You know that famous saying by Sally Field, “You like me. You really like me!” when she won an Oscar back in 1985? Well, if you're a top prospect, you might find yourself saying those exact words when you learn about some of the interesting ways coaches are letting you know that they are attracted to your skills. Like any athlete wanting to be recruited, sticking out in the crowd is vital; however, it's no different with coaches whose jobs depend on getting top athletes signed to their teams.
With all the hard work we've been doing regarding your high school althletic recruitment, it's time for the coaches to do a little work. Check out four ways coaches are trying to show athletes their level of interest:
The official visit
This is the age-old method of a coach showing interest in an athlete. It is an invitation to come and see what life would be like if you were playing on their team and attending the school. On an official visit, you would be linked up with an athlete currently on the team and then room with him or her for a night, see the campus, get some grub at the cafeteria, and then check out the athletic facilities and a practice.
According to AthNet, official visits can cost a school a lot of money and coaches can not have as many prospective athletes coming to the school as they want; they need to be extremely selective and only choose the ones that they are very serious about. While an official visit does not mean you will automatically be enrolled into the school, AthNet makes the point that “it's a great indication that you are near the top of a coach's recruiting list.”
There is nothing better than getting a letter from your preferred school and coach. Did I say letter? Oh I meant letters. One hundred and five letters to be exact. That's precisely what happened to running back Alvin Kamara this past February with the University of Alabama. Talk about sending a message to a prospective athlete!
One hundred and five letters is not a daily occurrence in the athletic world, but it does not mean that one letter can't do the justice of the 105. The letter is not as strong as inviting you to visit the college, but it does say to an athlete “Hey, we like you and we are watching to see if you're a good fit for our school.”
Tip: Take a look and see if the letter is specifically personalized to you and your skill set. If so, that’s a great indication if a coach really knows who you are as an athlete versus the generic letter sent out from the athletic department.
The text message
This is a relatively new method of contacting athletes as of this year and it's an exciting update to some of the NCAA's archaic regulations. Now, when it is appropriate via the specific rules set forth by sport and high school class year, you and coaches can be talking all day if you want.
A text message is a great indication of a coach's interest; it is a specific act by a coach letting you know that they are thinking about you and aside from e-mail, it also leaves a small paper trail of your conversations.
If you happened to be at the West Hills Chaminade and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame high school football game in California a few weeks ago, you may have seen a plane flying over the field with “Go Beavs” flashing on the bottom of it. It was a very unusual method for the coaches at the Oregon State University to let some prospective athletes know that they are thinking about them.
In an interview with Rivals.com, a much desired athlete for Oregon, Jordan Villeman, spoke about the impact of the plane: “It's pretty cool because it keeps Oregon State on our mind when you're playing the game.” The plane is an incredible recruitment tactic that not only influences prospective recruits, but also makes those other younger athletes think to themselves, “I want a plane too.” If you ask me, it's a genius (however, expensive) marketing and recruiting technique for Oregon.
There are many ways coaches try to show an athlete that they are interested in them. If you haven't had a plane sent to fly over your game or haven't been asked to stay overnight at a school, don't worry! All schools, divisions, and coaches vary in their recruiting methods.
What have your experiences been with recruiting? What other methods—whether subdued or over the top—have you heard of? Let us know on Twitter @CollegeXpress!