BRX RECRUITING | SOPHOMORE YEAR GUIDE
Important note: this checklist is assuming you have reviewed and completed our BRX Freshman Year Checklist and Guide. If you are a sophomore, 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 Sophomore Year Checklist and Sophomore Year Guide below.
GET ANOTHER EVALUATION AND RESEARCH HOW COACHES ARE RECRUITING
- Step 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 sophomore year
We mentioned in the freshman year guide that getting an honest evaluation of where you stand can give you more of an idea of where to spend your time with your college coach outreach.
With that said, things change each year. Growth spurts, significant improvements in ability level, and much more can drastically change what schools are at, above, and below your current ability level.
This is why it’s important to get an evaluation of your abilities each year – not just your freshman year. Get a sophomore 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
Simultaneously, you should be researching the following:
- The current measurables, stats, and ability level of athletes your age who committed their freshman or sophomore year – how do your numbers compare?
- The sophomore-year measurables, stats, and ability level of athletes who are committing their junior or senior year to schools of all divisions – how do your numbers compare?
In regards to the second example above, a sophomore football cornerback with a 4.80 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 4.80 their sophomore 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 CHART
- Step 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.
CHECK ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS OF FAVORITES; MEET WITH GUIDANCE COUNSELOR
- Step 1: Take a close look at the entrance requirements of your top schools
- Step 2: Meet with your guidance counselor to make sure you’re on the right track
Although you don’t have to take an extremely close look at the entrance requirements of every single school on your list, spend a little extra time looking into the schools that seem like the best fit for you.
Meet with your guidance counselor to give them updates on where you’re at with the recruiting process and to ask if there’s anything they think you should be doing to put yourself in the best academic standing possible to get into the school of your choice.
REVIEW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND DELETE ANY INAPPROPRIATE MATERIAL
- Step 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 VIDEOS
- Step 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 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.
CREATE YOUR INTRODUCTORY PACKET: COVER LETTER + ATHLETE PROFILE
- Step 1: Create a cover letter template that can be personalized to each school
- Step 2: Create an athlete profile, AKA a one-page “athletic resume”
The introductory packet is what we recommend sending via regular mail and again via email if you do not hear back within 3-4 weeks of the initial mailed version.
Look at it this way: coaches’ inboxes are flooded with hundreds of emails from prospective recruits – per day! When you’re trying to get a coach’s attention, your goal should be to do what most athletes aren’t doing:
- Personalizing all communication in a meaningful way that shows your dedication
- Taking the time to send a physical copy of your most important documents
Doing these two things won’t guarantee you’ll get a response, but it will undoubtedly increase your chances of making an impression on the coach by standing out above the noise.
The introductory packet is two one-page items: a cover letter that expresses your interest in the school and your athlete profile, which can be thought of as an “athletic resume.”
For the cover letter, refer back to the initial reach-out email from the end of the Freshman Year Guide. While not exactly the same, the format should be similar.
For the athlete profile, check out the resources section of this manual for an example template.
SEND INTRODUCTORY PACKET TO ALL SCHOOLS AND SCALE UP YOUR COMMUNICATION
- Step 1: Send your introductory packet to schools on your list; PERSONALIZE EVERYTHING!
- Step 2: Log all communication in your BRX Recruiting Chart
If you have not yet read the freshman year guide on how to communicate with coaches, make sure you read it before moving on.
Send your introductory packet via regular mail to all schools on your list. If you do not hear back within 3-4 weeks, send the same content via email to follow up.
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.
Again, 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!
CREATE YOUR OWN QUESTIONNAIRE
- Step 1: Create a one-page questionnaire to save you time from filling out 30-50 individual ones
- Step 2: Send to college coaches – but still ask if they want you to fill out their own
Every college will have their own questionnaire on their school website that helps them gather information from prospective recruits in the following areas:
- Personal and family information
- Academic information
- Athletic information
The problem with every school having their own questionnaire means potentially filling out 30- 50 different questionnaires – an extremely time consuming process.
To save yourself time, create your own questionnaire that you’ll be able to send to multiple schools. Send the questionnaire to colleges if they respond to your introductory packet or if they do not respond to you sending the emailed version within 3-4 weeks (6-8 weeks of your mailed version)
One caveat: there might be a chance that college coaches only look at the database of athletes who fill out their school questionnaire. When you send your questionnaire to a coach, make sure you always ask if they want you to fill out their own in addition to the one you’re sending. That way you can increase the chances that your information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
ATTEND CAMPS, SHOWCASES, AND COMBINES – AND LET COACHES KNOW BEFOREHAND
- Step 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 THE PSAT OR AN ACT PRACTICE EXAM
- Step 1: Look into the ACT and SAT websites, Khan Academy, and SparkNotes
- Step 2: Take a practice exam to find out your improvement areas
It’s well known that having a good ACT or SAT score is a necessary component to getting into many schools. What’s less known is how many resources there are that can help you prepare for these exams before you actually take them your junior year.
Consider taking a practice exam or course – not only will this help reduce your nerves on the actual testing day, it will also help you identify the areas you need to focus on between the practice exam and real thing.