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Recruiting Manual






Our philosophy is that as a coaching staff we will not lie for you. We will speak honestly about every player and parent within our program.  We will never lie for a player.  What you produce, academically, athletically and within the school is what you are.  Give us a reason to brag on your character and integrity.


We will also speak honestly of the parents and their involvement when it comes time for recruiting.  We want to brag on the product that we have, however we cannot lie to people and destroy our reputation.


Cary High School is bigger than a football team or just one person.  Cary’s reputation deserves our honesty!



Character / Perception and Reputation


Recruiting is a continual interviewing process for both parties (recruiters and student-athletes).  However, the colleges are the ones that offer aid and scholarships so it’s important to present yourself in the best fashion possible.  Many coaches (after speaking to your high school coaches) will ask, teachers, guidance counselors, the cleaning staff as well as the cafeteria staff about you.  They do not want to invest money and time into someone they cannot trust.  If you have a history of getting into trouble, being unreliable, taking short cuts, being disrespectful, or having the perception of being not genuine they will find out.  The best thing to do is conduct yourself at all times as though someone is watching (because truthfully someone is).  If a college coach calls you, the best thing to do is be respectful, address him as sir, and thank him at the end of the call for taking time to talk to you.  This will show respect and entice him to call back again.  College coaches have thousands of kids on their list to choose from when calling.  The more calls they make the less personal time they have with their families.  What are you going to do to stand out in their notes to make them call you back again the next week.  Remember it is an interview!


Character cannot be faked or be a part time ting.  This staff is here to help you and will do anything possible for you but WE WILL NOT LIE FOR YOU!  If we lie for one person the word will spread and colleges will no longer recruit our school.  Earn the right for our coaches, faculty, and staff to brag on you because we want to brag on you!


Recruiting Services


The coaches at Cary High School do not endorse any recruiting services.  If you want to spend money to assist in the recruiting process, please feel free to donate to the football booster club.  The coaching staff compiles and updates recruiting information regularly for college coaches.  We have Hudl which we use to share game film, create highlights, and provide prospect information online.  All of which are shared with college coaches throughout the country on a regular basis.


We are blessed to have coaches on our staff that have either played or coached at the collegiate and/or professional level.  We have coaches who have helped numerous student-athletes receive college aid and scholarships.  In our experiences, recruiting services cost a lot of money for little if any result.  They are businesses that have the main objective of making money for their personal gain. And they do not work for colleges, nor do they personally evaluate the players on a daily basis like our staff does.  Many recruiting services will report to the parents that those college coaches have a sincere interest in your sons.  They are only concerned about a short period of time and the money they can make (they have no obligation to your after signing day).  We as a staff are concerned with your son while he is here, as he moves forward to college, and the rest of his life!




Camps have become a valuable recruiting tool.  However, blindly showing up to a camp does not always bode well for athletes.  We ask that you and your family discuss camps with the coaching staff prior to attending them.  We will evaluate together what camps are best to go to and make sure you are not wasting money on ones that will not benefit you during the recruiting process (i.e. grades do not match the school’s admission policy, their needs in recruiting that season, or talent level does not best suit that level of competition). We will keep a record of every school camp you attend and call ahead to see what they need us to prepare for you.  We will call after the camp to get an honest opinion of their assessment.


We will also attend a team camp that will allow for you to be evaluated by college coaches as well as allow our team to bond together while building for this season.


If you have any questions please contact our coaching staff to assist you. We are here for you during the recruiting process.





Core GPA / Transcript Release


The testing that is required to go to college is offered numerous times throughout the year.  Potential student-athletes for NCAA athletics need to begin the test taking process no later than early spring semester of their junior year. The test will help the coaches at Cary High as well as colleges assess what type of colleges we need to target.  Waiting until your senior year to take the test will put you behind other athletes in the country.


College coaches will ask, during their spring visits, first about a young man’s grades and when they have taken the “test”.  This refers to their current ACT/SAT score and when it will be available. Second, they will ask about a potential recruit’s character.  All the pieces are important in the process but the prospect cannot be recruited unless all the pieces are there. We will offer any recruiting coach an unofficial transcript (as long as the release form has been signed by a parent or guardian prior) and prepared evaluation based on the student’s core GPA to assist the colleges in recognizing our players.


It is important to understand that college coaches travel to hundreds of high schools and a college football staff have thousands of kids to evaluate.  We need to have our players prepared to have all these things completed so they do not fall to the bottom of piles of coaches’ desks around the country.


Information about Standardized Testing:






Remember, no one plays a football game without practicing.  Taking a standardized test is similar.  Study before taking a test, attend an ACT / SAT review class, and give yourself the best chance you have to have a great future!


Clearing House (NCAA Eligibility Center)


First of all, make your intentions known to your high school guidance counselor and coach.  They can assist you in this process.


