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?

Grit?

Communication?

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.

On our 3rd part of this series, we interview Ryan Martinez, former assistant recruiting coordinator at The University of Miami and Florida International University

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Sport: Football

School: University of Miami, FIU

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

“Overall athleticism, Speed, Sport IQ, Coachability, Drive/Perseverance, Work Ethic, Body Type

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

The top 3 would be Sports/Position IQ, Work Ethic and Strong Academics.  Sports IQ tells you a lot about a player. How quick can they retain information and translate it on the field. You want players that can match athleticism with intellect.

Work Ethic. How often is he studying film. Does he lead by example. Does he stay after practice to work on his craft or is he the first one off the field.

Strong Academics. It does not matter how talented the student athlete is, no grades mean no admission into school. Plain and simple.

When do you typically begin the recruiting process?

The recruiting process normally starts after the students athletes sophomore year in High School.

How long does the recruiting process last?
The recruiting process is a 365,24/7 cycle. Once the current class is signed, sealed and delivered. You take a day and move on to the next class.
What is typically the biggest adjustment that incoming freshman struggle to make on coming in to your program, that you have seen? 
Having a structured schedule for their class and team workouts. I always recommend freshmen to enroll early if they can. Get an extra semester of class and spring ball makes the difference in getting acclimated to the 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? 
Number 1 is grades for me, I won’t waste my time talking to the student athlete if he does not have grades and my second would be before the season begins attend multiple camp circuits if you can. The more exposure you have the better your chances of getting noticed by multiple Universities.
What advice would you give an athlete who is trying to walk on to your program? 
Be humble, hungry and openminded.
Do you follow your recruits on Social Media?
Yes.
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?
10.
What should a high school athlete steer AWAY from that will for sure hurt their chances of getting recruited into your program? 
Using Vulgar and distasteful language on Social Media.
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) 
Email is best. I am always on my computer and believe it or not a lot of coaches prefer getting highlight videos that way.
Why? *
Easier way for me to see your content rather than coming to the office or giving me call.
What kind of training do you recommend graduating athletes partake in before coming in to your program?
No specific type of training I would recommend but I always like to know that the athletes we recruit are active and in the gym all year round. Making sure there bodies are conditioned for the rigors of college football.
How important are power clean, bench press, squat maxes, etc to you?
Need to have good numbers.
How important are academics when recruiting an athlete? 
Extremely important.
What additional advice, if any, would you like to leave? 
Leave no stone unturned. Be aggressive on the trail, attend multiple camp circuits, put your highlight and full game videos on Hudl, YouTube and other websites. Most importantly, with out grades you can’t get into school, so make sure that you can qualify.

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