• Chapter 1

    A College Coach's Perspective

  • College coaches approach recruiting methodically, and with an attention to detail that may surprise you. From searching for athletes to evaluating them to making offers, college coaches have refined their approach and their tools to build the best teams possible. To better educate you on the athlete side, we provide here a glimpse into the process, from the coach's perspective.

    The Search Process

    Let’s start with geography. A typical college will divide up its target geographical region into zones. Texas Southern University might divide up Texas, Notre Dame might divide up the entire United States. Each member of the coaching staff is assigned a zone. A school in California might do something like this:

    Each coach will identify the high schools in his zone. How does he then identify, evaluate, and contact athletes of interest at the high schools in his assigned zone? Hudl.


    That’s right. The same company whose video platform is used by thousands of high school football programs and their athletes to store and share video of high school games and allows athletes to create season highlight videos also has a powerful back-end service that enables any subscribing college coaching staff to search, evaluate, locate, and contact athletes. This service, called Recruit, is sold by Hudl in regional packages to colleges across the country.

    To a college coach, Recruit is a dream come true. As a coach, here I now have all the game film I want on any athlete I’m interested in in my region. Even athletes’ physical stats are verified via Hudl's partnership with Nike. To give you an idea of the power and ease of Recruit, here’s a view of the coach’s search screen:

    Because Recruit is a coach-optimized interface sitting on the existing Hudl video repository, it already contains all the athlete film. No additional action is required by the athlete, aside from setting up a Hudl profile to best sell yourself. We cover Hudl and Recruit later in the chapter titled The Truth about Increasing Your Exposure. For now, suffice it to say that the Hudl’s Recruit service is far and away the most powerful recruiting exposure platform out there -- and it is totally free to athletes.

    The Evaluation Process

    The evaluation process and criteria vary from school to school. The nuances in talent scouting and evaluation are a large part of what make a great coach stand out. Yet there are some common themes that run across schools and coaching philosophies.


    The first point is that most coaches will know in the first five to ten plays in an athlete’s film whether he wants to take a closer look at that athlete. Second, intangibles play a large role in evaluations. What kind of teammate is he? How does he behave on social media or toward his coaches and parents? The third common thread is that before a coaching staff takes a closer look at an athlete, they’ll want to make sure the athlete has the requisite grades.


    As the coaches break down an athlete’s film, they fill out an evaluation form. Here are a couple examples from two different schools in two different conferences. Notice that each form has a scoring system to calibrate the athlete’s play against the school’s standards.


    I added some evaluation sheets from college Universities so you guys can see what is being filled out by college coaches behind closed doors.


    Every Coaching Staff will have some twist to the evaluation process.

    At AthleticOutlook, we use this same kind of framework for our athlete evaluations. We’ve created a unique, position-specific evaluation form for each position. Our goal is to provide athletes and their families with maximum transparency to what college coaches see when they watch your film, and how you relate to the standard for your position at different levels of college football. This kind of insight is invaluable to an athlete, since the evaluation process ordinarily takes place behind closed doors in college athletic departments with little to no constructive feedback coming back to the athlete.

    The Recruiting Board

    During the recruiting process, coaches will put strong prospects on the recruiting board. Coaches use the board to track and manage their pipeline of recruits.

    How do you know whether you are on the recruiting board of a particular college program? If you are getting phone calls and personal emails from the coaches from a particular college, then you are on their recruiting board.


    Coaches are constantly evaluating the athletes on their recruiting board. They add new athletes, and replace others.


    In this video, the University of Miami coaching staff is discussing one particular prospect, breaking down his film, with each coach giving his perspective. The coaches in this video followed the steps we outlined above to get to this point with this particular athlete, and now the coaching staff comes together to decide whether to offer this athlete a scholarship.

  • Learn how college coaches approach recruiting, evaluate you, and make offer decisions.

    There are a lot of myths and misinformation floating around. Don't be misled.

    Recruiting has changed in the last decade. Learn how it works today and how to read whether a coach is really interested.

    ID camps, combines, 7-on-7s, profile exposure services,... Learn what matters, what doesn't, and what could hurt your chances.

    The inside scoop on NCAA rules of contact, official visits, receiving offers, and making commitments.

    Our coaches share the 10 steps every athlete should take to get recruited. Receive this chapter when you apply to participate in a recruiting program.

  • We are AthleticOutlook, a community of experienced college coaches who work personally with high school athletes and their families to help them improve recruiting outcomes and save money in the process.

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