Second, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse during or just after your junior year of high school.


We as coaches at Cary High would like for any junior interested in possibly playing football in college to register for the NCAA clearinghouse during their Junior year of high school. This will allow us to better assist you in the recruiting process.  Colleges begin assessing the student-athletes they will recruit at this point in their careers.  Since junior days and official visits are now essential in the recruiting process we need to have our athletes registered prior to their visits.  Colleges are not allowed to offer a formal written offer to a student-athlete who has not been registered



Signing Day


Signing Day for the NCAA is the first Wednesday in February.  There is also now an early signing day for Division I football in mid-December. A student-athlete may receive a written or verbal offer prior to this but nothing is official until the National Letter of Intent (NLI) is signed. We request that offers go through the coaching staff so that we have the ability to hold the colleges accountable for the offer. Coaches who only communicate with the parents or the players often feel very little accountability since they are only recruiting that player for one year.  However, once they have given confirmation with the coaching staff they know they will be held accountable for years to come in that school, community, and area.  We will welcome all colleges to recruit our players but will not continue working with colleges that “pull” offers for any reasons other than grades or behavioral issues.


We will encourage our student-athletes to explore all opportunities before committing to a college.  Your reputation is only as good as your word, so once you and your family choose a school, our staff will inform the other institutions of your intentions.  “Flipping schools” is not good for the program or your decision making process.  Be informed, educated, and make a decision for the right reasons.


Signing day is the first permissible day to sign grant-in-aid, however players can and will at times be offered financial aid after that day.  Division 2, Division 3 (academic or need based only grants), junior colleges, and NAIA schools will often recruit players months after signing day.


Please understand, even if a student-athlete signs a scholarship it can be rescinded if grades fall below NCAA requirement, the student gets into trouble in school, arrested out of school, or lied on their college application.


Scholarships (Grant-in-Aids)


Scholarships and grant-in-aids differ based on the level of athletic competition an athlete signs with. Division 1 (FBS) are complete aids offered without anything other than athletic money.  Division 1 (FCS) begins to get a little more tricky.  A private or state school may create a package with separate things inserted including loans.  Division 2 and Division 3 schools will do the same.  They will term them “packages”.  It is extremely important that we obtain this “package” prior to signing them to define what each source listed is.


Students eligible for need at need aid (Pell Grants) at FCS schools need to see if the school is “stacking” the money or allowing it to be used by the student for permissible expenditures while in college.


There is a difference between Full Grant-in-Aid and Total cost of Attendance.


Scholarship Breakdown by Division


NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)
How many schools: There are over 120 schools competing in the FBS (formerly Division I-A), the highest level in the collegiate ranks. This includes the big programs like Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson, UNC and NC State.


Scholarship count: FBS programs are allowed 85 scholarships on its roster at any given time, and generally can sign around 25 players per year.


Scholarship breakdown: All 85 scholarships are full rides. There are no partial scholarships given in FBS football.

NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)
How Many Schools: There are 120+ schools competing in the FCS (formerly Division I-AA). This includes all of the Ivy League schools and FCS schools like Elon, Western Carolina, and Furman.

Scholarship Count: FCS schools have 63 scholarships to be distributed, and up to 30 incoming players each year can be given aid.

Scholarship Breakdown: Scholarships at FCS schools can be full or partial rides. The 63 grants can be divided up in any way, but no more than 85 players can be put on scholarship.

NCAA Division II
How Many Schools: There are 150+ schools competing in NCAA Division II. Some of the more well-known Division II football programs include Delta State, Northwest Missouri State, Valdosta State and Grand Valley State.

Scholarship Count: Division II programs have 36 scholarships to be distributed, though some conferences don't allow their schools to have that many.

Scholarship Breakdown: Football scholarships at Division-II institutions can be divided among as many players as a program wishes. Most Division-II players are on partial scholarships.

NCAA Division III
How Many Schools: There are 230+ schools playing Division III football. That includes powerhouse Mount Union (Ohio), which has won several national championships and local schools Methodist, Guilford, Greensboro.

Scholarship Count: There are no athletic scholarships in Division III athletics.

Scholarship Breakdown: Though there's no chance of getting a football scholarship at a Division III school, it is possible to receive an academic scholarship or a need-based grant that can help financially while you play football.

How Many Schools: There are 92 schools that play football in the NAIA. The powerhouse NAIA programs include Carroll College and Georgetown (Ky.)

Scholarship Count: NAIA football programs are permitted 24 scholarships to be spread out in any way.

Scholarship Breakdown: Partial scholarships are common. Strong students meeting a certain academic criteria can receive aid without it counting toward the 24-scholarship limit.

How Many Schools: There are 68 schools that participate in junior-college football nationwide. Some of the best include Butler (Kan.) Community College and Pearl River (Miss.) College.

