There are certain phrases that, when said by a recruit (or high school coach on occasion) have the unique ability to make college coaches cringe, and squirm with discomfort and hesitation. Some of them often foreshadow trouble down the road, while others often reveal a recruit’s true character and desires
Earlier today, I reached out to a number of assistant coaches, coordinators and a few head coaches from a variety of levels from NAIA up to major college football, and asked them the types of things that they hate to hear from high school prospects and coaches, and while they provided a variety of answers, many of their responses were along similar lines.
After compiling the responses, here are the 12 phrases (and ideas) that coaches say irked them the most.
1) “My grades are good. I’ve got about a [insert terrible number here] GPA” – A recruit, OR “He’s an outstanding player, but his grades are going to be an issue.” – A coach
Very few things are more frustrating than really liking a kid’s athleticism on the field, hearing he’s a great person, and then finding out he doesn’t have the grades (or test scores) to get into your school. It doesn’t matter how crazy about the kid you are if he can’t get past admissions.
2) “When a coach tells me that a kid is a Division I scholarship guy, and it’s November of his Senior year.” – A college coach
This one came from a number of small college coaches, and the reality of the situation is that if the kid is a scholarship kid at the Division I level, in most cases, he should know by now whether that’s a real possibility in the form of a number of offers, official visits, or serious interest from a schools. If none of that has happened, chances aren’t real good.
3) “I’m pretty sure that I run about a 4.4 40” – A recruit
The chances of a high school kid ACTUALLY running a 4.4 second 40 are incredibly rare, but the number of kids that THINK they run a 40 yard dash in the area of 4.4 seconds is incredibly common across all levels.
4) “This kid will be a great program kid.” – A coach
This one got echoed by a number of coaches at the small college level, and it normally roughly translates into “this kid isn’t all that good of a player, but he’s a great practice player, won’t be an issue off the field, and is an asset in the locker room.” Every program needs a handful of those type of kids, but small college coaches hear that all the time while on the hunt for guys that can make a difference on the field and ultimately help win games.
5) “I only want to play [insert position here]” – A recruit
For college coaches, this is troubling to hear on a variety of levels. First of all, it shows that the recruit is out for his own selfish gain, and not the better interests of the team or program as a whole.
6) “My 7 on 7 coach says I should only look at Division I schools” – A recruit
With 7 on 7’s being treated more and more like AAU basketball in recent years, college coaches are hearing more and more stuff like this.
7) “How much can you offer me?” -A recruit
Yes. This one has actually been asked a number of times. Kids today think that the amount of scholarship you can offer them is directly correlated to 1) how bad you want them a part of your program and 2) their worth as a player. One Division III coach (who had no athletic money to give anyway) shared that his response to recruits that have ask him this is “Well, how much do you think you’ve earned?” That opens up the conversation to academics, community service, and other things outside of football.
8) “I like football” – A recruit
College coaches want to fill their rosters full of guys that love football. Simply “liking” football isn’t enough to fuel a kid through a grueling off season filled with intense workouts or 100 degree practices during training camp. Playing college football requires a unique amount of commitment and dedication, and that’s something that people that just “like” football normally don’t possess.
9) “I want to go somewhere where I can play right away.” – A recruit
Translation for coaches: “I really don’t want to compete for a starting spot once I get there.”
10) “How many jersey combinations do you guys have?” – A recruit
Kids focused on stuff like this are often more interested in the glitz and glamour than they are the work that’s going to be required of them once they get to campus. Kids that love the game will be more than happy to go out and play for all the marbles in their practice jersey and pants.
11) “How many guys do you have on the roster at my position?” – A recruit
Many coaches shared with us that the concern with prospects asking this question is that they’re often not crazy about competition. Logic says that the less guys competing at the position, the more likely they are to play but coaching logic is a bit different because they want guys who embrace competition and use it as a platform to make them better.
12) Silence from a recruit, or head coach
This one goes without saying. Silence, especially from a recruit, normally means they aren’t interested in your program and what you have to offer. While that can be disappointing, it’s also an opportunity to recruit kids that WANT to be a part of your program.
Other nuggets that coaches shared include: “When kids blame their high school coaches for not getting recruited by bigger schools,” “I just want to hit somebody” – A recruit, (others being added as coaches continue to weigh in).