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2014 College Football Recruiting Rankings ReportTuesday, January 27th, 2015

One of the great things about college football at the start of a new year is that right after bowl season, we immediately prepare for national letter of intent day.  Unlike the regular season, we don’t have to wait for months to see who will be a future star of our favorite team, it comes just a few weeks after the National Championship.  It’s a time when fans get an idea of what their favorite team is going to look like in the future.

For college football fans, and the media that follows them, it’s an exciting time of year.

  • Fans get confirmation as to which of the most talented recruits actually choose a particular college, and why they make that decision.
  • We get to see how one team compares with another team.
  • Coaching staffs are credited with the tags of “great recruiters”, while others are questioned for their ability to reel-in high profile future stars.

But all of this hype begs the obvious question: Does a Division I football team’s recruiting class really determine their actual on-the-field success?

Download our fascinating new research study, which compares a college program’s recruiting rankings with their actual on-field performance in 2014.

2014 College Football Recruiting Rankings Report

Dan Tudor, founder of Tudor Collegiate Strategies, released this statement regarding this year’s findings:

“This research study is fascinating, as it really accentuates which college coaching staffs are doing the most with the talent they recruit”, said Tudor.  “Matt Boyles, Director of Research for Tudor Collegiate Strategies, has put together a very measurable look at the recruiting results of Division I college football programs over an extended four year period, accounting for he impact on the field of different classes.”

A Snowstorm and Preparing to Avoid Crisis With Your ProspectsMonday, January 26th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Last month some friends of ours made the move from Indiana to New Hampshire.

Yesterday I checked in with them to see if they were ready for the impending snowstorm that authorities are saying could topple power lines, disrupt all transportation, and essentially cripple a large chunk of the Northeast. My friend David sent me the following text message labeled blizzard prep. “Tractor – running, plow operational, check. Gas for tractor, check. Gas for generator, check. Oil for furnace, check. Flashlights, candles, lanterns, check. Warm clothes – duh I’m a skier! CHECK! Shovels, check. 4WD vehicle, check.”

Much like New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is coordinating with dozens of local, state and federal agencies, in addition to having city agencies and DOT workers already on the go, David appears to have taken all necessary precautions and is confident that he will be prepared to handle whatever this storm throws at them.

As a college admissions recruiter or leader, a situation like this one provides an important reminder. Every so often you must ensure that each member of your admissions team is prepared to handle crisis as it relates to your prospects.

At this point you might be expecting a list of common crises during the recruitment cycle and how to handle them. Sorry, that’s not the goal of this article. Unlike my friend David and Mayor de Blasio who have no control over Mother Nature, your admissions team can take steps that will help avoid potential obstacles which slow down the recruitment process.

Here are some suggestions that I’d recommend:

  • Build rapport and the trust of your prospect. If I asked you to print off your prospect list and check off the names of those you’ve truly made a connection with, how many would that be? Can you and your prospect, as well as you and your prospect’s parents, spend time talking about something other than your college and the admissions process? Once you’ve formed those personal relationships, then you can start to build trust.  Not the other way around.  Would you trust you if you were listening to you? Without doing both of these things you will not secure commitments from the talented recruits you’re searching for.
  • Communicate consistently and in a variety of ways. You cannot expect to avoid obstacles without a consistent track of messaging every 6 to 9 days. Remember that those messages should be sequential and contain short, fact-based pieces of information with the goal of creating anticipation. Our research firmly indicates that when a prospect sees ongoing, regular contact from you, not only do they engage with the messaging on a more regular basis, but they also feel valued. Your recruiting campaign needs to consist of a regular flow of mail, email, phone contact, personal contact and social media.  Today’s prospective student reacts to a good combination of all of these facets of recruiting.  If you focus on only one or two communication methods, you’re leaving the door open for a competitor that will make the most of each communication resource they possess.
  • Believe the story you’re telling. This past fall I spent two days conducting one of our admissions workshops with a school that didn’t realize the importance of having a great story and using passion when relaying it to their recruits. If you always tell a compelling story you will help create those “feelings” for your prospects. A story told without passion can come across as less credible. If you don’t believe the stories you’re telling, how will they? Remember that prospects rely on those “feelings” and emotions to help them make their decision.
  • Ask good questions. This is one of the most talked-about aspects of recruiting with both our admissions and athletic clients. Almost all want to know how to get a masters degree in effective questioning, and for good reason. Are you asking good probing questions that reveal those hidden clues? Do you know what facts your recruits really care about? If you aren’t asking effective questions, you’re probably struggling at recruiting high potential students.
  • Get them to reveal any objections. We’ve talked about effectively handling objections before. How are you doing lately in this department? Are you able to get your prospects to clearly clarify an objection and how he or she came to feel that way? Or do you try and sidestep those discussions with the hope that your prospect will just forget about them? I’m here to remind you that the latter will not work. If there are unanswered questions in the minds of your prospects or their parents, you need to help them reach a solution quickly, or risk losing them to another school.
  • Tell them what to do next. We see it time and time again. The school that connects all the dots from start to finish in a clear manner runs into significantly less obstacles with their recruits. If you want them to call you, tell them that. If you want them to visit campus, tell them that. If it’s important they complete their financial aid paperwork by a certain date, tell them why and confirm that they’re aware of the aforementioned deadline. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING…EVER. Be crystal clear about the every single “next step.”
  • Affirm their commitment. When your prospect is admitted, what do you do to congratulate them on their decision? Do you ensure that they sign up for one of your admitted student days? Do you still recruit them and sell the positives of your school? Or, do you breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the next prospect? You need to reaffirm their decision and make them feel good about it. Make them know that they made the right decision, and never let buyer’s remorse settle in.

