Two recruiting traits every college coach looks for in an athlete

College coaches all across the country in their respective sports are recruiting to fulfill their roster needs, and are recruiting athletes that fit their philosophies, coaching style, and a variety of other recruiting identifiers that might be unique to the individual coach. However, every college coach wants two things on their roster — or they at least check-in on two important recruiting traits.

Grades and character are the two things each college coach will take a close look at when recruiting athletes, and most times the coaches will make this checkmark one and two when they start evaluating a player.

Why are grades and character so important in the recruiting process?

Grades can make or break an athlete’s college recruitment, and they are the single most important thing for an athlete trying to earn a scholarship. Look at the image — you’ll see how GPA can increase or decrease the number of schools a recruit is eligible to attend. If you a recruit doesn’t have the grades, they won’t play. Simple enough.

“An athlete’s grades play a major role in whether or not we target them as a potential recruit. We can’t take the risk of having a non-qualifier,” says a Division One Men’s Basketball Coach.

RecruitLook Scouts talk with college coaches daily. We are always trying to help RecruitLook athletes get more college recruiting exposure, and the most common question we hear after a coach seems interested: What are their grades like? College coaches don’t want to deal with athletes that have bad grades. There are plenty of high school recruits out there with good grades that have similar playing abilities for a coach to recruit.

Just as having bad grades makes you less attractive as a recruit, having good grades makes you more attractive. Good grades means you are less risky when it comes to being and staying eligible. College coaches want athletes that they can graduate and help the team GPA. Plus, having good grades means you are intelligent, and intelligent people are easier to coach and can quickly master the playbook.

“Our school has strict academic requirements that we must follow. Grades to us are just as important as speed and size. We eliminate recruits off the top if they have bad grades,” says a Division One Football Coach.

What does it mean when coaches recruit ‘character’?

College coaches are relying on 18-22 year olds for job security. Let that sink in. How many other professions does such a young demographic play such an important role in the success of the person in charge?

Coaching at the collegiate level is a difficult and stressful profession. The pressure to win is enormous, and even winning will sometimes get a coach fired — coaches either didn’t win enough, or were forced out due to negative public relations within the program.

The quickest way for a coach to get let go is negative PR. Therefore, it’s important that coaches are bringing in recruits that they believe are high-character kids. A coach wants players that they can trust to represent the school in a positive manner. Playing abilities and skills are always going to get a coach’s attention, but being a recruit that is a good person can certainly boost their recruiting stock.

Being a college athlete is no joke — morning weights, morning practice, class, afternoon film session, evening study hall, and then do it all over again. That is a lot of responsibility for a young man or woman to handle, and a college coach doesn’t want to have to worry that their athletes are missing any of it.

Another reason character is important to coaches is the amount of time an athlete and coach spend together. In season, the responsibilities of an athlete intensify — more practices, more film room sessions, travel to road games, and the list goes on. What were getting at here is college coaches spend a lot of time with their athletes. They’ll want athletes that can get along with others and will stay out of trouble. A coach is going to want to avoid any headaches…it’ll make their job easier.

College coaches are going to recruit differently and have tangibles that they look at in each recruit, of course; however, every college coach will feel more comfortable with a recruit that is good in the classroom and a good all-around person.

Athletes, increase your recruiting stock — make sure you are doing the right things to help yourself.

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