Every college coach has his own philosophy on recruiting, and there is no book out there on how to find a college prospect. The typical coach will bring the all important radar gun and stop watch to every game they watch. These are the only tools that college coaches have to get factual data. The real science to recruiting is the ability to find that diamond in the rough or the athlete that hasn't hit his highest potential. Anyone can go out and put the radar gun to a kid and see that he is throwing hard or time a hitter running to 1st and see he has speed. The true test is watching a young man without those instruments and seeing talent too. That is what makes recruiting a challenge. Unfortunately, all that athletic ability doesn't matter if you don't take care of your academics.
The very first question to ask a prospect isn't how hard they throw, how fast they run, how many homeruns they have hit, or how many bases they have stolen. The first two questions to ask are, ‘What is your GPA?’ and ‘What are your test scores?’ (ACT or SAT). On top of needing to know your overall GPA we also need to know your core GPA. The core GPA and the number of core credits you have are the most important factors. These consist of your main classes such as English, Math, and Social and Physical Sciences. The number of core classes you are required to have when you graduate to be a qualifier out of high school varies depending on what year you graduate. If you have questions or don't know what those requirements are, you can find them at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net.
Now back to the recruiting issue. How good do your GPA and test scores have to be? The lower your GPA the higher your test scores must be. To make life simple strive for a 3.0 GPA or higher. The bottom line when it comes to academics is if you don't have the grades it doesn't matter if you are the next Nolan Ryan, you can't play baseball at a 4 year institution!
Baseball at the Division I level, if fully funded, will have a total of 11.7 scholarships to fill a roster. When you consider most rosters carry minimum of 35 athletes that isn't much money to spread around. College baseball programs must use every possible type of scholarship available.
Academic scholarships are the easiest to give to incoming students. Additionally, that helps the team Academic Progress Report, or APR. APR is a program that the NCAA developed a few years ago that deals with retention and graduation rates for student-athletes. Basically, it gives each student-athlete a point system each athlete can earn a possible 4 possible points for the year. The team also has a total percentage they must attain each year. If they go below that percentage they risk losing scholarships for the following year and possibly losing their NCAA Division I status. The one thing an athlete can control is in the recruiting process is his grades. Don't let grades be the reason you can't fulfill a dream of playing in Division I baseball!
The next questions a coach has are about your ability to be coached, your mental outlook, and what kind of teammate you are. When looking for prospects, I ask these types of questions of the coaching staff, teammates, and prospect. Coaches should always like to talk to teammates of the prospect to find out the type of person you are. Coaches should also speak to teachers of the athlete. These are things that you also can control by your actions on and off the field.
There are particular things coaches look for when watching a student-athlete. If things are/aren't going well for that individual how do they handle themselves? How do they handle themselves in adverse situations? Do they have the desire to get better and learn new things or do you believe you are good enough already? How do they carry themselves on and off the field? All these things are controllable by the athlete. These can turn a coach on or off instantly!
The last thing is his athletic ability. That is where it becomes an opinion of people and that is really out of your control. All you can do is work hard and play hard and let the chips fall where they may. There is no science to recruiting, but there are things the athlete can do to make a coach's job easier. Recruiting isn't about your athletic ability until you have taken care of the things that are in your control: academics, mental attitudes, interaction with others. Take care of the classroom work and you give yourself a chance to play college baseball!