6 steps all recruits must take to play college sports

By Taylor Lydon | Posted 4/26/2018

The recruiting process can be very confusing. But here are the six fundamental stages that all athletes must go through in order to be successfully recruited. This post is provided by Positive Coaching Alliance’s partner, Field Level, a social network for sports recruiting and scouting. To find more resources around recruiting and what college programs are looking for head to pcadevzone.org!

Here's Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy, who played collegiately at the University of Texas, talking about the recruiting process:


1. You must be identified. 

Have college coaches heard about you? Do they know you want to play in college? 

The first step is getting on a college coach’s radar. This can happen in a variety of ways, ranging from being seen in person while you are playing, getting recommended directly by your coach, or being discovered through news stories and social networks. 

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2. You must be evaluated

Have college coaches seen you play in person or viewed your highlight video? Have they contacted your coaches?

In this stage, college coaches are assessing your abilities and gathering information about you. Beyond playing abilities, they are trying to learn about you as a person and if you’re a fit for their program.

3. You must be engaged

Have college coaches contacted you personally? Have you been invited to or taken an official or unofficial campus visit? 

This is when college coaches begin contacting you and your family directly. Depending on your sport and the time of year, college coaches may be limited in the amount of communication they have with you and the ways in which they may do so.

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4. You must be offered

Have coaches offered you a scholarship, partial scholarship, or walk-on offer? 

This is when college coaches offer you a valid playing opportunity at the next level, though it can be presented in a variety of ways.

5. You become committed

Have you verbally committed to a college that has made you an offer? 

After you’ve been offered, this is when you make a verbal commitment to one school. This is not legally binding, and you can still change your mind. Note: Not all athletes choose to make a verbal commitment and instead wait to sign (see below). 

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6. You become signed

Have you signed a National Letter of Intent or something similar with a college?

When you sign a National Letter of Intent, it is a legally binding agreement to play for a college team. This is the final step in the recruiting process.