Oscar Smith vs. Highland Springs 2019 (Photo: Joe Barnes/recruit757)
Now you know the answers to some of the questions you’ve wanted to ask
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Occasionally a question will come up in an email or a direct message and after answering the question, I realize that others may want to know as well.
Here, as briefly as possible, I’m going to answer a few questions that are typically asked. It’s easy for me to assume everyone knows what we do and how we do it because we’ve been operating for over 10 years. Usually people are most engaged with us when they’re going through the recruiting process, either as an athlete or as a parent. New fans are coming on board all the time.
How do I get listed as an athlete on recruit757?
It’s our goal to include as many college bound athletes as possible. We establish a benchmark that includes the following criteria for being added to the database: 1. Varsity experience or a clear path to a major varsity role in the coming year. 2. Skill and academics that are likely to meet a college coach’s standards for recruitment. 3. When in doubt, we will rely on your high school coach’s endorsement.
Because of our requirements, you’ll typically see somewhere between 1 to 8 athletes per school in our database. We will not list JV athletes (unless requested by the varsity coach) and we cannot list every player on every team. This data is all compiled and added manually.
If you think you should be added to our database and you are a Virginia football athlete, feel free to complete our “Submit Player” form here on the website. Please only submit the form once. If you have already submitted the form, we have it. We don’t need two, three, four or more of the same information on an athlete.
We get loaded up on requests to be added to the database. Right now, we’re in the middle of adding 600 athletes. We’re at almost 250 of those 600 who are now “live” on the site. If you submit a “Get listed” form, please realize that we have to finish what’s already in the queue before adding more. It takes around 15 minutes per player to manually add athletes and we don’t have someone specifically tasked with that.
How do you choose who gets written about?
We want to write about everyone. It’s our goal to acknowledge every athlete who is pursuing a college scholarship by leveraging their skills in high school football.
With that said, we can’t be everywhere all the time. Currently, we have five writers on staff. Jim McGrath covers Northern Virginia exclusively. Byron Jones covers the 804 exclusively. Brandon Mitchell covers the 757 and the 804. Ricky Thomas, Jr. is interning with us and covering all of the state as needed. I cover the entire state as well. This is a part-time job for everyone but me, and there are only so many hours in a day.
If it were up to me, we would run at least 10 to 20 articles a day. Because our writers deserve to compensated for their time, we rely on revenue from camps, college scouting service and sponsorships to pay the bills. Right now, camps and sponsorships are on hold. We’re continuing to provide subscription-free content. That’s something you won’t get anywhere else.
As for who gets acknowledged, first and foremost it’s going to be the coaches and athletes who communicate with us. We are easy to reach. It’s a lot harder to write on a subject without input from the subject themselves. If we reach out and don’t hear back, we typically either have to move on to other topics or we write a shorter piece without input from the athlete or high school coach.
We want coverage for everyone. Here are some examples of what we could cover…. 1. A new scholarship offer for an athlete. 2. An athlete’s college commitment. 3. A particular story of interest about a player, coach or football program (i.e. comeback from injury, exceptional recognition, etc.) 4. A coaching change 5. Exceptional performances in season. 6. Game previews and intriguing match-ups in season. 7. Statewide or National stories related to the VHSL or NCAA. 8. Stories of significant academic triumph that opens doors for an athlete. 9. Crossover/Multi-sport success for a football athlete.
There are a few things we won’t cover. 1. Athletes transferring between high schools. We don’t want to encourage the practice. If the transfer is relevant to another point of focus, we’ll mention it. We won’t ignore transfers, but it won’t be the focal point of a story. 2. Rumors. We hear a lot of rumors. Patience is usually the best practice. We will not rush to be “first” on a hot lead. If we have facts we’ll share them. If it portrays a player, coach or program in a bad light, it also hurts the community. We’ll hesitate to hit those stories hard. 3. Criticism of high school athletes. Ultimately, these are kids we’re talking about. They need to be encouraged, not torn down.
If you feel that we might miss something along the way, the best way to reach out to us is on Twitter. You’ll see stories about some of the same programs because they’re easy to reach OR because they’re proactive about reaching out to us. Twitter DM is a great way to communicate.
How does recruit757 help with college recruitment?
The first way should be obvious. Publicity is a big help to aspiring college athletes. If you’re getting headlines, college coaches are going to know about you.
Part of getting recruited for college is marketing. You want the media to see you as notable. The other part of promoting yourself is directly reaching out to college coaches and letting them know you want to be recruited. It’s like applying for a job. Every college has “openings” every year. If you don’t “apply”, you’re not going to get “hired”. If you expect to work at Home Depot, they’re not going to come looking for you (unless you’re well known in the industry). One of the people who apply for the job will get the job.
