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Colleges won't just come knocking at your door, but there are some things potential recruits can do to get noticed - and it begins in Jr. High.

It is important to first understand that recruiting prospective student-athletes for college sports programs has become highly regulated by the NCAA. Persons affiliated in any way with a college program are restrained by strict rules limiting their contact with high school players. Do not believe the MYTH that “scouts” are sitting in the stands watching you make plays and following your activities on their own. College coaches cannot jeopardize their ability to recruit or the success of their programs by violating these rules. THEY DON’T DO IT! These rules and regulations have also placed tremendous limitations on the time available for college football coaches to search for possible recruits. Because of this situation, college coaches will look first to high school programs that produce the best student-athletes as recruits. Therefore your success will help your teammates and their success will help you not only on the playing field but also in the recruiting process as well.

Most parents and players are probably not aware that the recruiting process actually begins in Middle School when you select courses for your first year at Covington High School. The DECISIONS that you make then about your class work and academic performance begin to determine your high school academic record. Therefore, PREPARE yourself in middle school for the more difficult academics in high school. Your behavior, attitude, work ethic, and performance in all of your classes are evaluated and reported on your records that eventually comprise your official transcript.

All prospective college student-athletes must meet minimum academic standards for the NCAA initial eligibility requirements at NCAA member institutions. These requirements are certain to change and become higher and more rigorous. Your potential as a college student-athlete is tremendously enhanced by your success as a student along with similar success as a good citizen and leader in high school. Academics, citizenship, and leadership are more important now than they ever were for prospective college student-athletes.

Most colleges require more than minimum high school academic performance to admit a student. Do not burden yourself with poor academic performance and substandard conduct. If you are having difficulty, seek help early. Colleges and college coaches place tremendous significance on your academic record and credentials. Your GPA, class rank, and PSAT, ACT, SAT test scores weigh heavily in the recruiting process. The better your academic credentials, the more options you will have. These numbers matter and can most help student-athletes and their families. College admission officers and coaches also closely examine the courses taken during high school. Successful performance in a challenging curriculum with honors, advanced and difficult courses is a tremendous asset to earn in high school.

Covington High School also requires academic performance and good behavior from its student-athletes. DECIDE not to have academic and behavior problems that will cause you to have athletic problems. We will not compromise, neither academically nor behaviorally – regardless of your athletic skills. You are useless to your team and wasting your athletic efforts if you choose to misbehave or shirk your schoolwork and become ineligible for athletic competition. You will not get the opportunity to play college sports with a poor record and history in high school for bad behavior and poor academic work.

If you are privileged enough to play college sports, you cannot yet imagine the workload that you will face. You must learn how to manage your time, work habits, and academic performance. Make a commitment now to develop successful academic habits through excellent study routines, a strong work ethic, and efficient use of your time.

Like athletics itself, college recruiting involves teamwork. Your RECRUITING TEAM consists of you (the Student-Athlete), and your Parents, Guidance Counselors, Teachers, School Administrators and Staff, Community, and Coaches. If you think you can succeed without the support and effort of all of your RECRUITING TEAM, YOU WILL FAIL! Everyone has a role and you must earn and ask for their help in order to succeed.

Our goal at Covington High School is to provide our student-athletes with the opportunity to succeed. We provide a rigorous strength and conditioning program that is second-to-none to help accomplish this goal. It is a critical component to our ability to be competitive and ultimately successful on game nights and it is also important to college recruiting because college coaches want to know about your strength, speed, and work habit. Our strength and conditioning program and its records allows us to be candid and honest with college coaches when we talk to them about you. IT IS IMPORTANT both now and for your future success as a student-athlete.

Proper NUTRITION is also essential to the overall success of a student-athlete. Parents, please be sure to monitor your child’s diet. The nutritional requirements for competitive athletes in training are phenomenal. It is a scientifically proven fact that an athlete will not achieve their top performance without a nutritionally balanced diet and adequate rest. Since performance plays such a big part in your overall recruitment, there can be no compromises made in this area.

Choosing a college can be a difficult decision whether you are a scholarship or non-scholarship athlete. Therefore it is helpful to first evaluate colleges and their athletic programs that fit your own terms and criteria. Part of this process is making an honest assessment of your own skill level and athletic performance capabilities. From there make a list of colleges that potentially fit you and where you fit best. Plan to make college visits at these schools in order to see the academic and campus life situations there. (This is especially important for juniors). PARENTS, think about spending your spring break visiting colleges with your child as an important step in his education. These visits should be communicated to and coordinated with the college’s sports program so that you can “drop in” to meet college coaches and see facilities. These visits are crucial to the process of establishing yourself as a bona-fide recruit with interest in a college. Plan to spend a whole day, early morning to evening, at the schools you visit. Take the tour that almost all colleges offer to prospective students. Visit admissions and financial aid offices to get the latest forms and applicable information for your situation.

