Athletic Recruiting

Overcoming Recruiting Hurdles: Playing for Small High Schools

A small-town high school athlete charges with the ball

You often hear that if you play for a small high school or in a smaller conference that the big boys at Division I won’t recruit you as hard. While that can be true, it also is changing. Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote this past week about how Pitt has made it a point to look harder at players on smaller schools. Tre Tipton of the small Appolo-Ridge High School has accepted an offer to play for Pitt. He also had an offer from Michigan State.

Dann Kabala, Pitt’s recruiting coordinator, says that college coaches are looking for players from smaller high schools:

“I think our coaches have made it a point to get out and really hit this entire area, maybe harder than ever before and get to the smaller schools,” Kabala said. “I think maybe our coaches value some stuff that others don’t and that’s part of it.

“But I think the availability of film on the Internet lately and some other things have changed recruiting a lot.”

Especially if you play for a smaller high school or out in a fairly remote area, it is critical you have a positive online presence. A family in the tiny town of Lakeville, Indiana came to me once about how their son was not being recruited at all. I suggested they develop a NCSA online profile. When they did, his recruiting changed overnight. College coaches simply did not know he existed, and once they saw his online profile they loved how he could not be blocked covering kickoffs.

Here’s another key point from White’s article:

Ask Kabala and other college coaches for keys to being recruited and they will tell you it’s talent — and attending a few camps at colleges in the summer.

Talent might seem obvious in getting recruited, but many players, parents and even some coaches overrate the talent of a player. So college camps can be beneficial.

Michigan State and Pitt offered Tipton only after he came to their camps this summer. Jackson attended Pitt’s camp this summer and was invited back for a personal workout. Pitt then offered him.

West Virginia offered Thimons after he attended their camp.

“When you go to a college camp, there are no longer kids from small schools or big schools. Everyone else is the same,” Tipton said.

So it’s both knowing what camps to go to, and how to get invites. Again, working with NCSA can be very helpful in that area.

To talk to a college scout what camps to attend and how to be found by coaches online, click here

Former sports anchor Charlie Adams writes weekly on recruiting and motivation for NCSA


Motivational speaker Charlie Adams was a sports anchor for 23 years in markets such as New Orleans and South Bend, where he saw many families struggle with the recruiting process because of a lack of education on the subject. His son was a college athlete, his oldest daughter is a freshman college swimmer, and his youngest daughter is very involved in AAU travel team basketball as a 6th grader. Charlie’s new motivational program in 2014 is ‘More Than a Miracle,’ which explains how the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team was able to stun the Soviets and then take the Gold. For more information you can reach him at or go to


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Charlie Adams


  • Hi Justin: There are so many opportunities today, especially with the Internet, and while you’re in high school you can definitely start connecting with college coaches. I see you have a hudl account already. Feel free to create a free profile with us to increase your visibility to college coaches, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email or call us. Thanks!