"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm Forbes
So you want to become a recruitnik, huh?
You want to be able to rifle through the information about stars, offer lists, visits, commits, decommits and all the razzle dazzle of National Signing Day?
Welcome to Recruiting 101.
Before we begin, I'd like to mention that this guide in no way means to disparage the good people of Rivals.com, Scout.com, 247Sports.com or any other major recruiting site's opinions or work.
This is my system. Choose to use it if you want. It's free and you can tweak it. With that said, let's do this.
We're going to begin this series with some basic vocabulary and general recruiting information.
Oh yeah, a word of warning: DO NOT contact ANY prospect via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, texting, phone, smoke signals or any other method of communication.
Doing so is an NCAA VIOLATION. Perhaps a fellow fan won't turn you in, but other schools' fans can and will. If SEC coaches tattle on each other, you better damn well believe fans will.
Letter of Intent: A contract that basically says, "I will play for your school in exchange for all the nice stuff you give me and a free education." These are typically one year contracts and can be renewed annually.
National Signing Day: The Christmas Day of Recruiting. Prospects officially sign and send their Letters of Intent to their school of choice.
Recruiting Cycle (or "cycle"): The period of time between now and the next Letter of Intent Signing Day for that particular year of recruitment. For example, a high school senior-to-be is part of the 2014 class.
Rating or Ranking: A measurement of a prospect's evaluated worth.
Junior College Transfer a.k.a. "JUCO": A prospect that spent time at a community college and does not have the same amount of eligibility of a normal high school prospect (five years to play four).
Preferred Walk-on: You're on the team, but you will not get a scholarship immediately.
Walk-on: You had no guarantee of being on the team prior to tryouts and you have to pay out of pocket for schooling until awarded a scholarship.
- Identifying Prospect Worth
Main question I'm asked: Why is a recruit ranked so high by one service, but so low by another?
Long story short, these services have their own methods of identification by multiple analysts in an attempt to give a streamlined ranking. My goal is to give you the most unbiased strategy as possible to provide an even more precise projection of success.
Most folks who follow recruiting casually live and die by a service's star system that dictates worth with a range of "This guy's a two-star prospect, so he either sucks or we don't know much about him" all the way to "This guy's a five-star prospect and we may as well give him every post-season award now."
This is wrong...kinda.
The star system gives us a microscope to look through, but like a microscope, you can take a glance and run out of the lab or you can focus in to get a better look. How can you do this?
- Watch film/highlights (Over...and over...and over...)
- Check offer lists (This can be deceiving, though. I'll explain why later)
- Reading interviews (How does the prospect answer? What specific words does he use? Does he end sentences with "sir?")
- Having mature conversations with other recruitniks - Using our lab analogy, why not compare your findings with other "scientists?"
These are some basic ways to get a better idea of whether or not a prospect fits in your team's system rather than looking at star rankings.
Alright, deep breath. That's a good start. Next time, we'll put these skills to the test and expand on where some of the best recruits can be found.
Recruiting 101* Part Two
* Part Three
Any questions or comments on/about any of the above information? Leave them below.