BRX RECRUITING | | JUNIOR YEAR GUIDE
Important note: this checklist is assuming you have reviewed and completed our BRX Freshman and Sophomore Year Checklists and Guides. If you are a junior, are just beginning the recruiting process, and haven’t gone through these documents, please read through them first to make sure you haven’t missed any critical steps. If you have missed some, simply add them to the list below.
GET ANOTHER EVALUATION AND RESEARCH HOW COACHES ARE RECRUITINGStep 1: Get another evaluation of your skills and abilities
Step 2: Research how your skills and metrics compare to where athletes who ended up committing to D1, D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO were their junior year
Get a junior year evaluation from any of the following sources:Attending the camp of a college you’re interested in
A skills instructor that you trust
Your high school and/or club coach
A showcase/combine organization
Now that you’re at an age where it’s becoming common for athletes to start committing to colleges, it will be easier to compare yourself to their ability level and metrics and further refine your college search.
Much like your sophomore year, you should be researching the following:The current measurables, stats, and ability level of athletes your age who are committing their junior year – how do your numbers compare?
The junior-year measurables, stats, and ability level of athletes who are committing their senior year to schools of all divisions – how do your numbers compare?
In regards to the second example above, a junior football cornerback with a 4.70 40-yard dash might find out that athletes who committed their senior year to a D2 program had an average 40-yard dash of 4.60 their senior year but a 4.70 their junior year.
This would let them know that they are currently on a trajectory to be a D2 football player and thus, should be reaching out to predominantly D2 football programs. Of course, they could make a huge leap in ability level and open up some D1 doors, but you want to make sure you are spending your time wisely on the recruiting trail.
UPDATE YOUR FAVORITES LIST OF COLLEGES WITH YOUR BRX RECRUITING CHARTStep 1: Review your evaluation feedback
Step 2: Update your target, stretch, and fall-back schools
Step 3: Make sure there are 30-50 schools listed on your BRX Recruiting Chart
Make sure you take your evaluation feedback seriously and update the schools on your list accordingly:Target schools: schools that are a good match for your ability level
Stretch schools: schools that are slightly (not extremely) above your ability level
Fall-back schools: schools slightly below your ability level or you have low interest in
If you don’t have at least 30 schools total, add the necessary number now. You never know who will look a lot more appealing once they start showing interest in you. NEVER write off a school that shows interest in you, even if they’re on your fall back list or not on your list at all; you want to keep as many doors open as possible.
REVIEW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND DELETE ANY INAPPROPRIATE MATERIALStep 1: Review your social media archives
Step 2: Delete any inappropriate material – even if it’s borderline inappropriate
Not much to say about this besides the obvious: review all of your social media content since you created your accounts and delete anything that could pass as even borderline harmful or inappropriate.
MAKE SURE YOUR BRX DROPBOX FOLDER IS ORGANIZED AND HAS NEW VIDEOSStep 1: Make sure you have assessment and reassessment videos in your BRX Dropbox folder
- Step 2: Continue storing skill videos, game videos, and other helpful content for college coaches
If you’ve been with BRX since your freshman or sophomore year, you’ve already read that one of the first things coaches will ask for if they’re interested in you is for video that shows your skills. This could be general clips of your skills, game footage, or an edited recruiting video.
Coaches love seeing progress over time in their recruits; this shows that the athlete they are recruiting is on an upward trajectory. Assuming you’ve completed both an initial assessment and reassessment at BRX, giving the coaches you’re communicating with access to your BRX Dropbox Videos folder is a great way to show this upward trajectory.
Beyond the BRX assessment and reassessment videos, upload any of your own relevant videos and images that would be important during your communication with coaches. The more your content is in one central location, the easier it will be for coaches to evaluate you.
Lastly, make sure your folder is organized and viewer-friendly. If there are certain videos that should be deleted, makes sure you reach out to the BRX staff to have it completed.
CREATE A HIGHLIGHT AND/OR SKILLS VIDEOStep 1: Research what coaches in your sport want to see in a highlight/skills video
Step 2: Include links to your video in your communication with coaches
This recommendation piggy-backs off the previous checklist item. If you haven’t already, and depending on your sport, you’ll need to get a highlight or skills video created.
Before making one, make sure you research what coaches in your sport are looking for in a video. Some sports, like soccer and basketball, want to see several minutes of continuous game footage included in your video. Others, like baseball and softball, don’t usually ask for game footage.
Once you have your skills and/or highlight video, upload it into your BRX Dropbox folder, and include links to it in your communication updates with coaches on your BRX Recruiting Chart.
PREPARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR COACHES AND PREPARE FOR QUESTIONS THEY’LL ASK YOUStep 1: Study the Questions You Should Ask Coaches document in your BRX Recruiting Manual
Step 2: Study the Questions Coaches Will Ask You document in your BRX Recruiting Manual
One of the most exciting yet nerve wracking aspects of the recruiting process is speaking to a coach over the phone or in person during a visit. The fact that how you handle yourself in these situations is a huge component of the coach’s decision on whether or not they want to keep pursuing you makes it even more intense.
The best course of action? Preparation and practice.
We have prepared two comprehensive documents to facilitate this:
- Questions You Should Ask Coaches
- Questions Coaches Will Ask You
While these are by no means an exhaustive list that covers everything a coach could ever ask you, it’s a start and will get you 80% of the way there. Study these questions, revisit them often, and practice on one of your parents, and you’ll greatly improve your communication with coaches over the phone or in person.
