Ask Bryan

Welcome to the Ask Bryan page. Ask me any question you want about the recruiting process or about college athletic programs.

I will answer every question. Don’t be shy, there are probably other recruits or parents who have similar questions. If you ask a great question, one that merits a longer response, I may use it in a blog post. If you feel it is a private question, ask via email and I will never post it publicly. I will honor your privacy.

There are three ways to contact me:

1. Leave a comment below.

2. On Facebook. Facebook is a great way to get other people involved in the conversation and learn from their experiences.

3. Email me at bryan.drotar@therecruitingcode.com

 

 

30 thoughts on “Ask Bryan

  • March 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm
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    Hello,
    My daughter is a soccer player and is currently looking at 3 Division 2 colleges and 1 Division 3 college in Texas. She is currently a Junior. The interest has been very good from all 4 schools but, I am not sure what to do if she gets an offer from one school before she has had a chance to fully explore them all. My instinct is to be totally honest and explain where we are in the process and that we are not ready to commit but, can they then “take it back”? How long would she have to decide and how should she continue to communicate? She has an ID camp with one of the schools this weekend. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • March 28, 2015 at 11:07 am
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      I am indebted to several Division 1 and Division 2 coaches for the following information.
      Division 1 and even Division 2 schools are making offers earlier and earlier. This is causes all sorts of problems for recruits and their families. High school sophomores and juniors are still trying figure out high school and all of a sudden they are being asked to make a mature decision about where to go to college.
      There is no right way to handle an offer when it comes because all coaches are different in their expectations, but here are a few tips to help you out.
      This is easy if this is your dream school and you are ready to accept.
      1. If you do receive a scholarship offer, you have to be honest with the coach.
      2. Let the coach know that you are not ready. Most coaches will work with the athlete. If they offered you a scholarship, they are interested in having you play for them.
      3. Some schools will wait for the athlete and some will give you a deadline. See it from their end, if they lose out on you they don’t want to lose out on the other players because they wait too long with you. There are a lot of moving parts that a coach is dealing with. Mistakes on their end or waiting too long on an athlete to commit could hurt their recruiting class.
      4. Ask questions of the coach. As you should be honest with them, they will be honest with you. Don’t assume anything. Again ask questions!
      5. All offers are verbal until the National Letter of Intent is signed. This does not happen until February of the senior year. If a coach offers you a verbal offer your sophomore year and then leaves the school, there is no guarantee the next coach will want you.
      a. To the best of your ability have a back up plan and don’t shut off other coaches too early.
      6. It is good for coaches to know what other schools are interested in you. It is up to you how specific to be. Competition in any environment causes people to work harder and often adjust numbers. It is the same with coaches who are competing for you. Don’t Lie! It will come back to bite you.
      7. Build a relationship with coaches and communicate with them. The better the relationship, the easier all of this is.
      I hope this helps you out.
      Thanks, Bryan

      Reply
  • April 24, 2015 at 6:54 pm
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    Hi Bryan,
    My son is a freshman in high school and went to a camp at a college prior to his freshman year and one over Christmas break. Both coaches asked about his grades and asked him to start sending them his grades. How is this done? Should he send an email with a report card, or wait till the end of his freshen year and send a transcript?
    Thank you for your book-I just finished it and I know it will be a great resource!
    Thanks for your feedback on my question above.
    Katie

    Reply
    • April 27, 2015 at 9:31 am
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      Katie,
      The coaches are not looking for a break down of transcripts this early. They simply want to know what your son’s GPA is. They want to make sure he is taking care of his academics. At the end of the freshmen year send the coaches his GPA. As he goes through high school, keep them updated. This provides accountability to your son. If he does not take care of his grades, the college coaches may not care to recruit him. When he is a junior and a senior they will want to make sure that his core GPA is high. A core GPA counts only the core subjects. It would not include p.e, music, art for example in the tabulation of the GPA. Many colleges measure GPA based on the core subjects only so non academic classes don’t skew the GPA.
      A side note: make sure your son is the one sending the emails!
      If you have a chance, please leave a review of the book at Amazon.
      Let me know if I can do anything else for you.
      Bryan

      Reply
  • May 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm
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    Hi Bryan,
    Thank you for all the helpful information! However, my 2 boys (ages 13 and 14) are American/German and attend an international school in Germany. They will be attending an ID camp at the University of Denver this summer, but I am not sure how else we should go about getting the attention of US scouts since we live abroad. Any advice? Thank you!

