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Since one of the first questions a coach will ask you is “Who have you been offered by?” you’ll be taken much more seriously if you can give them some names! If coaches know that you already have offers, it tells them that you have some level of talent and other coaches have already done some research on you.
It’s much more efficient to start with smaller programs and potentially work your way up to more competitive programs than by starting the process trying to chase around the defending national champions for an offer. Start small first, then if you are getting positive feedback—go bigger (if that’s your dream).
All coaches keep an eye on good local and state players—so if a certain recruit is getting a lot of mid-major attention, there’s a good chance that some of the bigger schools may come do their research too.
Too often, I would get calls about players who had no offers at all— that’s just a waste of everyone’s time. It will be much easier for you to get your foot in the door with UNC, NC State, Wake Forest and Duke if you are a prep player from North Carolina and getting offers from UNC-Wilmington, Western Carolina, Catawba and North Carolina A&T.
Coaches want to recruit the best talent they can find—players that other schools usually have interest in too.
Once you begin to get feedback from coaches about what level you can compete at, check out multiple schools at that level. Build momentum, continue to play hard and potentially work your way to other, more competitive schools that interest you if you dream of playing major college sports.
Personally, I attended a small school that was Division II (I-AA football at the time) when I enrolled, and I had the best four years of my life there. Don’t eliminate smaller schools who are interested in you, you may be missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience!