Dear Eligibility Coach:
Many DI schools recruited my son, but on signing day he did not receive any DI offers. He did receive three Division II offers, but we know that he is a Division I talent. What do we need to do to make sure he can walk-on to a DI school?
Coaches recruit many prospects in an effort to make a specified number of offers. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, in 2015-2016 there were 1,083,308 male high school football players. You indicate that your son is a Division I talent, but that he did not receive any Division I offers. Your son may very well have Division I talent, but for next year’s Division I college positions, the Division I coaches have decided to offer other prospects over him.
You seem to have decided to decline three offers for your son to not only play college football, but to receive scholarship money as well in order to possibly have a Division I opportunity as a walk-on. My question is this: Is that the best choice for your son based on his desires?
Generally, most prospects who sign NLIs are admitted to the institution that signs them, but NCAA certification is a different story. It is possible that a prospect will not be certified at a Division I school your son wants to attend and create an opportunity for him, but it will probably be very late in the summer before this is known.
Please understand that not all Division I schools have try-outs. There is nothing in the legislation that mandates that a school have try-outs. Therefore, you need to speak with the coaching staffs at the universities of interest to make sure they will hold tryouts before making a final decision to forgo other football opportunities.
Is your son comfortable with the reality of playing football from Sunday through Friday and the real possibility of never playing on Saturday at a Division I school? While there are some athletes who would rather be the 70th player on a championship team than a starter on a lesser team, there are also athletes who would rather compete in every game than watch teammates play. Neither is a wrong choice, it’s personal preference, but just make sure it’s your son’s preference, and not your preference that is the deciding factor before declining three offers to play college football. Best of luck to your son.