July 19, 2012

Still Time on the 2013 Recruiting Clock

My daughter is a 2013 6 ft middle who plays for one of the top teams in the county. Her team has beaten some of the best club teams in the country. So on any given day her team is better and on the other day the other team is better. At this point everyone on her team is committed, except her. But clearly she is hitting and blocking against some really good talent.

Academically she has a 4.0 gpa and a 30 on her ACT, and is interested good academic school. 

I know you have said there is still time, but we are really not feeling that. In hindsight we should have targeted more schools. we targeted schools who were ranked 50-100 based on who we were hearing from and what our coach indicated. Well all of those schools decided to go with a 6’4” or so middle and we had start all over. By that time, it felt as thought the schools we were looking at (they maybe were ranked 270) already had a few middles on their short list. 

Although our daughter emailed lots of coaches before nationals, the coaches on the 17s courts were few and far between. They really were mostly on the 16s court. I felt like if some of these coaches would have seen her, they might have been interested. But I think they want to finish too so they go with what they have seen.

So what to do.

She has an offer from a DIII school, two offers from DII schools. Unfortunately, none of these schools are her top pick. She does have one more visit at a DI school and that could be it. I can’t tell you how many coaches I have talked to and she has talked to that are done with 2013.

Will something really happen next year? I would assume we have to wait again until club for this to move along again? Anyway your thoughts would be helpful.  D.K.

Your feedback and observations are correct.  Many, many DI's are done, for now, with the recruiting process. And, for DI, the coaches are seduced by height, because height can be a hopeful indicator of potential ability.  Volleyball is a height driven sport and in the middle position, coaches want that tall kid no matter just how good or not good she is because they can't teach height (and many coaches learn, they can't teach skill improvement).

At this point, the best thing to do is step back, take a breath or maybe an Advil and regroup because this is a slow time in the recruiting process.

My suggestions:

1.  After your next DI visit, put the recruiting efforts on pause.  And DO NOT accept this schools scholarship offer (if they offer), if it is not the best fit - Panic buying is bad buying.

2.  Finish out July with just having fun in the summer, as best you can - This is the slowest time for recruiting and the reason it is slow, is it is in between recruiting efforts and collegiate coaches are all in camp mode.

3.  After she starts high school, put together a comprehensive list of schools which fit a rather wide range of possibilities - Academics, athletics, division, geography, ranking, etc.  You mentioned that you did not think your initial list was big enough, so don't make the same mistake twice.  You have an 'ace in the hole' - Your VolleyPSA's gpa and ACT score; this can easily open up many doors for significant academic scholarships with elite level DI programs.  DI coaches love, love, love those talented walk on players who carry a huge ACT because they are 'free' for the volleyball program because the admissions office extends the scholarship money.

4.  Many college coaches think they are done with 2013, but they are not.  The reason?  The 2012 season.  A large number of scholarships will open up during the 2012 season.  Kids get hurt, homesick, flunk out, are not good enough and get cut, coaches change jobs, etc., etc., etc.  I was in Vegas 2 years ago and the number of DI schools actively recruiting the current Senior class was mind boggling.  A former player of mine, who is now a DII coach went to Vegas this year and made the same observation (much to her chagrin because she was 'competing' with DI programs to recruit).

5.  After you have assembled your list, and it should include all the colleges who said they were done, put together a highlight tape of her most recent matches, and her most current bio information.  Send out all this information in mid to late October.  Basically something to the effect; I am a 2013 Middle and if you have an opportunity arise within your 2013 classes, please contact me.  By late October, coaches will start to know if they will have an opening.  Again, make sure that the lists includes potential walk on opportunities.

6.  Over the Christmas break, resend an updated outreach email to all schools with any post season awards and the current club information.  Also put together another skills tape from the opening weeks of club training, to be ready to send out as a primer to the next point.

7.  Absolutely go to the Las Vegas or Omaha President's Day weekend tournaments, in addition to trying to get into a high profile MLK weekend event (opening of the DI recruiting calendar).  

I know it is hard to believe, but there are still going to be a bunch of opportunities late and after the 2012 collegiate season ends.  Now, more than ever, stuff happens in college volleyball which results in late scholarship openings.  The new protocol for DI recruiting is to recruit every year; this means freshman to seniors are receiving scholarship offers during the same calendar year.

Hang tough; take a few weeks break because there is nothing to be gained except stress until high school starts.  Then, regroup and re-engage!


  1. AnonymousJuly 19, 2012

    One problem with the process outlined above is that it does not mesh all that well the timelines for academic scholarships. The regular admissions deadlines for many high-end colleges is in January or perhaps the beginning of February, but you need to get the paperwork in earlier than that for some of the best scholarships. My daughter shifted to college application mode when her senior HS volleyball season ended at the end of October. You are taking a bit of a gamble if you pass up potential academic scholarship opportunities for the hope of landing a late-opening spot on a team somewhere else. In my opinion, the student really needs to have a Plan B, just in case things don't work out on the recruiting front. That could be trading down the types of schools they are interested in, if playing is the key concern, or preparing to accept not playing at a school that has a higher academic reputation.

  2. I was just working on some DI data pertaining to this topic last night. My graph shows that 72% of the MBs (usually the earliest recruited group) were recruited in the period after the start of their senior year (based on the past five full years of my data - 2007-2011). For the DS/L position (the last position recruited), 80% of those are recruited after the start of their senior year. Overall, about 74% of the DI athletes are recruited in the senior year.

    Another graph shows that about 39% of the recruited DI MBs are 6-0 or less.

    1. 20 percent of liberos sign during junior year?

  3. Wow - Great research Rich. You are the College Volleyball Encyclopedia and I hope that VolleyFamilies take the information to heart. Many scholarship are committed early, but many are also committed late. The NCAA Division I scholarship offering time frame now goes from freshman to senior years.


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