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Recruiting technology: Big schools athletes find guidance in various places
The Gazette takes a look at how the Digital Age has added to the increasing competition to get noticed in the world of college athletics.
The series began Sunday and ends Wednesday, national signing day.
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- Instant access helps Air Force in "intelligence gathering"
- Technology changes experience for AFA star Michael Lyons and younger brother
When high school athletes at big schools want to gain recognition from college recruiters, there are plenty of avenues to explore.
Social media has changed the game as far as all athletes being looked at by prospective colleges, but some still prefer the old-fashioned way.
Lewis-Palmer boys' basketball coach Russ McKinstry has watched recruiting evolve but maintains he’s just there to help in a supporting role. Last year, he was there for Colorado-bound Josh Scott. Now he's supporting Scott's brother Jordan through the recruiting process.
“I try to be that steady influence to guide them through the process and give them support as they figure out with their family which place they will be happiest,” McKinstry said.
It’s not necessarily hard for players at a basketball powerhouse like L-P to get looks. Josh Scott had several offers before deciding on CU.
“The really good recruiters utilize all aspects of technology, but it still comes down to building relationships in a one-on-one manner and (CU coach) Tad Boyle was impressive with Josh in that way,” McKinstry said. “Players want to get to know the guy who’s going to coach them for the next four years.”
For players who aren’t getting a ton of Division I letters, the Internet has become the tool of choice.
Wasson football and basketball player DJ Hanes used the website berecruited.com to get his name, stats and video highlights out there.
“I talked to the players about it last year and I helped DJ set up a profile,” Wasson basketball coach Damion Copeland said. “It’s a good website, and it gives you the opportunity to put highlights up and coaches see it.”
Copeland said while the website has helped Hanes’ process, ultimately it comes down to what he’s able to do on the field and court.
After using the site, Hanes has become a big proponent of Internet recruiting.
“It’s a big advantage to be able to get my stuff online for everyone to see it,” said Hanes, who recently visited Northern Colorado but has yet to commit anywhere. “It has been a difference maker and I’d recommend it to other high school athletes. Some coaches called and some showed up in person, but it helped.”
The chase to land Josh Scott last year was crazy, something that Doherty volleyball anchor Haleigh Washington can relate to. The junior – who led the Spartans to a state title in 2012 – had a lot of offers and a large number of interested colleges.
“I was getting four or five things in the mail each day,” Washington said. “I did my process differently than most people because I didn’t have enough money for trips to a lot of the schools. I narrowed it down and filled out questionnaires and called coaches to try to set up visits.”
Washington took visits to Penn State, Ohio State, Colorado State and Colorado, but found it to be an easy choice in the end.
“I chose Penn State because it felt like home when I took my visit there and I could see myself there,” said Washington, who can't sign until her senior year. “It felt like I’d already been there and could picture myself walking across the stage as a senior getting my diploma.”
The future Nittany Lion verbally committed in September 2012. She says while the Internet and social media are great, it comes down to meeting in person.
“I think technology is an awesome thing, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation,” Washington said. “A lot of coaches recruit for personality, because nobody wants a jerk on the team, no matter how good they are.”