The Spring Evaluation Period starts April 15, 2016 and runs through May 31, 2016. Why is this stage of the recruiting process so important? First, it is the first time coaches from Division I schools can call the class of 2017 prospects they are recruiting. Second, the assistant coaching staff for each program has 168 evaluation opportunities or days over the six week period to spend on the road evaluating prospects at their high schools.
The First Recruiting Phone CalL
In either case, you can bet the coaches will have a strategy to how they approach these calls. They don’t just grab a list and start dialing the phone. Prior to the evaluation period the coaches will discuss which recruits they are going to call and when they are going to call them.
In the end, the importance of this first call has diminished over the last few years because of social media and the greater focus on unofficial visits and junior days. Receiving a call can indicate that you are a priority, but if you already have strong communication channels with a coach you may not receive a call at all. So do not get all wrapped up in whether you received or did not receive a call from a D-I coach during this stage of the process.
school evaluations and Visits
A typical evaluation visit might include talking to the coaching staff, watching game film, talking to teachers and staff, pulling transcripts to check on grades (particularly for core course eligibility), and “bumping” into the prospect. The coaches are not allowed to have face-to-face contact with a prospect. However, the NCAA has an exception in place known as the “bump” rule. This rule acknowledges that it is inevitable that college coaches may run into a prospective recruit while visiting their school and it would be nearly impossible avoid such incidents. In such a case the coach is allowed to have a short exchange with the student, but is not supposed to have an extended conversation. High school coaches and college coaches can be very creative in creating opportunities for the prospective student athlete to “bump” into a coach. The athletic evaluation may also include watching spring workouts or practices to assess prospective student athletes and it is not uncommon for the prospect’s high school coach to put together an impromptu workout with the prospect and other teammates in order to showcase player skills.
Evaluations are not just for Juniors
What it all Means
Remember that college recruiting is a long journey and all hope is not lost if you do not receive a school visit or phone call. It may just mean that in order to achieve your dream of playing at the next level that you need to be more proactive with your recruiting plan or that you need to broaden you recruiting efforts to more schools and more levels. Up to fifty percent of high school players do not receive their first scholarship offer until after their senior season is complete, so stay positive and keep pushing to achieve your goal.
Do you have any further tips or advice on what prospective student athletes should know about the Spring Evaluation Period? We would love to hear about them in our comments section. For more information on the college football recruiting calendar check out this NCAA page. And as always, if you found this article helpful and think it is worthy of a share, please click on the Facebook or Twitter icons below.