CONTINUE REACHING OUT TO SCHOOLS YOU’RE INTERESTED INStep 1: Send updates to coaches you’ve already sent packets to; PERSONALIZE EVERYTHING!
Step 2: Log all communication in your BRX Recruiting Chart
If you have not yet read the freshman and sophomore guides on how to communicate with coaches and what to send them (i.e. Introductory Packet and Questionnaire), make sure you read it before moving on. Long story short: go above and beyond to personalize each message you send a coach. 10 personalized messages will have far greater impact that 100 generic copy-and-paste emails.
Each time a season and/or school year ends, send one-page updates to coaches you have been in contact with to keep them posted on your progress and athletic development.
Make sure you log all communication – both outgoing and incoming – in your BRX Recruiting Chart so you know who you have contacted, who you need to follow up with, etc.
It bears repeating: the vast majority of coaches you send emails to are extremely busy and will not respond. Remember this: all it takes is one. Stay persistent!
ATTEND CAMPS, SHOWCASES, AND COMBINES – AND LET COACHES KNOW BEFOREHANDStep 1: Decide whether your focus is to develop your skills or get recruited
Step 2: Through your own research and/or coach recommendations, create a list of camps
Step 3: Prioritize camps that will help what you chose in Step 1
Step 4: Reach out to college coaches prior to attending to introduce yourself
Step 5: Follow up soon afterwards to thank them
If you read our recruiting resource College Coach Q&A, it’s pretty clear that attending the camp of a school you’re interested in is one of the best – if not best – way to get a coach’s attention. Here is Yale Lacrosse coach Andy Shay on the importance of camps (which they call “prospect day”):
“The best way to be seen by our coaching staff is to come to our prospect day [camp]. Really, it’s the only way that you can guarantee that we’ll see you. Unfortunately, there will be 100 kids at our prospect day and a large portion of those players aren’t going to end up here. That’s just the reality of recruiting. But, if you do show up to our prospect day, it’s a guarantee that we will see you and be able to evaluate your chances of playing at Yale.”
With that said, not all camps are created equal. Some camps are run by scouting organizations (with no coaches in attendance), while others are run by college coaches themselves on their own campus. Some are geared more towards improving your skills than getting yourself evaluated.
When deciding on camps, ask yourself the golden question below:
Are my skills good enough to get recruited?
- If YES: focus on camps at colleges where you get in front of the coaching staff
- If NO: focus on camps that help develop your skills (could still be at colleges, though)
Talk to coaches, camp organizers, and anyone else that might help you figure out what the camp is geared towards.
Once you’ve decided what’s important to you and compiled a list of camps, prioritize them in order of what will help you the most. Then it’s time to get the camp(s) on your schedule!
One last but extremely important point: reach out to the coaches who will be in attendance before the camp begins to send a short, personalized message that shows your interest in their program. Send a short thank-you email soon after the camp concludes, too.
TAKE UNOFFICIAL VISITSStep 1: Schedule unofficial visits to schools you’re interested in
Step 2: Reach out to coaches beforehand and follow up soon after with a thank you
What’s the difference between “unofficial visits” and “official visits?”
- Unofficial = you pay for your visit and travel expenses; can happen any year in HS
- Official = school pays for your visit and travel expenses; only happens senior year of HS
We’ll talk more about “official” visits with the senior year guide, but for now, it’s time to start scheduling unofficial visits to the schools that are highest on your list.
These visits can be facilitated by one of the coaches or by yourself. If it’s being facilitated by the coach, they’ll likely bring up scheduling an unofficial visit at some point during your recruitment if they’ve been actively pursuing you for a considerable amount of time.
If you are not being actively recruited yet, don’t panic! It’s totally fine to schedule a visit yourself to tour the campus and facilities. Reach out to the campus admissions department to get all of your questions answered about scheduling an unofficial visit.
Important note: even if you orchestrated the visit yourself, still send the coach a short email a week or two before your visit to notify them that you’ll be visiting the campus; you might be surprised by how many coaches will reply once you have shown the initiative to schedule the visit yourself.
TAKE THE ACT OR PSATStep 1: Schedule it for your junior year so you have time to re-take it if you want a better score
Step 2: Send your scores to the NCAA eligibility center with code 9999 or NAIA with code 9876
It’s time for the dreaded standardized test!
Most athletes take the exam their junior year to make sure they have time to re-take the exam if they aren’t completely happy with their score.
Once you finish taking the exam, be sure to send your scores to the NCAA eligibility center with code 9999 and/or the NAIA eligibility center with code 9876.
GET YOUR FINANCIAL AID IN ORDERStep 1: Fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov
Step 2: Complete preliminary research on financial aid opportunities before counselor meeting
Here are two things many athletes and families aren’t aware of before the recruiting process begins - and sometimes during its entirety.
- Most sports are “equivalency sports:” scholarships cover between 25-60% of tuition
- There is ample opportunity for scholarships and grants to reduce the financial burden
Look at sites like studentscholarshipsearch.com and bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarshipsearch to look for potential financial aid opportunities.
Taking the time to look into the opportunities mentioned above will make your junior-year meeting with your school guidance counselor much more efficient.
REVIEW ACADEMIC PROGRESS AND FINANCIAL AID WITH YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELORStep 1: Come prepared with BRX Recruiting Chart and financial aid opportunity research
Step 2: Make sure you’re on track and that your test scores were sent to eligibility centers
Making sure you’re on track with your courses and keeping your school guidance counselor updated with your college search and favorites should be a yearly practice. Beginning with your junior year, open up the discussion to include a conversation about your financial aid opportunities.