Each year, dozens of the top college football and basketball recruits come out of the same few elite high schools. Some of them have even become household names...
IMG Academy. St. Thomas Aquinas. DeMatha. Mater Dei. MontVerde.
And they aren't just fostering college athletes for the major sports, these huge academies also develop some of the best athletes in swimming, golf, tennis, and other sports most people are not seeing on TV. With great facilities, connected alumni, and the ability to travel to find the best competition - or the best weather, these schools have a leg up on every other high school in the nation.
But, even away from the highest level of prep sports, there are still big disparities in almost every region of America when it comes to attention from college scouts. High schools with the largest student bodies, highest density of competition, or access to the most funds usually come out on top.
And there top athletes more often than not get a lot of attention from recruiters as well as their big fanbases. With more people seeing an athlete's games each week and more and better competition coming to your school, playing at the biggest high school in your district can be a big advantage for recruits.
But, as the age old adage goes: Ball don't lie. If you have the talent and the drive to get to college on an athletic scholarship, you can make it happen from anywhere. Raw talent and determination are always on a coaches' wish list, whether your high school class has 3,000 students or less than 10.
Below are three of the best tips for athletes who are trying to get recruited from a small high school:
Record and Upload Everything You Do
If you want coaches to know how hard you work despite the stats you have... or if you want scouts to know about the raw athleticism you have... show them. There is no reason not to have proof of everything you can do out there for recruiters to find.
Creating a GMTM profile is the best way to upload and organize everything you do on and off the field to share with college coaches. And those who view your profile can see everything you can do and have done in one place. Your Hudl film, 40-yard-dash time, transcripts, pick-up games, offseason workouts, or anything else you want to showcase is visible one one single profile.
A lot of athletes think that the story of their high school career is told between the whistles. By recording everything you do in the weight room and on your own, athletes can offer coaches a glimpse into how they work when the stadium lights aren't on.
Whether you're uploading videos to an NFL team's event or participating in tough Special Forces training for a fun weekend workout, GMTM allows you to continue competing and gaining exposure when you are off of the field. And each time you you participate in an event, your network will grow, putting you just a few connections away from that coach who you've been trying to get ahold of.
Another great way to interact directly with college coaching staffs is through Virtual Visits on GMTM. Virtual Visits are created and hosted by college programs who are looking to discover new talent from outside their region and coaches are finding and offering new players directly from the event.
Join A Travel Team Or A Club Team
If your high school isn't very big and you feel you aren't competing against the best competition in your district or class, you may need to look elsewhere. But that doesn't have to mean transferring schools.
If your area doesn't have the best talent or the most exposure, naturally you need to travel until you find it. Club teams, travel or AAU teams, most likely exist in larger towns around you. Find one and tryout for it. Travel and club teams are a great way to be seen by scouts and play better competition from all over the country.
College scouts attend AAU tournaments and club tournaments in order to see dozens of the best high school athletes from different regions in one day. For an athlete from a high school in a rural area, just one game could feel life-changing. And most teams play a handful of games at each tournament and play multiple tournaments in a season!
Not only is there a lot of buzz and needle movers at a tournament like this, but they offer athletes an opportunity to play games against national competition. They athletes you could guard or play against at a club tournament could be going to Division-I colleges the next year or be one of the best in their state at the moment. AAU games and club tournaments offer as close to college-level competition as possible for high school-age talent.
Playing on a team with some of the best athletes in your area and competing at tournaments with some of the best anywhere is the best way to ready yourself to college sports. If coaches know you're used to a higher level of athletics, they are much more likely to pay attention to you.
- Travelling to play sports and paying for tournament and club fees can be expensive though, so make sure you do your research and know what it could cost. If you believe you are talented enough to be recruited - your high school coaches and administrators will be honest with you, it could be a worthwhile investment for you and your family.
- Before joining an AAU team, make sure you research the coaches and whether former players have been recruited. If you join a team that hasn't helped anyone else find a path to college recruitment, it may not be the best fit if that is your end goal.
If you aren't able to join a club team or an AAU team, it isn't the end of the world. While it's hard to match the level of competition or the exposure you could find at regional and national tournaments, you can participate in a number of virtual events from home that will plug you into college coaches' networks.
- If you do not live near a large city or aren't able to join a travel or club team, reach out to your high school coaches or administrators to see if the school could help sponsor a team to travel to a local regional tournament.
Interact With Coaches And Needle Movers On Social Media
While being recruited from a small high school certainly isn't impossible, being recruited without a social media presence might be. Today, almost every coaches' first method of communication is through Twitter and it pays to be interacting with them as much as possible.
- If you don't like social media or you aren't allowed to use it, those are great reasons to not have a Twitter profile. But, coaches may need it to find your information. Earning a college scholarship is a business decision, and not being on those platforms is like not submitting an application at all. So, create one if you haven't already.
Using Twitter and Instagram to meet and put your name in front of assistant coaches and scouts in your region is a must-do. Just seeing your name and clicking on a link to your GMTM profile in your bio could create an opportunity for you overnight.
Search for your local colleges online - whether they are Division III, NAIA, or Junior Colleges - and find each of their coaching staffs Twitter handles to introduce yourself. While it may not be your goal to play at the college in your own backyard, gaining interest from one school is the best way to gain interest from a lot. And you are much more likely to get attention from these coaches if you are a local kid who hasn't been discovered yet.
- After you DM your local college coaches, find sports journalists or college scouts who cover your sport in your state or region. One thing every writer loves is a story and if you have a lot of talent with no offers, they'll be excited to chat with you and help you find some exposure.
As you connect with coaches, scouts, and other people who might help you be seen by the right people, make sure you continue to post regularly and be a part of conversations on Twitter when your schedule allows. When people in the networks of the people who follow you see one of your highlights, you could get some real attention fast.
- Only post and engage with things on social media you would want a recruiter to see. The first thing any coach or scout will do when they see your name on a recruiting list is search you on social media. And when they see something questionable, it doesn't matter what your stats are if they think you will be irresponsible or unreliable off of the field.
Remember, the reason to create a Twitter profile is to help college coaches get to know you. Having talent is one thing but helping a coach see your character and how you fit into a locker room should never be underestimated.
Another great way to engage with coaches and scouts is by Requesting Evaluations on GMTM. By requesting an evaluation from a coach, trainer, or scout, you can get verified feedback on videos you upload to help you become better and get your name into their networks.
These right here are some amazing game changing tips that any athlete can use but are especially useful for those coming from a small high school and hoping to be recruited to the college level.