Recruiting Season

by C.J. Aragon

It is recruiting season in many sports including college rodeo. This is a very busy time of year for coaches, practices, spring rodeos, fundraising and recruiting. It is an exciting time of year as well, building for the future.
From previous experience recruiting is not an exact science. In fact recruiting difficulties carry over to all sports. Five star recruits, walk-ons and everyone in between start with a clean slate as soon as they walk on campus. But they do not all come equipped with the tools to be successful at the next level. Some come with tons of talent, some come with character, a few come with both. Send me the ones with lots of character who just need the opportunity to be successful.
Recently I came across an interesting statistic, 37 of the 44 NFL Pro-bowl selections this year were three-star or lower recruits out of high school. Like I said recruiting is not an exact science, even for football programs that have huge budgets and hired professionals just to scout talent and recruit. The 37 recruits worked their way to success on the highest level and rest assured that it was not an easy journey. Through their character and development of their talent they were able to face many difficult times to find their way to the elite level they compete on now.
What talent scouts and recruiting experts struggle with on every level struggle with is sorting through the high school success and finding the true character of their recruits. How determined are they to be successful? How hard are they willing to work to be successful? How goal orientated are they? How good of a student are they? How fierce of a competitor are they? Can they motivate themselves on a daily basis? Can they avoid social distractions? Are they satisfied with their previous successes?
These are all good recruiting questions that are not easy for the coach to find answers to. From the high school level to the pro draft these questions may go farther in determining future success than the measurable numbers.
In the past I have had walk-ons with very little experience, and scholarship athletes with a great high school resume. The walk-on had the key character tools that we all look for, the talented kid had just relied on talent. Over the course of the first year the gap in performance was closed between the two based on the character of the athletes. By the second year the walk-on was out performing the high school star and had been selected a team captain by his peers. By the third year the walk-on was competing at the CNFR and the high school star had progressed very little from when he first arrived. (By the way the walk on did earn his scholarship after his first semester of school).
I have watched this unfold in the past, I see it currently, and I know I will see it in the future. This proves that no matter how much success you had in high school or early in your career you have to keep working. The hardest workers will find a way to be great no matter what sport or profession they choose. Character and hard work are the best equalizers, don’t let others beat you in these areas…

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