The athlete you would take on your team, but probably only if you miss on all of your top recruits.
It is someone that might have some potential and might be a great character fit with your program. But, the talent just is not quite up to par.
The recruit that is very responsive and probably proactively reached out to you first.
I am talking about the C-level recruits. Not the A-level game-changer or the B-level core player but the bottom of the bench, practice squad type athlete.
How do you handle them? You don’t want to spend much of your time on them but you also don’t want them to go away in case you need them. Here are two ways you can successfully handle the C-level recruits.
1) Be realistic about how many C-level recruits you take on
Look at your last several recruiting classes. How many C-level recruits have you taken per class?
Say you’re a basketball coach that brings in five recruits each year. And every year at least one of those five ends up being a C-level recruit. Chances are, that will continue to happen.
So, when you get a few C-level recruits that reach out early on, it is a safe bet that you can take one early and it will not affect the spots available for your A and B recruits that have not decided.
Now, pick smart. Find the player that still brings something to the table. Maybe they just are not that talented but they work hard. Or they have strong character. Or maybe it is a wealthy alum’s child that will benefit the program if they stay involved.
Whatever it might be, take that one C-level player early while you have a choice instead of just taking what is left at the end of the year to fill the roster spot.
What about the rest of the interested C players that you might need later on?
2) Communicate clearly what your timeline looks like
Whenever you don’t accept a recruit’s commitment, you run the risk of them going elsewhere. But, if you can communicate clearly and honestly with that recruit, they’ll be more likely to wait and follow your timeline which puts you in control. The way we want it to be.
So, let’s say you plan on wrapping up your recruiting class in the beginning of March of that class’s senior year. The hope is that you’ll pick up a lot of your A and B recruits, well before March.
But, let that C recruit know that you evaluate your recruits throughout the year and will be finished up making decisions by the beginning of March. And so, you’ll be able to let them know if they have a spot on the team or not by then at the latest.
Again, there is no guarantee that the recruit will be around then. But, we want to do everything we can to make sure they are, just in case. So, after you explain your timeline to them, ask them if they feel they would be able to wait until that time to know if they are in or out. Ask them when they planned on making the decision. Getting them to confirm this timeline will go a long way in helping ensure they stick around until early March.
After that has been established, let them know you want to continue to share with them different aspects of the school and program to help them confirm their desire to commit to your team. The last thing we want to do is leave them in the dark until March.
Now, are you calling, texting, and emailing them as frequently as your top recruits? No. Prioritize your attention and communication. But, make sure you have a plan to keep those C level recruits in the loop so that communication doesn’t slip through the cracks.
In an ideal world, you bring in a class full of A-level recruits. But, even the best programs in the country rarely ever do that. If you find that you need some of those C-level athletes every year or your administration is pressuring you to add numbers to your roster size, use these strategies to handle those prospects effectively!
Dan Christensen’s popular “Tuesday Two” articles are a result of his prior coaching and sales experience, coupled with his work as a Regional Recruiting Coordinator for Tudor Collegiate Strategies. He’s part of the team of experts that works one-on-one with coaches who want better recruiting results through more effective, targeted recruiting messaging. To contact Dan, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here for information about how TCS works with college programs around the country.