As college football has quickly approached, I wanted to spend the next few weeks dissecting the topic of recruiting. Each week as I prepare for games, I come face-to-face with many players who were not recruited and somehow landed on a roster.
I’m here to dish on the most used expressions I come across when coaches describe those incoming freshmen. As you read this, you can get a jump start on what becoming a highly-touted recruit entails, based on some of the insight college coaches share with me. Forewarning, it’s not always someone’s 40-yard time. Sometimes it’s their GPA. Sharing is caring, and yes all of the expressions begin with the word “man” because, typical, that’s how it spells out. Real talk.
1. “Man, he’s just a worker”
This is, hands down, one of the most frequented expressions coaches use to describe their new freshmen. Constantly working, grinding for more yards, more reps, heavier weights, extra film, and asking how to get better; it isn’t a single thing that defines the trait. It’s all-encompassing and a special quality. It also greatly affects a team’s environment and the impression you are trying to leave on your fellow teammates.
When you ARE NOT a worker, that is magnified quickly. It requires no jaw-dropping physical assets; it’s simply how hard you’re willing to work and is something that 100 percent of the time catches a coach’s eyes. So go the extra mile. It’ll land you in a special group.
2. “Man, he’s a competitor”
I just asked a coach today about a player who was a walk-on, wasn’t even recruited, and had muscled his way up to not only a starting position but leading the team in receptions. How the heck did he get there? Competitive nature. This young man refused to be beat on drills, and he wanted to be better than everyone out there. Some may take that as egotistical, and perhaps selfish, yet I think in some ways all the great ones have this trait. Competitors. Rightfully so–it’s a mental edge coaches need in their locker rooms.
3. “Man, he’s unselfish”
Unselfishness goes such a long way, really, in all facets of life. I spoke to an offensive coordinator about a QB battle going on in his training camp and he mentioned one of the QBs who would call out coverages to the opposing QB while on the sideline. This kid is competing for the starting job, you guys, yet, still selflessly wants his team to be the best and his teammates to be better. It is rare, but celebrated. I hear similar stories like that along the way from different coaches and they’re a reason why those players stand out. (PS: The kid calling out the signals for his fellow teammate got the Week 1 start.)
4. “And man, he’s just a good kid”
This is an expression that coaches finish with when describing their youngsters. They are just a great kid. Sounds simple, right? Easily done? It’s not something you hear all the time, believe it or not. With as much bad publicity as we’ve seen within athletics both professionally and collegiately, that phrase is becoming more powerful than ever. Stay out of trouble, keep your nose clean, and do the right things as you gear up for recruiting. Be mindful of that as you become more in the public eye, even as a high schooler. As you begin the recruiting process, keep your inner circle tight with good people. It’s a move I highly suggest. Surround yourself with people who want to be just as successful as you.
Okay, I want to remind you there are a plethora of other things coaches look for. It also varies based on a school’s particular system, and based on their coaching philosophies. However, these four are the foundation for what separates the athletes getting by on physical skills…and those who sign their letters of intent and actually succeed once they step foot on campus.
This is just the beginning of our recruiting conversation. Stay tuned to read more about what coaches are not looking for, social media guidance, and how to get recruited. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you from the sideline for the next four months!
Follow Steffi on Twitter at @steffisorensen