The following is a post by Bob Chmiel, a recruiting coordinator with decades of experience at programs like Northwestern, Michigan and Notre Dame.
(You can also catch him go into detail about unofficial and official campus visits on Facebook Live.)
Today, Coach Chmiel shares with us his perspective on the most important person involved in a campus visit.
Hint: It’s not who you expect.
The importance of the campus visit
After twenty years in collegiate football I’ve joked that there should be a home somewhere for former recruiting coordinators. This particular position on a staff can be very lonely and challenging work, finding the prospective athletes who will be the right match for a program’s needs academically, athletically, and in terms of our roster openings.
I quickly realized that young football players make huge decisions about programs based on their official recruiting weekend with the team.
And when it came down to it, it didn’t matter whether I was giving them personal attention or not, or if Coach Holtz was giving them personal attention, or if their parents were Notre Dame alumni.
The most important person of any campus visit was their host.
Why campus visits depend on this person
When you’ve reached the point where coaches are offering official visits to you, that coaching staff has invested in your potential at the school.
So the experience at the school has to be as perfect as possible. The one individual who will show you what campus life at the school is like has to be a special match. After all, he could make it or break it in the process.
When we assigned players to athletes coming in on official visits, it was after careful planning. The coaching staff detailed everything we knew about these young men, and matched hosts at each position with careful matches.
And then I brought in every host, told him about the young man coming to visit, and asked if he was comfortable with the arrangement. You cannot force a guy to host. It just doesn’t work. He has to be enthusiastic about the assignment.
At times I would challenge our players to pump them up: “Will you be a better host than he had last week at another program?” I asked. “Can you beat the other host on this guy?”
The host would help coaching staff think about players on campus visits
Of course, hosts had much more time with every player than I or coaching staff could.
So I would ask their impression. Does he seem interested in coming here? Are there particular factors that are weighing in on his decision?
And most importantly, I’d ask their honest opinion: Is he a great fit for our football family?
This question is critical. Every new player has to fit into the existing roster for the success of the team.
Their shared ownership in the process became a source of pride for our current players. In addition to remembering their own visits, they felt that they were members of a family where their voice would be heard, instead of being surprised by the written offers that we sent out to our top recruits after their campus visits.
If I were to come back to college football, this policy would be the first rule I set in stone. There is nothing more important than verifying a program is the right fit for athletes — and that every player is going to be the right fit for our school.
Our tools and experts can help you be confident you’re finding the right fit for your college playing opportunities. Get started with a recruiting profile today.