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What Do Collegiate Coaches Look For: Questions Answered by Elite Level Coaches

Aside from the obvious trait as to whether or not you can actually play and excel at your respective sport in college, what other traits do collegiate coaches look for when they are recruiting?

For those of you athletes who deeply aspire to play competitively at the next level and are willing to do what it takes to get there, you will actually increase you odds of getting that opportunity if you have an idea of what coaches are looking for.

Do coaches look for ONLY talent?

How much does work ethic matter?

What kind of shape do you need to be in leading up to your freshman year from high school?

How much do your academics matter?

How much does social media matter?

How about Sport IQ?



All of the above??

In coming to contact with high school athletes on a daily basis and having had to go through the very trying process of walking on at the Division 1 level, I always jump at the opportunity to help an aspiring athlete in any way possible to help them get that chance, if they are willing to work.

Over time, I have gotten a solid feel for who really understands what it takes, and who THINKS they know what it takes.

To help provide even more perspective on what it takes, and what coaches are looking for, I created a survey and asked my close friends, former coaches, and contacts who are elite collegiate coaches and former recruiters what they look for in athletes when they recruit.

From top Division 1 football programs like Penn State, to top Top division 1 volley ball programs, to University of Miami and FIU former recruiting coordinators, the feedback that they provided is invaluable, especially to those of you looking for that opportunity.

Over the next several weeks I will be sharing what these coaches answered in the survey, and how you may be able to get a jumpstart, and maybe a reality check.

In our second post on the series, we will hear what former Penn State assistant coach, now New Orleans Saints assistant coach Phil Galiano has to say about his recruiting process:

What traits do you look for when recruiting high school athletes?

Overall athleticism, strength, speed, being coachable, natural talent, work ethic, drive, perseverance, Sport IQ, Strong Academics, and Body type.

What would be the top 3 you choose of these traits?

Talent, work ethic, athleticism.

When do you typically begin the recruiting process?

Freshman year of high school.

How long does the recruiting process last?

4 years.

What is typically the biggest adjustment that incoming freshman struggle to make on coming in to your program, that you have seen?

Adjusting to not being able to be successful just because of talent. Everyone in our program is talented. Also time management skills. Adjusting to college life.

What are 2 important things that high school upper classmen should focus on if they want to increase their chances of getting recruited to your program? 

Coming to camp and being the best player on the field in their high school games.

What advice would you give an athlete who is trying to walk on to your program?

Come to camp, be an excellent student, demonstrating quality that separates you as a guy we want on our team.

Do you follow your recruits on social media?


On a scale of 1-10, how much does social media affect the decision making process to recruit and offer a scholarship into your program?


What should a high school athlete steer AWAY from that will for sure hurt their chances of getting recruited into your program?

Any actions that would be viewed as embarrassing to himself, his family and his team.

What is typically the best way for an athlete interested in your program to get your attention and draw interest if you were not recruiting them? (e.g. phone call, email me with their high light, visit in person etc) *
Coming to camp and then a game.
Why? *
Want to work with the athlete in person and then want to get to know the type of kid he is.
What kind of training do you recommend graduating athletes partake in before coming in to your program? *
Play as many sports as possible. We want guys who compete in everything they do.
How important are power clean, bench press, squat maxes, etc to you *
Very Important. If numbers aren’t good we won’t recruit them.
How important are academics when recruiting an athlete?
Extremely important.
What additional comments, if any, would you like to leave? *
Many guys have unrealistic opinions of themselves. Playing at Penn State is not easy to do. If you are clearly not the best player on the field every week in high school then you probably will not play here.
I’d like to thank Coach G for taking the time and helping me get useful information.

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