AP PHOTO/MIKE FUENTES
Few are better qualified to advise potential scholarship athletes than 28-year DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) coach Bill McGregor. He's sent more than 300 players to play in college, including Brian Westbrook.
Mistaken views or opinions abound in the world of college recruiting.
ESPN RISE spoke to some leaders in both high school and college to find out what some of the biggest misconceptions are and how future players can avoid them.
ESPN RISE SIGNING DAY
ESPN RISE has complete coverage of National Signing Day, including Q&A's with some of the nation's top players and stories on how to get recruited and some recruiting misconceptions.
RISE spoke with Bill McGregor, the 28-year head coach at DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) who has helped more than 300 players earn scholarships, and Marcus Berry, Director of Player Personnel at the University of North Carolina.
Misconception: Talent alone will get you college scholarship
Talent will get you noticed, but place as much effort in the classroom as you do on the field and your college options will broaden. Many college coaches ask for a transcript before asking for a highlight when they talk to a high school coach.
UNC receives around 5,000 pieces of film during each recruiting season. On Signing Day, the Tarheels expect to sign 21 to 23 players.
Marcus Berry: "The kids need to buy into being a student earlier. If the elite players would just buy in academically earlier they would have a great shot. They buy in when it's too late. The kids don't realize how competitive it is.
"It's so competitive you have to have everything in a row: be a good kid, don't get in trouble, have solid grades, have a good test score early and try to get qualified before the end of your junior year. If you do that you enhance your chances."
Bill McGregor: "You have to have grades. It's 16 core classes, so time starts ticking the second you walk into high school. It's four years of English so that freshman English class is just as important as your senior year class.
"Summer school grades can replace regular grades at a lot of Division I institutions. If during the school year you got a C or a D in a class then go to summer school and get an A, they'll count that A instead of the C or D."
Not at Stepinac ! the highest grade you can get for passing a summer school course is a 65.
Misconception: Just showing up is enough
Tens of thousands of athletes will attend camps and combines this year, but only around 2,500 will receive a scholarship to a Division I-A school. While not everyone has the ability to play at Alabama, Texas, Florida or another BCS school, there are those that hurt themselves by not being prepared when it is their time to shine.
BM: "If you go to a combine and don't do well, you could eliminate yourself because it becomes public knowledge on the Internet. Say you're a 4.6 [40-yard dash] kid and you have a bad day and run a 4.9, now everybody out there says you're no longer a 4.6, you're a 4.9 guy.
"If you're going, you better know you're in tip-top shape. You go to a college camp for exposure. You're going to catch a college coach's eye. If you're going to the camp you better know you're going to run. There's nothing wrong with a combine because it's great exposure, but it could shoot you in the foot if you're not prepared."
MB: "Because the coaches can't come to combines anymore, they're really not that effective. You got to go to them to get your numbers out, but none of the coaches trust the numbers. They don't trust the number unless they do it themselves. You've got to get yourself out there and get some legitimate times at camps. If you run a 4.36 40 at the University of Tennessee camp and they get it out there -- [other college coaches] are going to go with it because college coaches actually did the time."
Misconception: A letter means they are going to offer
Every potential college-bound athlete has a letter in their possession, either from a college head coach or recruiting coordinator and the odds are that numerous athletes have the same letter.
BM: "Once a boy receives a letter they really think that college is recruiting them. They don't understand that letter is mass mailed out. Once they get really interested, recruiting letters become more personalized."
Misconception: I sent my film, so it gets seen
DeMatha is 270-37-3 in McGregor's tenure. The class of 2005 alone sent 18 players to the collegiate level.
UNC receives 30 films on prospective athletes per day. If a coach does not know it is coming, it might not get seen.
MB: "You have to send your film to a specific coach. They're the only ones who can evaluate them. A kid needs to go though his high school coach and find out who recruits that area for that school. Sometimes you can call into the office and find out.
"During the season its really hard for the coaches to get to [film]. That's why I tell the kids you got to get done before your senior year starts. You have to get evaluated before then. Because when the season starts the coaches are so into the game planning they don't really get to all the film. They don't even get to the watch the film of a kid they like that they've already heard about. If it's a kid they've never heard of, they hardly ever get to it.
"Have the high school coach call the college coach and tell him it's on its way. Don't just send it, you have to let them know its coming so they can be looking out for it."
Misconception: If I'm a big enough talent, coaches will look past certain things
Image is everything.
From the first meeting to the day you graduate college, college coaches are looking for talented athletes that make their lives easier -- both on and off the field.
MB: "I know a lot of our coaches, when they go into the school, they don't just talk to the coach. They talk to the principal, guidance counselor, teachers and other kids in the school just to see what kind of person he is.
"Kids have got to put themselves in the shoes of a college coach. If you're a corners coach and you're going to bring in two corners, aren't you going to make sure you're bringing in the best two corners that have grades? If you don't get the best two and they don't produce then you're out of job."
According to Berry, many college position coaches only receive one, two or three-year contracts with the three-year deals being very rare. That means, every year those coaches' jobs are on the line.
BM: "If you have the opportunity to meet a college coach, stand up straight, look him in the eye and give him a firm handshake. It's, 'Yes, sir. No, sir.' That college coach that is meeting you and has the opportunity of giving you something that's worth somewhere between $100,000 to $200,000. He's meeting a lot of kids so those first impressions are very important.
"At the college level it's a total business. They don't want a bad business deal that can cost them their job."