Hear What Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald has to say About Recruiting and NCSA

Northwestern Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald delivered the keynote at the annual Tom Lemming All Area Banquet in Chicago recently. He had some valuable things to say that apply to recruiting in all sports. I watched his Talk on video and thought he had tremendous insight into the realities of recruiting. I jotted down some things that he said that stood out. Here they are:

“First off all, to NCSA, thank you for helping young people reach their dreams.”

“Every recruit I talk to I promise them one thing: athletics will end. The number one thing is to be marketable academically. You would be shocked how many kids I look at where their 10th and 11th grades are okay, but because their 9th grades were terrible, I can’t recruit them.”

“It is up to you to get on lists. As far as video, we want hilites, an appetizer where we see you make some plays. That needs to be followed up with a best game tape. If an offensive lineman gets beat on a tape, we watch how he responds. If a defensive player gives up a TD, does he pout or bounce back?”

“You have to take a very proactive approach in recruiting and find the right fit. Have a purpose on why you are visiting. Have questions. Do you see camaraderie in the locker rooms. Keep digging. Look.”

“We are looking for people with tremendous attitude. It takes zero talent to have a great attitude, and to go above and beyond the call of duty for team.”

“As far as where you can play in college, be honest with yourself. That’s hard to do at your age. There is no bigger waste of time than to compare with others. It’s about how you compare to your best self. Be honest with yourself. Improve. Say, ‘I’m not good enough yet.’ Set goals. Ask yourself what kind of legacy are you going to leave at your High School.”

“We are hear at this banquet. How many of you worked out today? You may have used tonight’s banquet as an excuse for not working out. Why didn’t you have a plan?”

– Pat Fitzgerald, Head Football Coach, Northwestern University

I encourage you to set aside 17 minutes to watch his complete talk. It is filled with recruiting insights that can help you understand what coaches are looking for in recruits.