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So You Wanna Play Sports in College? Q & A with a D1 Powerhouse Coach

One of the most storied football programs in al of college football, The University of Miami has produced not only some of the biggest names in collegiate football, but also to ever come through the NFL.

They pioneered swagger and a championship culture in the mid to late 80’s, and were an unstoppable force from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, crowning themselves National Champions 5 times over the span of 2 decades.


A key part of the process: recruiting.

Even though Miami is finding their way back to the top of the food chain like they once were, they are now piloted by one of the best recruiters in college football; Mario Cristobal.

Through close relationships, we were able to conduct an interview with current University of Miami assistant Coach and friend Juan Navarro, and detail what it is they look for when recruiting the perfect athlete.

Coach Willis: “What are a few of the traits that you look for when recruiting prospects?”

Navarro: “Work ethic, drive and perseverance, Sport and position IQ, coachability, speed, strength, and overall athleticism.”

Coach Willis: “ Which of these traits would you consider to be your top 3?”

Navarro: “Overall athleticism, perseverance, and academic strength”

Coach Willis: “When do you typically begin the recruiting process?”

Navarro: “We start typically around December and go through the spring/summer.”

Coach Willis: “How long does the recruiting process last?”

Navarro: “It lasts from 1.5 to 2 full years.”

Coach Willis: “What is typically the biggest adjustment incoming freshman have to make when they come into the program?”

Navarro: “Time management, and adjusting to the mental and physical demands of the sport.”

Coach Willis: “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?

Navarro: “Academics and consistent performance!”

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

Navarro: “Get highest gpa and test score you can achieve – prepare physically for a mental grind!”

Coach Willis: “Do you follow your recruits on social media? And how much does it affect the process and getting a scholarship offer?

Navarro: “Yes we follow recruits on social media. As far as importance, I would rank that a 7 out of 10.”

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

Navarro: “Negative attitude and lack of coachability.”

Coach Willis: “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? Why?

Navarro: “Email, text , or visit school with proper documentation. Ready – film, academic background, NCAA eligibility ctr #. This shows a demonstrates a care.

Coach Willis: “What other advice would you give?”

Navarro: “Communicate, ask questions, and prepare!”


If you are that athlete serious about playing at the collegiate level, these are pretty much the answers to the test. A blueprint of advice that you can either choose to use or not.

Thank you Coach Navarro for your time and feedback!