Scholarship Count: NJCAA programs are permitted 85 scholarships.

Scholarship Breakdown: Many states, like Kansas, Texas and Mississippi, require its junior colleges to reserve a large number of space on the active roster for in-state talent. Kansas jucos, for example, must have 43 Kansas high school graduates on its 55-man active roster.


Information Guide for Football Players (Questions for College Coaches)


  • What is the graduation rate for football players?
  • Are there tutors available for football players?
  • What is the average GPA of your team?
  • What is the student to teacher ratio?
  • What are the academic requirements to remain eligible?
  • What are the admission requirements?
  • What majors do you offer?
  • Does your school offer graduate programs?


  • What is the total cost for school?
  • What grants are available?
  • What other types of scholarships are available?
  • Are there any materials (pamphlets) you can share with me that offers details in financial aid.


  • How many players at my position do you have on your roster?
  • Do you offer early enrollment?
  • How many walk-on positions do you take annually?
  • What is a typical workout day during the season and during the offseason?
  • How many coaches do you have on staff?
  • Do the football players house together?


  • What is the campus lifestyle like at your college?
  • What type of social activities do your student athletes participate in?
  • What is the community like in the area?




Student-Athlete’s High School Eligibility Timeline

This timeline is focused for student-athletes planning to attend a NCAA Division I or II institution. Certainly all student-athletes can benefit from this information, but the Eligibility Center pertains to DI or DII.



Freshman Year

  •   Learn more about the process of becoming a student-athlete in college at www.eligibilitycenter.org
  •  Keep your grades high and work on your study habits
  • Talk to your counselor about NCAA core class requirements; make sure you take classes that match your high school’s list of approved core courses (available online at www.eligibilitycenter.org under Resources)
  •  Get to know all the coaches in your sport
  • Attend sports camps
  • Realistically analyze your ability
  • Start thinking about academic and career goals


Sophomore Year

  • Keep up your grades
  • Take the PLAN and/or PSAT test
  • Take classes that match your high school’s List of NCAA Courses. The NCAA Eligibility Center will use only approved core courses to certify your initial eligibility. You can access and print your high school’s List of NCAA courses at www.eligibilitycenter.org.  Click the NCAA College Bound Student-Athlete link to enter and then navigate to the “Resources” tab and select “U.S. Students” where you will find the link for the List of NCAA Courses.
  • At the beginning of your sophomore year, complete your online registration at www.eligibilitycenter.org.
  • If you fall behind, do not take short cuts. Classes you take must be four-year college preparatory and must meet NCAA requirements.
  • Talk to your coaches about your ability and ambitions
  • Make preliminary inquiries to colleges that interest you (a brief e-mail to the college coach is appropriate)
  • Lift weights and stay in shape in the off-season
  • Attend sports camps


Junior Year

  • Keep working on your grades!
  • Talk with your counselor about career goals and, again, about the NCAA core course requirements
  • Talk with your coach about a realistic assessment of which college level/division you can play
  • Take the  ACT and SAT
  • When taking the ACT or SAT, request test scores to be sent to the eligibility center (code is 9999)
  • Refine your list of possible college choices and know their admission requirements
  • Prior to registration for senior year classes, check with your counselor to determine the amount of core courses that you need to complete for senior year
  • Send emails to coaches expressing your interest & begin making unofficial visits
  • Obtain letters of recommendation from core-academic teachers (be sure to provide teachers your resume with academic, athletic, extracurricular credentials along with any awards)
  • Attend sports camps in the summer
  • Ask your counselor to send (upload) an official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center at the end of junior year.

Senior Year

  • Senior year grades are important!
  • Meet again with your counselor to ensure that you are meeting all graduation and NCAA requirements
  • Sign the final authorization signature online on or after April 1 if you are expecting to enroll in college in the fall semester. (If you are expecting to enroll for spring semester, sign the final authorization signature on or after October 1 of the year prior to enrollment.)
  • Review your amateurism questionnaire responses and request final amateurism certification on or after April 1 (for fall enrollees) or October 1 (for spring enrollees)
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid workshops
  • Retake the ACT and/or SAT, if necessary. The Eligibility Center will use the best scores from each section of the ACT or SAT to determine your best cumulative score
  •  Refine your college list and apply for admission
  • Be aware of recruiting rules regarding campus visits
  • Complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1 (income may be estimated—remember financial aid is awarded until $ runs out)
  • Sit down with your parents and coach to list the pros and cons of each school you are considering
  • Be sure of your final choice before signing any papers
  • Have your high school guidance counselor send (upload) a final transcript with proof of graduation to the NCAA Eligibility Center
  • Let coaches know when their school is no longer in the running. Thank them!
  • Make your final college decision based on a meaningful education, excellent career preparation, and a satisfying athletic experience—IN THAT ORDER!