March 11th, 2010
Updating the recruiting list for the 2011 class jogged my memory about a few stories that may help demonstrate the reality of college football recruiting for kickers and punters. Here’s one about a student I’ve been working with for a few years, who I’ll call Joe.
Joe was contacted late in the recruiting process (January) by a solid Division 1 school—one on the verge of becoming a national presence—to discuss coming in as a walk-on. He’d been getting recruited by a number of other strong programs, but this school had always been his number-one choice.
After a few emails and phone calls from the coaching staff, Joe was ready to visit this school. He’d found out they were looking at another kicker who was offered a scholarship, but was struggling to get through the admissions process. Joe went on his trip, had a great time, and was told numerous times by the assistant coaches that “we want you and you will get into our school.”
Joe felt confident about what they were telling him and was waiting on admissions. In the meantime, he didn’t follow up with any other schools; he stopped recruiting, due to the fact he’d been told he was guaranteed admission at his first choice. A few more weeks went by with no word…
I personally called the coaches. They even told me, “we like the kid, we are hoping to get him in.” A few more days went by and I heard the kicker who’d been offered a scholarship got into the school. Joe was a little confused, and never really heard back from the school about his admission. He even received an email from the head coach about how much he was looking forward to working with him.
By now, signing day had passed and it was the middle of February. Although many kickers get signed or find a home as late as May, Joe knew the schools he’d been looking at had already used all their admissions spots. We had to scramble and find some schools that were willing to even look at him, including some local universities. As I write this, we’re still actively looking at schools.
The moral to this story should be obvious: don’t ever stop marketing yourself, regardless of how much you’re told you’re wanted. Coaches are looking for the best possible players and will stop recruiting a kicker in a heartbeat. Continue the recruiting process until you sign on the dotted line or get that admissions letter telling you that you’re in.