We caught up with Milton High School (Milton, VT) Athletic Director Michael Jabour. Jabour talked about his recruiting experience as a football player and his decision to transfer colleges. He gave advice to student-athletes going through the recruiting process:
Tell us about your recruiting process experience.
Coming out of high school, I set unrealistic goals thinking that I was going to be this star college player. I was set on going to play college football down in Florida without really doing a lot of research into the schools. All I did was look to see if they had football, what division it was, what their offense was like and their roster. There was no research that went into my first two years of the process besides going down to Florida and looking at the schools. I ended up not getting accepted to any of the schools I was looking at except for Jacksonville University, and they didn’t promise anything for football. My senior year of high school I fell into American International College, and all I cared was that it was Division II and ran a spread offense. I didn’t look at the school, get to know the coaches or the team, so I didn’t really take that part seriously. Looking back at when I transferred to Castleton University my senior year, I did it for all the right reasons: I liked the school, the students, the football players, I felt comfortable with the coach and I had an idea that I would be able to play. It took me three years to finally figure out the right steps in what I was supposed to do in the recruiting process. I definitely needed help from my coaches, my AD, and my family. When I started out, I did it all on my own. My advice is to reach out to people that you trust and keep an open mind.
What do you think the biggest issue is as far as lack of knowledge in the recruiting process?
A lot of athletes have unrealistic goals, and parents continually set the bar really high for their kids. They tend to do a lot of club sports and specialize in one sport, but they get burnt out by the time college comes around. The student-athletes have a tough time speaking up and saying they don’t want to specialize in one sport in particular.
What aspects do student-athletes need to look into to narrow down their college search?
No one knows what to look for in a school. Student-athletes only know if the school has the team and they’re interested in playing for that team. They don’t know to look for club teams, studying abroad programs, internships and other opportunities colleges provide students with. People are too focused on playing their sport, they don’t realize they need to look at what the school really offers. Also realizing how much time you spend as a college athlete is a major key to understanding if you want to play in college. Do your research on the community, on the school, and ask questions.
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.