Long-time recruiting observer Greg Biggins offers his top five ways to get recruited.
1. Be Proactive
Do not assume that just because you made an all-league team as a junior that you're automatically going to be recruited at a high college level. Do all you can to promote yourself as much as possible. Make a bio sheet with stats and honors and include your academic info, as well. Put together a nice, clean highlight tape or even post your video on YouTube.com and include that link on the bio sheet. Send that off to as many colleges as you can. If one of your high school coaches can get involved, have him write a recommendation on the bio sheet. That's a huge help.
2. The Highlight Tape
Your tape can make or break you. Tapes don't need to be longer than five minutes. College coaches receive so many tapes that they don't have time to sit and watch for an hour. They need to see something on the tape right away to keep their attention, so put your very best plays at the beginning. You will also want to add a full game tape at the end of the film, as college coaches will need that if they are interested after viewing your highlights. Make sure the tape is good quality and not too grainy. If you play a position other than one that handles the ball -- e.g. QB, RB, WR -- try to use an arrow or circle to identify yourself before each play. Again, if a coach cannot see the numbers on the jerseys, he has no way of identifying who he's supposed to be watching.
3. Be Honest and Accurate
It has become commonplace to grossly inflate or exaggerate numbers when making a bio sheet for stats, honors and especially heights and weights. Be honest in your assessment and trust that the body of work is enough to get you noticed. A college coach will find out easily enough what the true numbers are and, if it appears they were fudged, the coach may think you have something to hide and will question your integrity.
4. Hit the Camp Circuit
If you're a below-the-radar player, camps and combines are a great way to increase exposure. If you're a player who already has offers, camps are still great to test yourself to see where you stand among other elite players. Going to as many one-day college camps as you can is another great way to be seen. This can be costly, but the benefits can be huge. College coaches are going to offer more scholarships based on junior film and camp performance over anything else, so get yourself out there.
5. Be Realistic
Not everyone can play for USC, Texas or Florida. Shoot for the stars, of course, but also understand that a small percentage of players who play high school football will move on to college. An even smaller number of players will sign with a BCS school. Do not burn any bridges and big-time some of the smaller schools that are showing interest. Fill out and return every questionnaire you get from a colleges, even if it is from a school you currently do not have any interest in. The last thing you want to do is blow off some of the smaller schools that are recruiting you in hopes of landing an offer from one of the big schools, an offer that might not come.
Greg Biggins has been covering West Coast football recruiting for 14 years. He's also responsible for player personnel for the NIKE Camps and helps with the selection process for the Elite 11 QB Camp.