call them so they can arrange for as many unofficial visits as possible and offer invitations to one-day camps in June.
Some colleges already have offered 200 scholarships, some 100. They know who they really want. If they have circled a big-time prospect on their priority list of juniors, they have invited him to make an unofficial visit of the campus.
Remember, the majority of recruiting will be done by July 1. The colleges already know who their priorities are, who they want to zoom in on. And they already have a backup list, too, in case they aren't able to sign their priorities.
For athletes, it is so important to have a great junior year. The clock is ticking for juniors. They should take as many unofficial campus visits as possible in the spring and summer and should attend as many camps in June and July as possible. Let the college coaches see you. They have seen your film but they also want to size you up personally and check out your personality and character. They want to see you face-to-face and talk to you, to see how you fit into their program.
The best player, the elite, should have 10 to 40 offers by now. The MAC won't offer if the Big 10 already has offered. If you don't have a scholarship offer by July 1, you should look for other schools, maybe Division I-AA instead of Division I or even Division II. Camps are over by July 1 and coaches go on vacation and practice begins in August. So their attention is diverted elsewhere.
The May evaluation period finalizes everything. It still is the most important month of the year for recruiting. It is an opportunity for college coaches to find other players. They still are looking for juniors-to-be and seniors-to-be. They look forward to seeing and talking to kids face-to-face.
Coaches will uncover more prospects because they are on the road. They know what they want but they want to be sure that the players on their priority list fit their criteria. Film isn't as important as seeing a prospect in person. Combines aren't as important because coaches can't go there. It is more important for players to make unofficial campus visits with film in their hand. Coaches like to watch kids playing football, not running between cones in their shorts.
Finally, high school coaches, prospects and their parents need to know that letters from college coaches mean very little. Personal letters mean a little more. But nothing means as much as an official offer.
A lot of college coaches have ways to delay making offers. Don't count on anything until an official offer arrives in the mail. Even verbal offers don't mean anything. Nothing matters except a written offer.
So make sure you are open to all schools in the recruiting process until you receive a written offer from the school that you are absolutely certain you want to attend.