There is a wide variety of college programs that range in size from NCAA Division I-A (Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, Bowling Green), Division I-AA (Youngstown State, Dayton), Division II (Ashland), Division III (Mount Union, Wittenberg) and NAIA colleges, (Walsh).

Student-athletes and families must take an honest look at the level of talent at each college and see if you fit into that level of competition and academics. Not every player can play at every college – some schools will not admit anything but the top academic students, regardless of their skill. It is important to HONESTLY assess your ability to play at the various levels mentioned previously, but it is also important to not underestimate yourself as well.

NCAA Division I-A and I-AA can only offer full scholarships in athletics. NCAA Division II and NAIA schools can offer partial scholarships. Most student-athletes at these colleges will get a portion of their education paid for. NCAA Division III colleges are not permitted to provide funds for athletic scholarships. The Ivy League universities (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc…), which play at the Division I-AA level, do not award athletic scholarships. The same is true for universities such as, the University of Dayton, which are in the category of NCAA Division I-AA Non-Scholarship.

Be aware that funding a college education through athletic ability is a most difficult achievement. However, you may be eligible for some degree of financial aid. Academic success can also provide an avenue for funding a college education through various grants and scholarships. Parents, spend time discussing what your child wants and the different opportunities that are available to him/her. Then communicate with colleges about your options and financial aid beyond athletic grants.

Check out your list of college websites, and the following websites for the NCAA and NAIA as well.

Once you have prepared academically and athletically and are participating in games at the varsity level, it is time to initiate contact with the colleges and universities on your list. Write and send a letter to the head coach at each college that interests you. It should be direct and simple asking the coach to consider you as a recruit. If you do not know or have not accomplished the following items, get these done and answered at each college as soon as possible after your first contact:

  • Ask to be put on their contact list
  • Inquire about their summer camp programs
  • Ask for the name, address and telephone number of their coach that has recruiting responsibility in our area
  • Find out the college’s position coach for your position
  • Be sure to get e-mail and fax contact information
  • Include a transcript of your academic record, your strength and conditioning situation, and any awards/distinctions you have earned
  • Find out to whom and where to send tapes by FedEx, UPS Next Day, etc…
  • Be sure of your grammar and spelling of names, NO MISTAKES!

When you talk or communicate with college coaches be prepared. Know beforehand what questions you want answered and what concerns you and your parents wish to address. Have your action plan ready for coaches on your list and for any college or coach that may make first contact with you. During the NCAA authorized, limited contact periods, time is precious and scheduling calls is hectic. Ask the college coaches and familiarize yourself with NCAA recruiting rules so you will know what to expect about contact from them. College coaches have procedures, within the rules, that allow you to keep your communication open with them – use them.

Be sure to coordinate your actions with your coaches and guidance counselors at Covington High School so that we also can prepare to talk with the colleges about you. Much of the information about colleges can be found on the internet, but do not shy away from direct contact with the coaches. Obtain admission information and familiarize your self with those dates and procedural requirements.

Meet with and talk to your teachers and guidance counselors as you work on college applications. Have them ready for the college and the college coach. Keep your RECRUITING TEAM informed and “in the loop” as you move forward. If you are not confident, seek help from your RECRUITING TEAM for this critical part of the football recruiting process.

Register with the NCAA clearinghouse at:

See additional information at:

After your initial contact, most colleges will send you forms and questionnaires for you to fill out and return to them for their records. ALWAYS RESPOND WITHIN ONE WEEK (the next day is best) to these requests. Include your most recent grade card or transcript copies along with your strength and conditioning information (DO NOT EXAGERATE OR ENHANCE YOUR STATISTICS – BE TRUTHFUL) and a personal note with your level of interest in this school. Of course, your interest in each school that you communicate with is extremely high until you make your final decision!

MAKE SURE to proofread all of your written correspondence with the colleges and the college coaches. Grammar, Neatness, and Legibility matter.

If you are a SENIOR and do not have a college offer at the beginning of your senior season, you should send individual tapes with the best plays from the current season’s prior games and your best game tape as soon as possible (no later than after the fourth week of the season) to the colleges on your list. Coordinate this effort with your RECRUITING TEAM. REMEMBER, you will be on a tape at most of the colleges to which you send tape, whether you send it or someone else sends one for himself. Your GOAL is to be on YOUR highlight tape not your opponents.

