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6 things that college coaches actually look for in a recruiting highlight


Earlier today, Hudl published a piece after reaching out to Nebraska Director of Player Personnel Ryan Gunderson on how recruits can craft highlight videos that college coaches are looking for.

For any college coach, their most valuable asset is time. Time they spent watching highlight videos is time they're disconnected from their family, their players, and other recruits, so Hudl provided a few tips for recruits hoping to make an impression with coaches at the next level.

1) Keep it brief and put your best highlights first to capture the attention of the viewer
If the recruit don't capture the attention of the coach in the first 45 seconds, chances are your film will end up on the back burner with the majority of highlight videos.

From Gunderson via Hudl: “Always put your best stuff first. Don’t save your best stuff for last. Put it up front. You may only get 30 seconds or a minute of somebody’s time and if that doesn’t impress them right away, they’re not going to turn your film back on.”

2) Variety is best
A quarterback throwing 10 hitch routes, or a running back only carrying the ball outside the tackles doesn't typically show the set of skills that college coaches are looking for. If the recruit is a running back, college coaches want to see what kind of speed the kid has, but they also want to know if he can be a physical runner between the tackles, how he blocks in pass protection, and if he can catch the ball out of the backfield. The same goes for quarterbacks - their highlight video should show them completing a variety of routes. Also, if the kid plays a number of different positions, be sure that is highlighted as well.

From Gunderson: “It’s good to showcase your speed, your variety, your change of direction, all that type of stuff."

3) Music doesn't matter as much as you may think
I would say that 98% of college coaches watch highlight videos on mute, so whether you pick the latest track from Future, or the Super Mario Brothers theme song, chances are good that college coaches aren't going to notice. However, with that said, it probably wouldn't be a good choice to go with a hit N.W.A song in the event that you send your video off and it gets played in front of the entire staff at full volume during a staff meeting.

Gunderson also noted that you should never interrupt a play to spotlight yourself, make sure that is done at the beginning of the play to make it easier for coaches to judge overall athleticism. Choppy videos can make that task very hard.

Head here to read the full piece from Hudl.

After reaching out to a number of college coaches, they echoed many of the things Gunderson points out and then provided the following additional tips to go along with what Hudl and Gunderson laid out.

More than one former college coach sent that advice in all caps, so that should be a great indicator of how important it is. Show plays that display your athletic ability first. Chronological order means nothing to coaches.

A few college coaches shared with me that realistically, you've got 4-5 plays to make an impression with most coaches. Those will determine whether they watch more.

5) Highlight who you are on every play, and do it before the snap
College coaches want to see how kids play from whistle to whistle to judge athleticism, motor, nastiness, and a variety of other factors - so make sure you highlight who you are before the snap every time. It does more harm than good to throw a highlight into a clip 15 yards down field because you end up with a pancake block in the seconds that follow (see #3 again).

6) Include your core GPA and ACT / SAT scores
Whether it's in the video intro, or the information is easily accessible on your profile, make sure that coaches know where you stand in the classroom. Because no amount of athletic ability will get you into most schools, or the NCAA Clearinghouse, if you don't have the grades and coaches are going to want to have that information ready.