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The Recruiting Funnel: How Do College Coaches Recruit?


The college recruiting process has many moving parts as all college coaches recruit and evaluate prospects differently. It depends on their needs, the prospect’s grades, character, and athletic ability too.

However, there is a common approach that college coaches take in beginning to recruit a potential prospect, to evaluating a prospect, and eventually recruiting a prospect before offering them…thus hoping the prospect commits then signs with their program.  It will help you answer ‘How Do College Coaches Recruit”?  It’s unofficially called: The Recruiting Funnel.

  1. The process is started when a college coach receives a profile and intro email from a student-athlete or reliable source, such as RecruitLook or a coach.
  2. The college coach, at their discretion, can then respond with a link to their online recruiting questionnaire to put you in their database of prospects and/or send you an invite to one of their on-campus camps.
  3. The college coach will determine the need for a prospect based on parameters they have implemented within their program and discuss as a staff their needs for each recruiting class.
  4. If a college coach keeps communication with you, you then provide them full video and/or game schedule for them to monitor your progress and determine if they want to begin recruiting you.
  5. A college coach can then call you to begin dialogue about your interest in their program/school first before recruiting you to become apart of their program.
  6. A college coach will then schedule time(s) to come to a game to scout you and see if you are a good fit for their program.
  7. Finally, a college will then invite you on campus to talk with them, see their facilities, attend a game, or workout with the team.
  8. From there, a college coach continues to evaluate whether or not to offer a prospect.  In most cases, a subsequent request to commit to their program ensues.

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As you can see, there are many steps a college coach must take to determine who is and isn’t a good fit for their specific athletic program. Based on the shape of the funnel: More profiles are received than requests for game film/schedules…then more phone calls are made than invites to visit campuses.   Do the math.  Even less offers are made to prospects.

It just doesn’t always happen out of nowhere.  You can’t just expect to be seen or found.   It takes a lot of work from all angles and it doesn’t happen over night.

The Recruiting Funnel is different for every sport, but to highlight the numbers, we want to show you how a Division One football program utilizes the Recruiting Funnel:

  • College coaches send 15,000 letters to potential prospects.
  • Coaches will watch 1,000-2,000 highlight tapes.
  • 500-1,000 get invited to camps.
  • 500 get phone calls from coaches
  • 250-500 are somewhere on the recruiting radar for the coaching staff.
  • 125-250 are getting closely recruited (but you have no idea what 125-250 that is).
  • 75-150 verbal scholarship offers will be extended.
  • 60-75 get invited on official visits.
  • 40-60 are on the “hot list”, which means the coaching staff wants them the most.
  • 20 or so sign a letter of intent to that school.

*This is the recruiting funnel for a division one football program, so you can adjust the numbers accordingly to get an idea of the recruiting funnel for your sport.  Football probably sends out the most information to recruits because they typically have the biggest recruiting budget.

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