    Reply
    • May 19, 2015 at 7:52 am
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      With global communication I don’t think your sons will be at too much of a disadvantage. Going to an ID camp is fantastic. If you have the option of letting them come to the states to do one each year, that will really help. Just like athletes who live in the United States, the biggest key is to reach out consistently to coaches of schools that your sons are interested in (make sure they are the ones contacting the coaches). Posting videos of your sons playing on YouTube is important for you because coaches will not be able to attend their games. References of their current coaches would also be helpful. There are a lot of players on collegiate rosters who are from outside of the U.S. or are foreign born Americans.

      Reply
  • May 30, 2015 at 11:08 am
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    My son, an international student, has accepted an offer to play NCAA D2 tennis on a 50% scholarship at a top ten mid west University. He was really wanted a D1 slot at a Florida or California University but failed to secure any offers. How easy will it be to transfer after a year or two and what will he need to achieve tennis wise to do this?

    Reply
    • June 2, 2015 at 5:50 am
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      Archie,

      Thanks for the question. I got some help on this one from Division 1 tennis coach Mark Tjia. He said, “I think he would need to play #1 or #2 on his D II team and/or be ranked to be able to get an offer of some scholarship from a D I. He would need to get a release from his coach (which means letting the coach know you don’t plan on coming back) before he can even begin to have communications with another coach.”

      Personally, I would suggest that he focus on being the best D2 tennis player he can be and enjoy the experience at the school he is going to. I think chasing after a D1 scholarship after he already has a good place to go to school and play tennis will detract from his collegiate playing experience. D2 has a very high level of competition.

      It is very doubtful he will find anything more than a 50% scholarship for tennis. Even at D1 schools those are few and far between.
      Thanks,
      Bryan.

      Reply
  • July 21, 2015 at 6:40 pm
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    Im a u16 girls soccer player and have a college showcase coming up. My team is d3 in the area so we aren’t great, I am wanting to play in college but not sure how to contact the coaches for the tournament or what I should say.. I’ve never contacted college coaches before so I’m lost. I’m also wondering if I have a cabana of them even looking at me because my team is at a lower level..

    Reply
    • July 22, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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      There is a lot of hope for you. Not every college is looking only at players from the top club teams. The highest level of college coaches may not be looking at players from lower level teams, but there are hundreds of college coaches that would take a look at you if they knew that you existed and that you were interested in their school. Coaches may not come flocking to your games uninvited, but I would bet if you reached out and started relationships with several college coaches that a few would make the effort to see you play.
      The key is for you to be proactive and be confident to build relationships with college coaches. To help you know how to begin, I would recommend you read First Contact With A College Coach.
      Start now and consistently communicate with college coaches. Update them with your upcoming schedules. Include your team name, your number, dates and locations. With some effort (developing your soccer skills and marketing yourself) you can fulfill your dream of playing college soccer.

      Reply
  • July 21, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks so much for the helpful information on your site! My son is going to be a senior this year, and is just starting the process of contacting college baseball coaches. We have followed your advice for emails, and are including a link to a Youtube video of his catching highlights. So far, one junior college coach has called him based on seeing his video through a mutual friend, but none of the coaches he actually emailed have responded yet. How long does it usually take a coach to respond to the first email? Also, it seems as though pitchers are the players being watched and evaluated most at showcases and tournaments right now. Do catchers and other position players generally get contacted later, after the pitchers are recruited? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • July 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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      Thanks for the kind words. I think you are off to a good start. With your son going into his senior year, I would recommend for him to follow up the emails with phone calls. (“Coach ______, I sent you an email a couple weeks ago. I have not heard back from you and wanted to make sure you received it. I have researched “school name” and I am very interested in your program because…) This would be an appropriate starter to the phone call or voice mail. Help your son think through why he is interested in each specific school and program before he calls them. Sounding generic or like he doesn’t know much about the school and program does not make a good impression. Anything he can do to reach out and make personal connections will increase the probability coaches will respond. It might help to expand his field of search and level of programs he is looking at as well. Give him the encouragement to be persistent.
      A side note, if he were my son I would buy him a copy of The Go-Getter by Peter Kyne. It takes about 90 minutes to read. It is an inspiring story that shows people who really want something will go get it without excuse.
      As far as your questions about pitchers, I was not a baseball coach but I can guess that quality pitchers are harder to come by and are recruited more heavily by coaches. This is true in soccer with goal keepers. I am sure it transcends sports for the specialty positions.