If you consistently do each of these seven things, the likelihood of the recruiting process flowing smoothly will greatly increase.

Have questions about any of this? Email Jeremy directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

Why Prospects Need You To Be Your Own Brand Of BrilliantMonday, January 26th, 2015

Eby Erika Brennan, National Recruiting Coordinator

When we think for a moment of coaches that stand out in our memory, who are some that instantly come to mind?

John Wooden, Bobby Knight, or Pat Summitt perhaps?

Or maybe Anson Dorrance, Bear Bryant, or Mike Krzyzewski?

We know these names because they get results, sure, but more importantly, we know these names because these coaches transcended their respective sports. The above list features many different coaching styles, personalities and tactics for fostering success, but one thing is constant. These coaches were and are brilliantly themselves. Their transparency makes them likable, even if we don’t agree on every nuance within their philosophy.

As coaches, it is imperative to own your uniqueness and be your own kind of brilliant. Are you striving to create a culture of family on your team? Do you prefer to get results with intensity on level 10 around the clock? Is your program a dictatorship, democracy, or somewhere in between?

There are no right answers of course, as the list of legendary coaches demonstrates. No, what matters now more than ever, is to be consistent in word and deed throughout the recruiting process. A prospect should be able to discern key personality traits early on in the recruiting process, and those same traits should be evident once they sign and show up for pre-season.

Being transparent when it comes to your brilliance is tough though. It requires being introspective. For most coaches who tend to be extraverted, that can be a real challenge.

Here are 4 ways to not only discover your own brilliance, but to own it and make it uniquely yours.

  1. Reflect and Pay Attention To Your Inner Voice: Carve out 10 minutes of quiet time each day and dream your biggest dreams. The inner voice that allows your mind to wander will speak volumes about your inner-most values. Parade those values around for all to see. Say them, write them down, own them, live them.
  2. Take A Personality Test: My personal favorite is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and there are several free online versions available. This test will shed light on how you derive energy, how you take in information, how you form judgments and how you find closure.   I challenge you to take the test today and try not to be astonished at how accurate your results will be. For bonus points, consider sharing your results with your coaching staff, current student-athletes, and prospects.
  3. “If Money Didn’t Matter” Litmus Test: Ask yourself the “If Money Didn’t Matter, and my talents were limitless, what would I be doing?” Of course many of us would say “coaching” so think beyond that, what would you do? The answer also reveals insight into your personality.
  4. Seek feedback from several sources: To help paint a picture of who you are perceived to “be,” go straight to the source. Ask superiors, peers, friends, and even foes if you’re brave. Don’t waste your time with asking people who will give you lip service, you’re looking for honesty here. Armed with their feedback, ask yourself if the things they say align with how you perceive yourself.

