Last week, I received an email from a junior prospect who needs to get bigger/stronger/faster. Needs to get into some college camps this summer. Liked his potential last fall. Still has work to do, but should be a solid recruit.
In the email, he mentioned about some college “junior days” coming up. Also said that he was expecting some offers from them. I dug up an old blog to use to comment on college junior days.
What are “junior days?”
Best answer – A group unofficial visit. That is, parents and the recruit have to pay their own way. They get to visit campus and meet with coaches. These “junior days” are not limited to just members of the 2020 Class. Prospects in the 2022 and 2021 Classes can attend, but by invitation, just as the 2020 are invited. In the old days, colleges tried to get as many recruits to a junior day and hoped that a few would commit.
Many programs use them as a way of introducing high school football recruits to the school’s program. Junior days unofficially kick off a year long recruiting process for juniors. They are starting to be more exclusive. Most are by invite only. Coaches can target more sought after recruits.
Players and parents get a chance to meet with the assistant coaches, but not always with the head coach in person. This is significant because NCAA rules prohibit players from making official visits until their senior year.
Coaches could not talk to recruits during school visits in December or now in January. They can not visit with recruits off campus during the spring evaluation period. Of course, the “bump rule” is used during this time, but no long discussions are legal. Getting to speak with assistant coaches, and, sometimes the head coach, is critical one on one “face time.”
Prospects are often encouraged to bring parents or high school coaches. They meet with the head coach. Additionally, junior days typically include meetings with not only with position coaches and coordinators, but with strength coaches, nutrition staff and academic advisors. The visitors take campus tours and/or attend a basketball game. Sometimes they participate in some serious football talk.
Obviously, a “junior day” works as a two-way deal. College coaches get to “eyeball” a perspective recruit. They also get to gauge how much interest a recruit has in their school. Sometimes coaches will talk football to see if a recruit can pay attention and understand what the coach is going to teach them. All in all, the college coaches can get the recruit’s perspective.
The recruit can see some of the inside goings-on in the football program. They can get a feel for the coach who will be working with them or the coach who will be recruiting them. This a good time to meet and socialize with some of the other prospects who are being recruited by the school. A player gets an inside look at the program with his own two eyes. Sugar-coated, but at least he gets a look.
Typically at larger “junior days” a recruit will not get an “offer.” At the more exclusive “junior days” getting an “offer” is a possibility. Some prospects verbally commit after attending a “junior day.” The problem sometimes is the repercussions from the ones whom did not get invited.
Please remember – JUST because a school invites you to a “junior day,” does not guarantee a school is recruiting you. For the college coaches, this time is also a good time to start eliminating prospects. Also, keep your eyes open and watch who the coaches spend the most time with. Sad, but this will give you an idea of hard the school is recruiting you.
Keep everything in perspective. Getting an invite can be exciting, because a recruit might feel like he is now being officially recruited by that school. Too often than not, this is not the case. “Junior days,” like almost everything in football recruiting – “If it is too good to be true, if might not be true.”