March 13, 2017

Interpreting NCAA Division I Volleyball Recruiting

My daughter is starting her 16’s club season as a 5’11” OH.  Having been on the national stage the past (3) seasons, she and her teammates are getting plenty of college attention.  

We have now made several visits to D1 colleges and met with the volleyball staffs.  The programs ranged in RPI last season from #28 to #289. We keep hearing the following: “you are in our top 3”.  

My feeling is this is a completely useless assessment.  Knowing we are merely in consideration helps us not at all.  Knowing we are #1 or NOT in the top 3 is much more helpful in determining a future or a recruiting timeline with a given program.  Does this imply we have set our sights too high at D1?  

What is your view of this?


Yours is a very good question, which a large number of VolleyFamilies need to be asking - What does the college coach really mean?

What the college coaches are telling you, is that your daughter is the back up scholarship offer, if their #1 does and #2 does not accept (and maybe #3).

I would hope that college programs are not encouraging or accepting an unofficial visit, unless they are sincere in their evaluation.  Unfortunately, some may just accommodate an unofficial visit request as to not offend your family, thus not risking a poor word of mouth review.

NCAA Division I encompasses such diversity in the recruiting stratus; from budget, to athletic department support, to fans, to scholarships, to staffing, that is is hard to throw a rope around all the DI schools for generalities. 

From your information, I would asses the following:
  • A 5'11" OH is not going to be the #1 recruit for a top 30 program, unless she has outstanding ball control skills and huge hops.  The reality is the top D1 programs are securing OH's that are 3 to 4 inches taller.
  • Those programs in the 50 to 100 range, are all trying to secure that 6'2" OH and will stall out the less than 6' OH's - These are the NCAA bubble teams and height tends to make a lot of things right.
  • For the DI's which are 100 and below, a talented 5'11" OH would be a solid recruit.  For those DI's which are numbered 175 and below, a talented 5'11" OH would be Golden (like Greenwood).
  • Much of DI recruiting success depends upon the time frame of the recruit.  There is a certain pressure to commit early in today's recruiting climate (which I feel has lead to a large number of transfer situations).
  • If you are looking to commit soon and be done with the craziness, then target those DI's 150 and below, which have the location and academics desired.
  • Should you be comfortable waiting a bit longer, then target those schools 75 to 150, as they will be recruiting high but they will also be a bit more realistic about the height/talent they can secure.
  • For those top 50 programs, patience is truly a virtue.  Each year, they are many top 50 programs which recruit 18's club players because of scholarship openings (job changes, kids quitting, transfers, injuries, etc).  You could easily end up with a top 50 scholarship but you could easily end up with nothing.
As a sophomore, I believe you are conducting the recruiting process well, and now it is just a matter of patience and management.  Keep reaching out to those schools which fit your daughter's/family's comfort zone, keep communicating with those schools which you have already visited, and keep encouraging your daughter to improve her skill sets because Ability determines Opportunity.


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