A great personal friend of mine, and a client of ours, has this down pat. She is one of the most self-aware people I’ve ever known….and this lady….


She is a wildly successful Division I coach and she’s built a program based around a culture of caring. She is a mom first and foremost, so that naturally finds its place in her coaching philosophy. Simply put, you’re a “part of the family” from the moment she adds you to the prospect board through your playing time, becoming an alumnus, and beyond.   She is warm, genuine, and never boisterous.   If she wasn’t a client, I’d give you her phone number JUST so that you could hear her voicemail. It’s so perfectly her and stands out in the sea of sameness.

She shared a story recently about getting a commitment from a top recruit. The mother of the recruit told her that they chose the school, “Because when she was having a bad day on the field, you never once left her side. Other coaches moved on, but you stayed. Sure, we got text messages afterwards from all of those other coaches too, but she noticed that you never left. Your text message was encouraging and it meant so much more because you stayed.” This is not surprising at all if you know my friend. That’s not just her style, that’s who she is.

As prospects face countless decisions throughout the recruiting process, they will search for True North; something that feels authentic and real.

Be that person for them coach. Be your own brand of brilliant. They need it now more than ever.

The Miracle On Ice: Building A Winning TeamMonday, January 26th, 2015

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

As you recruit and build your teams, there are three foundations from the Miracle on Ice team that can be of tremendous help.

First, while nowadays we hear of Dream Teams in the Olympics (starting with the 1992 U.S. men’s basketball team in Barcelona), Herb Brooks instead built a ‘team of dreamers.’ There is a difference. He recruited young men who dared to dream that they could do the impossible. Many of these young men were being pursued by the NHL, and could have easily bypassed the seven month journey with Herb. At first, experts had them as a long shot for a bronze, much less a gold and a win over the Soviets. Still, they had an inner faith that something special could be out there.

Herb Brooks had two favorite movies, The Sound of Music and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He often said that we quit dreaming as we get older. We get too sophisticated. Do you share your dreams with your recruits. Do you share how they can be a part of the vision and of something that becomes a legacy at that school?

Second, Herb built a team filled with egos but no ego problems. There is a difference. He had many bigtime college stars and many had been captains of their teams. They had healthy opionions of their abilities, but an uncanny ability to check their egos at the door. During the historic USA USSR game February 22, 1980 defenseman Bob Suter did not play. Herb felt his gimpy ankle would not allow him to keep up with the speedy Soviets. Suter did a slow burn about this, but kept it to himself and did nothing to upset team spirit.

We are coming up on the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. February 22nd will be the annivesary of the 4-3 win over the Soviets and February 24th will 35 years since the win over Finland in the gold medal game.

Keep dreaming as you recruit and build your programs. When the 1980 Winter Games began in beautiful Lake Placid, New York, there were several thousand empty seats and very little media when Team USA played Sweden the day before Opening Ceremonies. Less than two weeks later over 40 million Americans were watching on ABC and over 11,000 fans crammed into the 7,700 seat arena. The world’s top journalist were packed in the press box. Air Force One would be on its way to take them to the White House.

Herb spent years researching prospects for his team. He called countless coaches to get perspectives. One time he called the coach of Dave Silk, who Herb didn’t feel had the speed to make his team. Herb listened as the coach told him Silk had that innate ability to make things happen, and that he would be your guy out there at the end.

The most famous call in all of sports came from Al Michaels in 1980. He said this: “Eleven seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! “Morrow up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? … Yes!”

Silk was out there on the ice at the very end. Herb had listened to the coach, stored the info, and went with him to wrap up the Soviet win.

If you would like to know more about my special program on How the Miracle on Ice happened and Lessons from it, you can reach me at charlie@stokethefirewithin. With the 35th annivesary coming up, this is a good time for college coaches, athletes and administrators to hear the full back story of the greatest sports moment in United States history.

Overcoming Your Prospects’ BiasThursday, January 22nd, 2015

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Recruiting Club And High School CoachesThursday, January 22nd, 2015

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Recruiting Letter FundamentalsThursday, January 22nd, 2015

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Your Recruiting Body LanguageThursday, January 22nd, 2015

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Creating The Right Kind Of UrgencyThursday, January 22nd, 2015

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5 Ways To Tick Off Your RecruitThursday, January 22nd, 2015

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