Now, don’t be a stalker of college coaches. There’s a fine line between making coaches aware of you and begging for attention. Rest assured that if we’re writing about you, most college coaches will get to know about you.
The second piece is our scouting service. You may not see your name on the website in our database, but please know that we’re already well over 1000 athletes when it comes to the scouting service we provide. Dozens of colleges subscribe to our scouting service and they get reports on all of the eligible athletes that we can identify in the state of Virginia. Most of our college clients are on the east coast and recruit Virginia very directly. There are also dozens of college coaches who use what we put on our website, but don’t pay for the service and they’re missing out. You know who you are….
recruit757 provides camps as a showcase opportunity and some of those camps (like the annual Senior Showcase) are a direct recruiting opportunity.
We occasionally hold scholarship workshops where I will present information and answer questions along with several other experts so that we cover the entire recruiting process.
Lastly, we make ourselves available for questions, anytime. Want a strategy on how to get recruited? Have a question about the NCAA Eligibility Center? We’re here for you. Those questions are answered at no charge. If you’re a parent of a student-athlete, PLEASE DO NOT pay for a recruiting service.
There’s a company who’s nationally known and very well advertised that will charge you thousands of dollars to be added to their database where you have to maintain your account. They’re not helping you. College football coaches are not using that database unless they’re really having a hard time finding anyone to play football for them. There are almost 700 NCAA Football programs out there and the number gets closer to 1000 when you add in NAIA, NCCAA and NJCAA schools into the mix. There is no lack of playing opportunities.
Why don’t you cover other sports?
We cover football 12 months a year. We are the only outlet in the state that does that, with the exception of a few websites that are dedicated to a specific college football program. In order to cover the sport completely, we need to be on it seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Boys and Girls High School Basketball gets coverage from us in season and occasionally in the off-season. We don’t have a staff that’s dedicated specifically to basketball. We do our best to provide the coverage we can for those deserving athletes.
In order to cover other sports, we would have to hire staff who would cover each sport like we cover football. We would increase coverage of basketball before adding baseball, softball, wrestling, soccer, track and field, etc. There’s no lack of sports that want attention, but we want to do what we do well.
Why don’t you cover the 540? Southwest Virginia? North Carolina? Maryland?
We have to draw a line somewhere.
Our aim is to provide the best coverage possible. We include athletes from all over the state in our online database and in our scouting reports that go directly to college coaches.
Like the issue about covering other sports, there is more we can do in the areas we cover before we spread ourselves thin. If there were more revenue coming in, we could hire more content creators. While this IS a labor of love, the bills have to paid and content creators have to paid for their work. We would expand to cover the rest of the state before we move into covering other states. Right now, we cover approximately 220 schools in the most densely populated areas of the state. That leaves just over 100 schools that we do spot coverage on.
How can we support what recruit757 does?
There are several ways.
If you’re a parent and would simply like to financially support what we do so that we can hire more content creators and provide more content, you can support us on Ko-fi. It’s a site where you can donate as little as three dollars to show some love. In this time where camps and sponsorships are on hold, your support is especially important.
We would love to have some of the athletes we’ve covered over the years who are now in the NFL or are similarly well employed to give back to the community through us. Sponsorship would be fantastic and very welcomed.
If you’re a high school coach, you can always provide information to us and ideas for content. The door is open. We have a Coaches Corner section that is WIDE OPEN for your input. I can even edit your writing if you’re worried about how to say what you want to say. If you’d like to volunteer to coach at our camps, which happen typically four to five times a year from January to June, we would love to have your help. Just contact us.
If you’re a college coach and your school is not on board for scouting service, implore your head coach or player personnel director to add our service. We are NCAA approved. To confirm approval, NCAA compliance officers and coaches may find this service on the list of approvals linked here. This link requires an NCAA login and is not available to the public.
If you’re a business owner, we would especially love to bring you on board as a sponsor partner. Sponsorships run from $300 a month to $1000 a month and more depending on the amount of exposure your business needs or wants. Sponsorships can be annual, monthly, or even within a specific window of time. Your benevolence is appreciated, and we aim to have your sponsorship be an investment. The goal is to generate revenue for your business so that your sponsorship more than pays for itself.
If you’re an experienced content creator and would like to volunteer, we can discuss adding you to our staff as a photographer, videographer and/or writer. As mentioned above, paid positions are hard to come by until the company grows financially. We can grow you into a paid position if you’re up for it.
Lastly, regardless of your station in life (athlete, coach, parent, business owner) you can help us by spreading the word. Follow us on social media. Tell people about recruit757, recruit804, and recruitNoVA. Our goal is to help student-athletes get recruited for college athletic scholarships so that they can leverage their athletic ability into a college education that will serve them for the rest of their life. Help us help the community.
– Andy Hilton