June 23, 2017

NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Recruiting Question

Hi my name is Jayden Sanford, I just completed my freshman year of high school. I am 14 and, 5"8 3/4 and I started varsity as MH/RS. I am an okay passer, and a good server. I have played club for 3 years, and have attended Nationals once in the USA division and placed 5th and I will be attending Nationals this year in the National division. I was wondering if I have a shot at playing D1 in college... I know the chance is slim but my dad is 6"8 and played D1 basketball, and I would like to follow in his footsteps but with volleyball. 

Thanks in advance.


As I have written online and with Inside College Volleyball, NCAA Division I is the bright light for high school players but may not be the best fit.  I have seen too many VolleyFamilies get hung up on that DI tag and limit themselves in the recruiting process or attain that DI goal only to have a terrible experience because it was not the best match for their collegiate academic and athletic goals.

Much of DI is driven by height; from Stanford to Samford, DI coaches want height.  With your father being 6'8" and your 5'8" (and 3/4) height as a 14 year old, you could well reach 5'10"+ by the time your Senior year rolls around.

For the majority of DI programs, 5'10"ish, will eliminate the Middle Blocker position and the elite DI programs as an Outside Hitter (should you be a great passer with a great approach jump, then it is possible to break into those power conferences, as recent history has shown);  but, mid to lower DI conferences routinely have 5'10" OH's, provided they can receive serve adequately.  As a RS (you mentioned MB/RS as your positions), this may be a bigger challenge, as many DI's load up on tall RS players, because they can convert a MB or poor passing but tall OH to the RS.

If your goal is stubbornly DI, then you should focus on vastly improving your passing skills and defense as to transition to the OH position.  Or, greatly increase your vertical so your 5'10" height jumps like a 6'3" player on the Right.

That being said, and you know what is coming next, look outside the DI category - There are great opportunities with fantastic scholarship packages for quality 5'10" MB's/RS's/OH's in the DII, NAIA and JC levels.

In my recruiting education talks for NCSA, I routinely state "Ability determines Opportunity"; the better your skills the more choices you will have in schools.  

You can't change height, but you can improve your talent to improve your options.  For those players which are not height normal for DI, they can 'make-up' for this genetic reality by working very hard to become the best possible player.


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