5 things college coaches look for in athletes other than talent

With more than 1.1 million high school boys playing football across the United States (not to mention the thousands of hopefuls playing in other countries) and fewer than 16,000 athletes on NCAA FBS college rosters, competition for those spots is heavy.

So unless you are one of the elite few turning down dozens of full scholarships to pick and choose your school, it’s important to put your best foot forward.

Think of recruiting as a job interview. Hard work, perseverance and a good first impression are just as important as talent. Coaches want to see how you carry yourself, and it takes more than a good highlight reel to get your foot in the door.

Dylan Spadaccini at Stack.com recently offered five traits the college football coaches look for in prospective players other than pure talent.

  • Hard work on and off the field. The jump from high school to college is a shock for many athletes. All their lives, they were the big fish in little ponds, but all of a sudden everyone around them can play at the same level – and higher. Do you rely on that natural talent to carry you on game days, or do you outwork everyone in the weight room, in the film room and in the classroom to stay ahead?
  • Good sportsmanship. How do you act when the game is over? Can you be gracious in winning and losing? Do you take the lessons from a loss and use them to get better, or do you stew on the mistakes that other made? Student-athletes represent their schools as well as themselves. Coaches choosing between two equally talent players will take the one who will be less of a headache – every time.
  • Being goal-oriented. Setting a combination of short-term and long-term goals tells college coaches that you are thinking about your future and that you can take steps to get there. Be organized and active when it comes to making a plan. Don’t just take days as they come.
  • Passion for the game. Do you run every route, execute every block or make every read with your full attention? Are you willing to sacrifice yourself within a plan so a teammate can make a big play? Everyone at the college level has the skill to be there. What separates the players from the watchers is the emotional maturity to lift your team along with yourself.
  • Desire. Are you happy where you are, or is there more inside? Athletes need to have an inner fire to push themselves and the trust in their coaches to get them there. One more rep will make you better tomorrow than you were today. They say effort doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but coaches recognize it easily when they see it.

Link to original article in USA Football.

Joe writes for USA Football.