      Reply
  • July 23, 2015 at 9:26 am
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    Thanks Bryan! Since I asked my last question, my son did receive a reply to one of his emails, so hopefully more will come soon. I have read the ‘The Go-Getter’ and I agree that is a great book! I will have to find it for him. Thanks again!

    Reply
  • August 23, 2015 at 5:51 am
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    Bryan, are there any differences in the way a homeschooled athlete needs to approach the recruiting process? (We have a son who is a U15 soccer player).

    Reply
    • August 25, 2015 at 7:27 am
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      Mike,
      Thanks for the question. It inspired an entire post. I hope it is helpful. If you need more information or ideas let me know.
      Bryan

      Reply
  • September 8, 2015 at 3:40 pm
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    Any advice for a student athlete considered EC? Who knew that my child with learning disabilities would turn out to be an awesome Varsity Goal Keeper for soccer as well as an all around kicker for the football team, capable hitting 50 yard field goals?
    Everyone tells me he is excellent and soneone should see what he is capable of. Frankly, we never considered college for him. He is borderline IQ at 70. He has a 3.75 GPA but most of his work is modified and I assume he would need to make up work to be on grade level. He is currently a junior.
    Would looking at a junior college even be a possibility in his case? I’ve heard about being red shirted. What does that mean as we also have a huge learning curve as this was never our plan for our son.

    Reply
  • December 2, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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    Hello, I am currently a junior and I get emails from coaches about camps but no responses on moving further. I send many emails. I do not know what to do next in the process to get the coaches to get me on their team and communicate more. Should I take an unofficial visit? What do I do next. Thanks

    Reply
    • December 21, 2015 at 10:49 am
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      The emails you are getting from coaches about camps are probably mass emails. Here are my two suggestions for you beyond the emails (keep that up).
      1. Call the coach directly. If it goes to voice mail, leave a message and call back a week later. Coaches are usually in their offices from 9am-12. Afternoon and evenings are hit and miss because of their own schedules and coaching.
      2. Reach out to different levels of schools. If you are only sending emails to Division 1, maybe they are not seeing what they want. Look at Divisions 2 and 3 as well as NAIA schools. See if you start getting responses.

      An unofficial campus visit is a good thing, but not unless you have made contact with the coach and visiting with the coaching staff is part of the visit. Otherwise you are wasting your time. You cannot just drop by their office when you are campus. This is unprofessional and they will not take you seriously.

      Thanks,
      Bryan

      Reply
  • December 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm
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    what if you want to play a sport in college but your priority is a college education can you still apply for their scholarships? or do you just walk on?

    Reply
  • December 23, 2015 at 8:34 am
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    Bryan,
    Thank you for your informative site.
    I came upon it when Googling for stories of athletes who have had successful college athletic experiences after overcoming horrible high school coaches. My son, now a Junior, plays basketball for his high school. He’s 6’6″ (and still growing), athletic, and a skilled basketball player, ranked top 3 in his class, just took the ACT’s and waiting for his scores (where we think he’s in the range of getting a very high score).
    In basketball, I don’t see my son through rose colored glasses (in fact, I’m harder and more demanding than anyone else).
    The team is comprised of parents who have or are basketball coaches or who have a long-term relationship with the coach. Needless to say, those kids are given preferential treatment. They start, they are allowed to play through their mistakes, and they are promoted in the media. (Mind you, this is a small town high school, with about 400 students total).
    Playing basketball in this team is not by merit. Unfortunately for my son, we don’t fit into any of the categories required to play, he gets shafted every time, has to play perfectly otherwise he immediately gets pulled (even gets pulled for the other players’ mistakes!, and often given the evil stare by the coach). We call him the invisible man on the team … he could play brilliantly but the coach never sees it. My son always must work against the coach’s “confirmation bias” .. always looking for my son to make a mistake.
    On the other hand, in his aau team (where all of his teammates also play), he starts, plays the entire time, scores double digits, and his aau coach nurtures his relationship with him to ensure he’ll come back next season.
    So, here’s my question … we understand getting recruited by a college, especially for basketball, is extremely competitive. On top of that, we have to deal with a HS coach who doesn’t support him. How do we deal with this in thinking about getting noticed by a college coach?

