November 10, 2009

Volleyball Recruiting Question #754


My daughter is a senior this year who has played volleyball since the 7th grade. She is only 5'8 but she has the vertical of a 6'4. She is one of the OH's for her team but she is also a utility player. Everyone who sees her play, says that she is one of the best players that they have seen in this area. Her coach told me because of her height, she probably could not get her a scholarship with a D1 school. I have found that most colleges aren't looking for seniors anymore. My daughter really would like to play for UT Austin because she wants to study Pharmacy. What are her chances this late in the game to even get a scholarship? Someone offered to make her a highlite DVD but he charges $450.00 is that reasonable? I don't know where to begin. I called the University of Florida and the University of Texas, but again all scholarships for seniors are exhausted. The assistant coach from U of F was really helpful. I was just wondering what you think her chances are, being 5'8 and already a senior?
Behind the 8ball

First of all - everyone take a deep breath - OK, much better.

It is at times like this, in which I have tremendous sympathy for families. Being passionate about volleyball and really wanting to keep playing after high school naturally adds a certain amount of stress to a young person's life. When you combine this with the zaniness of recruiting, high school volleyball, club volleyball, financial burdens and everyone's partially correct/incorrect opinions, it can easily get overwhelming.

B8B presented a number of good questions and I would think there are many players/families which could find themselves in similar circumstances. In an effort to provide some guidance/answers, I will break out each question/comment:

1. Height and Division I - I don't agree with the coach's (high school or club?) comments about not being able to play Division I because of only being 5'8". This comment leads me to believe that the coach may have not seen much Division I Volleyball or just watches the Big 12 or Big 10, etc. There are any number of successful 5'8" OH's on Division I rosters - They may not be playing at Stanford, or Penn State or Florida, but they are playing at many, many other schools (I know because they have played against my team and I have a 5'8" OH (or two)).

2. Colleges Looking For Seniors - A number of colleges are not looking for seniors (Division I), but many are still looking for seniors (Division I, II and III) and this number will only increase after the end of the current season. After the fall semester, things can change - Players get homesick, school sick (flunk out), an injury is not healing (medical hardship), just not into volleyball anymore (burn out); all of these things contribute towards scholarships becoming available. Not every Division I school has the luxury of being able to lock down 3+ recruits by the early signing period (many do - but many, many don't).

3. Scholarship at UT Austin for 2010 - The chances are very slim to zero for a volleyball scholarship at UT Austin for 2010. UT is one of those type of programs which commits their recruiting class 2 to 18 years out (I think they have dibs on Alumni children based on the height and athleticism of the father). The top programs are in a big hurry to lock up their next (never ending) recruiting class because there are only a handful of elite (and I mean All American elite) players each class. The top, top kids are easy to spot because they stand out at a young age and this is why you have the assistant coaches from Top 10 USA 'scouting' the 13's court now (slight exaggeration!). If you want to stay Top 10 USA, then you have to continue to lock up Top 10 yearly talent.

3 A. Another option, should UT Austin just be the end all for Pharmacy and Volleyball, is to pursue a walk-on position. I won't kid you about this because walking on to a Top 10 program is not easy; especially a state school (cheaper cost of attendance) located in a recruiting hot bed (many good players considering same option).

4. Highlight DVD - I do not know the going rate for putting together highlight DVD's, so I cannot give you a reference. I would suggest you consider the time/cost of doing it yourself, versus what the person offers. For instance, you can put together a solid skills tape (that is what most college coaches prefer to see, not highlights) in one afternoon. I have a link on the left side bar for making a Skills video/tape, which is a generic guide for what college coaches are looking for. But, if you don't have a suitable camera, access/ability to edit and burn copies, or a practice facility, then maybe spending this amount is a good deal if it is a quality DVD with a bunch of copies?

5.Calling Schools - Never be intimidated to call any school. This is one feature which I find refreshing about college volleyball, is that coaches (by and large) are still accessible and willing to point you in the right direction. If you are curious about the recruiting status of any program, give them a ring to find out. Glad to hear that the assistant from Florida was cool.

6. Chances - By taking your evaluation of your daughter at face value (5'8", big jump, reputation as a very good player), then her chances are excellent of obtaining a Division I scholarship. Please take a moment to read through my Recruiting Plan link and focus on the Senior year. Again, there are many schools still trying to find talented players for the 2010 class.

In closing, I encourage you to get ready for the club volleyball season by keeping an open mind concerning other schools with high rated Pharmacy programs, in regions outside your of your own and possibly re-evaluate the size and conference affiliation of the school.

In my years of recruiting, it is amazing the number of times a recruit will be dead set on going to a school with certain attributes (i.e. big school, name brand conference, big city), only to end up at a school that completely did not match the opening criteria because they kept an open mind and took some time to experience it all.

Please just slow down, breath a bit, enjoy the Holidays and prepare for a fun, exciting, rewarding club volleyball season! Bet you dollars to donuts that everything will be rosy by May!

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