Beyond the Stats – Coaches on the Recruiting Process

Even though the 2019 recruiting class is still tying up some loose ends, the focus has already landed on the class of 2020. Some athletes such as Chaparral quarterback, Jack Miller, and Pinnacle QB, J.D. Johnson have already committed heading into their senior years with many more to come.

The recruiting process is often a new experience for high school athletes and their families. The process is unique for every student, but for all, the process also focuses on stats off the field. At Sports360AZ, we contacted some coaches in the west valley to talk about the trends of the process and aspects of recruiting that parents and students don’t realize.


Questions Beyond the Field

One thing that can be hard to understand is how much of recruitment is done beyond the stat sheet and even the report card. Recruiters go beyond film and grades to look at an athlete’s personality and how they might meld into the program.

“One thing that parents, fans, and even the athletes might not realize is the number of character questions we get in the process,” Desert Edge coach, Jose Lucero, told Sports360AZ. “To me, I feel like the film and measurables attract the scouts. Without great film and without great measurables coaches have nothing to go on to recruit you. The grades keep their attention after watching the film. Without the grades to get into the school these places won’t recruit you.”

Desert Edge ended their first season in the 4A Conference at the state semi-finals. Defensive lineman, Nassir Sims, has signed with San Diego State and linebacker/running back Milton Rodgers will play football at Independence Community College.

“I believe a kid’s character is what cements the offer. Coaches often ask ‘What kind of kid is he? How does he do in the weight room?’ Or, ‘does he love football?’ A solid answer for these questions is often what puts a kid over the top.”

As a multi-time championship coach, Richard Taylor at Centennial has seen his fair share of athletes sign with a variety of different schools. Taylor said there is a new question raised by recruiters in recent years.

“They ask about grades, how hard they practice and one thing they’ve been asking about in the last year or so is how involved are the parents? I said, ‘wait a minute, you don’t have parents calling you?’ They said, ‘yes we do. We don’t like it and we don’t want it.’”

The Coyotes have already had six recruits sign including cornerback, Kieran Clark with Nevada and center, Carson Keltner with Air Force, and others with more decisions pending.


The Six Degrees

The world of college football may seem massive with over 250 schools participating in NCAA’s Division I alone.

Have you ever heard of the six degrees of separation? In short, the theory states that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. If that is true, how many recruiters do you think converse with each other about prospective recruits?

“Word gets around if you’re an ideal recruit or an athlete that will waste a coach’s time,” Peoria head coach, Will Babb said. “You are as responsible for your recruiting as your coach and the coach recruiting you.

“College Football can be a small world and coaches talk. If you aren’t interested in a school, be honest and allow that coach the chance to spend his time recruiting someone that is interested.”

Two Peoria Panthers found DI schools for 2019. Offensive lineman, Jacob Golden will head to Boise State, and running back, Juwaun Price, signed with New Mexico State. Panthers’ head coach, Will Babb, was a quarterback for Peoria in the 1980s and now watches some of his best players enter the recruiting process.


Emphasis on Process

As Desert Edge’s Jose Lucero reminds us, there are many recruits out there.

“A coach might really like you but if you are the 5th guy on his list and he has 4 offers for your position you aren’t going to get an offer.”

There’s a reason why it’s called a recruiting process. You must pass trials of not only great film but also great character through multiple sources. To get an offer from a college there are a lot of doors to go through before the ’okay’ for an offer passes.

“Unless a kid is a 5-star type of kid the process takes a long time,” Lucero said. “Usually the coach who comes to your school gathers the info on the recruit, then in some cases a team of scouts review the film before it is recommended by those scouts for the position coach to even watch it. Then if the position coach likes it he presents it to the head coach and finally, he can get the green light to make the offer. This isn’t how it goes in all places but many operate like this, and in these situations, if you don’t pass on that level you don’t have a chance for an offer.

“Because of this, I tell my guys to be patient and to continue to control what they can control. Work hard, get good grades, and be good people on and off the field.”

Even if you’re not going through the process of receiving an offer to play at a Division I school, there is still a process for the DII, DIII, NAIA, and NJCAA levels.

“I think the first thing that athletes and parents need to know about recruiting below the DI level is schools will recruit athletes that have a mutual interest in them,” Babb said.

“Limited budgets and time in Arizona to recruit such a big area can be a problem for colleges. Schools are going to focus on the athletes they like but also athletes that filled out an application, do their research on the school, and replied to texts or direct messages.”


As the 2020 recruits begin talking to prospective colleges, keep in mind exactly what the process is like. It’s long, uncertain, and takes more than just being a good athlete.

Character. Measurables. Involvement. Research.

Best of luck to all the prospective recruits and keep it to Sports360AZ for all recruiting news.