    Reply
    • December 23, 2015 at 9:43 am
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      I am sorry your son is having to go through this situation. First, as a parent I would evaluate if the high school situation is
      1. a tough situation that my son’s character can grow by going through it,
      2. a situation which is taking away my son’s confidence and love for the game,
      3. or an abusive situation.
      If it is the first, I would leave him in and guide him through it.
      If it is the third, I would pull him out no matter what the ramifications.
      If is is the second, I would think long and hard about whether he should remain under that coach.

      I am sure your AAU coach would be supportive and help you through this as well. Not all players have to play high school ball to play in college. Playing on an AAU team and a solid plan for how to get better during the high school season is also a good avenue. The plan could include fitness, strength, private training, going to a gym and playing adults, receiving a plan from your AAU coach dealing with technical improvement, lots of hard work by your son, etc.

      As to dealing with the situation and getting noticed by college coaches, if your son is 6’6″, is a decent player and has a good gpa and test scores, there are a lot of small colleges who are looking for those players. Obviously, I cannot gauge his skill and level of play for bigger colleges.

      You don’t need your high school coach or the media to help him find a spot on a college roster. Read this article, College coaches are not coming to your high school games.

      The media has zero influence over college coaches. College coaches don’t care what a sports writer says.

      The issue for all athletes is to be proactive. Don’t sit back and hope a college coach will see your son. You are correct, the recruiting process is competitive.

      More than I can give you in an answer here, I have set up the website so you can work through the recruiting process and know how to proceed.

      On the top bar of the website, look through the “Start Here” tab and the “Research” tab. I have laid out articles to help athletes and their parents get started with the recruiting process.

      In 2016, I will be hosting Free Webinars once a month that will go into depth about how to navigate the recruiting process. The first one will be the end of January. I am still working on a date. It will be up on the site soon. If you subscribe to the newsletter, you will receive a notification about the webinars as well.

      Please let me know if you have further questions.
      Thanks,
      Bryan

      Reply
  • May 20, 2016 at 8:05 am
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    Hi Bryan,
    Club soccer in our area is going to age pure in the Fall. My sophomore daughter’s team is made up of 99,00,01 birth year girls. The team is going to play in the 99 group as its the only way to keep all the girls together. Do you think it puts the 00 and 01 girls at any kind of disadvantage in the recruiting process to play in an age group that will be perceived as seniors?
    My daughter had a tough club year. Injuries early in the year put her behind and then a heavy workload at school made it hard for her to catch up, so she didn’t. Because of that an other factors she has decided it’t time to find a new team. She really hasn’t started the college process yet because the way the season played out her confidence took a huge it. She is bouncing back after a successful HS season and is looking to get started this summer. Should we be focused on 00 teams (Jrs)? Should we consider a 99 team if she likes the coach and feels like a good fit?

    Reply
    • May 20, 2016 at 9:45 am
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      Michael,

      The disadvantage in playing up could possibly be in which coaches are coming to see the games. Higher level D1 and D2 coaches may have their recruits set for the upcoming year and not be looking at teams with mainly seniors. So it could affect the random coach watching. Most other colleges are still looking at seniors.

      For me, recruiting should not be about the random coach. It should be about your daughter being proactive and deciding which schools and coaches she is interested in and contacting them. Begin building relationships and invite those coaches to watch. I don’t like leaving things to chance of who might or might not see your daughter play. There is no guarantee, no matter which team she is on. Coaches who are active with and generally respond to those students who take interest in their program (caveat: if they don’t believe their level is a fit, they probably won’t respond).

      A combination of emails and phone calls (yes the old fashion phone call is best) will get the attention of college coaches.

      I think a good fit is more important than which year the team is or even which club.

      Let me know if I can do anything else for you.