When sending tapes, be sure to do all of the following:

  • Call the college for EXACT shipping instructions
  • Write and enclose a cover letter to the position or recruiting coach from the college
  • Attach a copy of your transcript of your official record from Covington High School.
  • Attach copies of your PSAT, SAT, ACT, and most recent report card if they are not on your transcript already
  • E-mail the college coach to let him know videotape is on the way
  • Call the college coach to let him know when it will arrive
  • Use FedEx next day, UPS next day, or Overnight USPS and “track” the package
  • Follow up with a fax, e-mail, or phone call to ask the college coach about your tape
  • Update and send updated tapes and information as the season progresses

PLAN and PREPARE for visits during your senior season. Colleges will encourage you to come in for a weekend and visit in an unofficial capacity VISIT IF YOU CAN. Many recruits make their deal with the coach well before the senior season ends or before the senior season starts. DO NOT HESITATE to talk about your situation even if the college coach goes negative. It is better to know where to focus your efforts. “Official Visits” though flattering are almost meaningless. Try to take care of your situation as early in the process as possible.

Be sure that you understand the “commitment” process. Know what each college can do, when they can “make offers,” what their offer will be, what you must do, when you can and must finally decide and commit. It is not the same for the different divisions and between NCAA and NAIA colleges.

Work on your applications – eventually you will have to fill out and submit application information. The timeline may be different for recruited athletes at a particular college. Some colleges will have you send your application to the college coach recruiting you. KNOW WHAT IS REQUIRED.

Most college coaches want to make a visit to meet your family. If you have already visited the college, it may not be necessary if your parents were on the visit with you. In any case, BE PREPARED to meet with a coach that may visit you here. If you or your family are not comfortable meeting with college coaches, talk to your high school coaches, we will help you get ready. The contact period for these kinds of visits by college coaches is very limited and you can prepare for them so that you will be ready to make that great – and lasting – first impression.

This process is similar for JUNIORS. As a junior you should be in contact with colleges during your junior season. The difference is that senior student-athletes without offers from a college, will have priority and it is crucial for seniors to have the tape in the college coaches’ hands as outlined above.

During your junior academic year, it is an excellent tactic to deliver a tape to the college coach when you make a visit or at least send tape if you are not planning to make a visit before or during spring break. It is important to have your tape to colleges before the summer camp decisions are firm. A good tape will help you with the colleges during the camp experience. Your goal as a junior is to be on everybody’s recruiting “radar.”

It is important to understand that college recruiting can be a long and frustrating process. Colleges are looking for the best fit for them, and you are looking for the best fit for you. PARENTS, please take part in this process. Remember it takes more than athletic ability for college coaches to recruit you within their operational time limits. Many excellent, talented student-athletes are very disappointed because they received little or no recruiting by few or no coaches. This result is often due to lack of preparation and lack of knowledge and understanding of college recruiting.

Our goal at Covington High School is to help you develop, prepare and execute a “recruiting game plan” and work hard as part of your RECRUITING TEAM to help you reach your goals. You must do a lot of work, achieve top-notch credentials and records and be a true student-athlete to be noticed by the right coaches.

A coach’s interest determines your chances of receiving a scholarship at his college or in the case of extremely selective institutions such as those in the Ivy League, your chances of admission to these universities. You must understand that there may be times that your choices don’t work out. Learning to deal with adversity is part of life. It is not a failure because you cannot control the outcome of every situation. You can only control what you do to prepare yourself. Therefore, it is important to PREPARE the best that you can both academically and athletically.

You must be the kind of player on this team, and on any other team that wants to have the best players on the field at all times in our games. Your challenge is to be that best player in your position. Your position coach and coordinators have goals and objectives that they want you to attain and accomplish. Your teachers have similar goals and objectives in their classrooms. Work with all of your teachers and coaches to give what they expect of you and deliver the performance that is required to earn your spot on the field and the best possible academic work. Remember to always have excellent quality in your conduct as a member of the community, and never compromise or diminish your opportunities as a student-athlete here as a Buccaneer or later in the college you choose to attend.

We know that the academic skills that you build here at Covington High School will enhance your opportunities to be a college student-athlete. We believe these same skills will help you regardless of your athletic plans. Whatever your choice, we will support your decision as best as we can. Your hard work and efforts in the classroom, in the community, and on the field will make it easy for us to support your goals.

Good Luck and Go BUCCS!!!