Recruiting Lessons from USL Convention Panel
January was a whirlwind of recruiting showcases, verbal commitments and participation in recruiting seminars and panels. As we at LacrosseRecruits.com have grown, Matt [Wheeler] and I are asked to participate in more and more seminars and panels. (US Lacrosse National Convention, Chargers, STEPs, Elite 120, North American Showcase -- it was a busy month!)
Below are three of my favorite questions from the Men's and Women's Recruiting Panels that I moderated at US Lacrosse National Convention:
1. How has the recruiting timeline changed? How has it affected your recruiting and where do you see it going?
For me, this was the best question to start the recruiting seminar. Right now, there is an uneasiness that stems from the increasing number of 2014 verbal commitments. Parents are really scared that their son or daughter has missed the D-I boat. The reality is that a very small number of players at the top tier schools fall into a sophomore year verbal commit category. The college coaches on the panel were able to tell you when they are looking at players and when they are getting commitments. The high school coaches can talk about different types of players they have coached and when they were recruited.
Here are a few points that I made in an earlier interview with LaxAllStars.com and they are applicable to the changing timeline:
- Stud athletes are being picked up early. Lacrosse players who are in the top 1 percent athletically are going to be recruited during their freshman spring, summer after freshman year and then their sophomore fall. There is a very small group of players that have matured physically, and they are anomalies in the recruiting process. They are being picked up earlier and earlier. We are one year away from a freshman verbally committing.
- The Ivies are getting put in a tough spot. Immediately, a reader might point to the recent Harvard recruiting class with [Stephen] Jahelka and [Brian] Fischer and say, "Oh no... that isn't true..." The reality is that if players like Jahelka or Fischer were going through the recruiting process today, they would have had offers from Duke, Hopkins and Virginia in fall of their sophomore year that they might not have been able to pass up. If you are a parent, are you really in a position to roll the dice and say you are going to take your chance a year down the road? Probably not. You are going to take the sure thing with Duke.
- More and more smart kids are playing lacrosse. And more of them want to go to great schools. The pool of players interested in Ivy, Patriot and NESCAC schools has never been larger. When I go back and watch Wesleyan (my alma mater) play lacrosse, I am in amazement. Eight years ago we were fighting to fill roster spots. Today they have a full roster of 45 players. The same at Amherst or Tufts. The funnel of smart kids who want to play college lacrosse has never been this competitive. I was accepted into Wesleyan in 2001. This is a shot in the dark, but the kids in my recruiting class would have needed an extra 100 points on their SAT Math & Verbal as well as an extra 3-5 points on their GPA to get into the school in 2011.
2. As a high school coach, travel coach or parent, how do you know what level your son or daughter can play?
I didn't have this question prepared, but parents and high school coaches asked this at each seminar that I moderated. This is a much more difficult question for people from non-traditional lacrosse areas where there isn't a steady stream of players heading off to play in college. When I went to high school, it was fairly easy -- in my junior year I was an all-conference player. The previous three years, all-conference attackmen from my high school went to Bryant, Yale and NYIT. Based on grades and size, you could at least start to narrow down the possibilities.
In other areas, we recommended using LaxPower lists to research how many players from your county or state were going to play college lacrosse. Then you can breakdown the level that they are playing and their collegiate success. When that player was in high school, was he the best player in the state or one of the top 15 players in the state? Are you in the same group? Your high school coach might not be able to look at you and say, "I think you are a top-20 D-III player," but he will be able to tell you how you compare to other players from the state.
The other important thing for players from nontraditional areas is to play in the East. Summer camps at Nike Blue Chip, National Invite 175 or Showtime are going to give you a really good idea of how you stack up to top talent in your age group.
3. What camps should my son or daughter attend to get recruited?
More and more camps are going to be on the scene in the next two or three summers. I always talk about 10 years ago when I went through the process, there were only three options for summer recruiting camps. You went to the camp, you were looked at and then a coach would give you a call. Camps fall into two categories for us: the recruiting camp and the school camp. You need to do your research. Use our Recruiting Camp Guide to figure out the best fits for where you will end up playing college lacrosse. (Is it DI in the South? Is it DIII in the Northeast?). Make sure you spend your money wisely and attend camps that are a fit for you. If you are considering a school's camp, make sure that the school is in your top three schools of interest, and that it isn't a complete stretch athletically.
For more tips/suggestions on recruiting camps, check out lacrosserecruits.com/recruitingcampguide.php.