      Thanks,
      Bryan

      Reply
  • February 13, 2017 at 9:45 am
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    Hello Bryan,

    My daughter is in 9th grade and we are trying to figure out this process and exactly how to start. We were given your website and told that we needed to “get registered in the NCAA Clearinghouse so she can get her ID number. When an athlete already has their ID number, it shows they’re serious about playing collegiately and coaches are much more receptive.” She’s interested in playing division 1 soccer and right now is looking at Clemson. Any response regarding NCAA clearinghouse and tips on getting started?

    We were also told collegiate coaches for women normally recruit from club play, not so much high school play. Any thoughts on that?

    Still rummaging through your website.

    Reply
    • February 17, 2017 at 11:23 am
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      Jesus,
      Thanks for the thoughts and questions. It is correct that if your daughter is looking at Division 1 and Division 2 schools she needs to go through the NCAA eligibility center (clearinghouse). Here is the link if you don’t have it yet, https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/. I would recommend you read through the articles I have under the “Start Here” tab at the top of the page. Also, read this post, http://therecruitingcode.com/best-advice-get-a-college-coach-to-recruit-you/

      College coaches generally go to showcase events with their time as opposed to high school games. That said, both the club and high school experience are valuable. I wouldn’t skip high school based on this. After looking through some of these articles, let me know if you have more questions.
      Thanks,
      Bryan

      Reply
  • March 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm
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    Hi Bryan,

    My son is a junior and plays soccer at the US Soccer Development Academy level in the Spring and for his High School in the Fall. He recently attended an Ivy school’s soccer camp. At the end of the camp he approached the head coach and asked him what he thought of him. The coach replied that he liked the way he played and would like to continue to watch him over the next few months. He also asked to send him his HS transcript and test scores.
    Since them over the course of eight weeks, my son has sent him three emails each with updates – test scores, grades etc. His grades and test scores put him in the range for that schools admission requirements (in other words he meets their average acceptance requirements in terms of GPA and SAT).

    The kicker is that the coach has not replied to him- not even once. In his last email my son asked if he would be available to chat and gave him several possible time frames – no reply. Just last week he called and left a message asking if the coach was still interested and if he could call or email back either way- still no response.

    What should we do at this point? Seems very unprofessional of the coach especially from a Ivy school.

    Thanks
    John

    Reply
    • March 16, 2017 at 9:34 am
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      John,

      It sounds to me like your son has done everything correctly with this coach. It is my guess that the coach is not interested in recruiting your son. If he was, he most likely would have responded by now. An Ivy league coach is probably receiving a hundred or more emails a day from high school athletes. The amount of communication they receive can be overwhelming. Due to the shear volume of interested athletes, the majority of college coaches will not respond to all the emails. They will filter those they are interested in and respond. If your son had only sent one email, I would say to try again. The fact the coach has seen your son play at his camp and received three emails, probably says he is not interested.

      People in general, including coaches, often avoid hard conversations. When your son approached the coach at the camp, I would guess this is what occurred.

      I think your son should begin casting the net a bit wider. He could include other Ivy League schools, other small D1 schools and D2 schools. Look for schools that will be both an academic and athletic fit. If there are coaches who have contacted him after seeing him play, this will give him an indication of what the appropriate level of play is for him.

      I wish you both the best as you continue working through the recruiting process.

      Bryan

      Reply
  • April 19, 2017 at 10:22 pm
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    Hi Bryan,
    I am in my first year of junior college. The women’s basketball coach contacted me to be a walk on which I did, she decided to red shirt me and have me practice with the team the whole year as well as keep score for the games, I have worked really hard the whole year proving myself for an actual spot on the team next year. We only have three weeks of classes left and she still hasn’t said a word to me to say if I’ve actually made the team or not. She has only said comments to the entire team that she still has to think about some things. Ido know she has already had a few of the girls sign for their scholarships for next year as well as a couple new recruits…I’m getting really stressed out about not knowing. Can you please advise me on what I should do this point?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • April 20, 2017 at 8:46 am
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      LeAnn,
      This is an easy answer, but I am sure scary for you. You need to make an appointment to speak with her in her office. When you meet with her you need to look her in the eyes and ask her. If you need to, let her know not knowing is making you feel stressed out. I have no doubt she will give you an honest answer about her plans for you. Either way, at least you will know. If I were you, I would ask her today to set up a time to meet with her. Don’t put it off, it just gets harder. I wish you the best. Please let me know how it goes.
      Bryan

      Reply

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