How to Get Recruited
Managing Recruiting
Sophomore Year Recruiting Checklist

Sophomore Year Recruiting Checklist

Sophomore year is a crucial time in the recruiting process. College coaches are beginning to spend more time evaluating your class and are keeping tabs on those communicating interest in their program. Follow the checklists below to stay on track to secure a college offer.

Ready to get recruited?
Create a free athlete recruiting profile and start gaining exposure to college coaches
Get started free

Summer Before Sophomore Year


Start Reaching Out to Your Target Schools

As you enter the Summer before your Sophomore year, there will likely be opportunities over the next several weeks to compete in front of colleges on your target list. While your recruiting class might not yet be the primary focus for coaches attending events this summer, it’s still essential to use this summer to begin communicating interest to your top schools. Try messaging coaches on your target list 7-10 days before an event to see if they plan to attend, and whether they might consider watching one of your games in person. Review our sample email templates for the essential points to hit.

Fill Out Recruiting Questionnaires

Completing a college program’s recruiting questionnaire will get you on its mailing list and communicate your interest in that school to its coaching staff. You can find recruiting questionnaires for every program in the country by searching for a school in the free School Search tool in your SportsRecruits account. Once you’ve found a school, visit the direct link to its program’s website and fill out the recruiting questionnaire.

Focus on Strength and Conditioning

Becoming a college athlete takes a lot of work. To make sure you are staying on track athletically, take the time to outline a detailed training routine for this summer. Let your athletic advocates know you plan to use this time to strengthen your athletic abilities. Your coaches and trainers are excellent resources here and can provide you with a tailored game plan focused on specific skills and areas for improvement.


Contact Your Target List of Schools

Reaching out to college coaches can be intimidating. If you haven’t already, start building your target list of 20-30 schools and send an introductory email to the coaches for each program. In the SportsRecruits Messaging System, you can find current contact information for the coaching staff at every program in the country. Once you’ve sent an introduction, remember you should be updating coaches with new information every 3-4 months. These updates can include new athletic accomplishments (such as an all-league honor), new academic accomplishments (like a strong semester or PSAT score), or upcoming events you’re attending. You can find a complete list of updates to send along with free sample email templates here.

Start Researching Fall Recruiting Events

Based on your recent communication with college coaches, you should be able to make informed decisions about which schools you need to get in front of this Summer and Fall. If you are having serious conversations with specific programs, look into prospect days or ID clinics on their program’s website. Many coaches like to evaluate student-athletes at the events they host because it allows them to work closer with potential recruits. If you’re not having conversations with coaches yet and need broader exposure, take the time to research showcases in your area, particularly those giving you exposure to several programs at once.


Publish Film from the Summer

As the summer ends, add any new video and valuable academic information (such as your 9th-grade transcript) that will assist coaches in evaluating you as a prospective student-athlete. If you can access in-game film from over the summer, find the best clips and compile a highlight reel using the free highlight reel editor that comes with your SportsRecruits account. Don’t forget to publish it to your SportsRecruits profile so that coaches can evaluate you when you surface in their online searches.

Review NCAA Rules for Your Sport

Although there are no rules for student-athletes about how to contact college coaches, it is still essential that you educate yourself on when they are limited in communicating with the Sophomore recruiting class. If you are contacting NCAA DI and DII programs at this point, keep in mind coaches must abide by the recruiting calendar in your sport and cannot contact you to have recruiting-like conversations every day of the year. If you are focusing on NCAA DIII, NAIA, or JUCO programs, they do not have communication rules, meaning coaches can contact you for recruiting-like conversations anytime. As you continue to build and refine your target list of 20-30 schools, keep an eye on the type of programs you’re adding so you know which are subject to NCAA contact rules and when they can start reaching out to you.

Message Your Target Schools

The summer before your Sophomore year is a critical time to introduce yourself to the schools on your target list. The SportsRecruits Messaging System makes contacting any program in the country easy. Each message is sent with a direct link to your SportsRecruits recruiting profile, optimized for online coach engagement and discoverability. Use our example email templates for inspiration as you send introductory emails to each school on your target list.

Sophomore Year Fall


Check-in With Your Athletic Advocates

It is important to constantly re-evaluate your target list of schools throughout your recruiting journey. We also recommend consistently checking in on this list with your athletic advocates. It allows you to hear from them about which schools they think might be a strong fit for you athletically. Your athletic advocates can also be a great point of contact for any college coaches interested in you but have yet to be able to reach out directly due to NCAA contact rules.

Check-in With Your Guidance Counselor

As you start your Sophomore year, schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor to confirm that you are on track academically with NCAA GPA requirements and core course requirements. Now could also be a great time to start thinking about potential majors you would consider. If you’re unsure which major you might be interested in, we recommend exploring the majors each school offers using the free School Search tool in your SportsRecruits profile. It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to study yet, but it would be wise to narrow your potential major choices to a few options, focusing on what interests you most and how well you perform in related classes. 

Review Rosters at Your Target Schools

Researching active college rosters is a great way to determine which programs on your target list may be looking for your recruiting year and position. It’s important to note that you should not give up on a school just because it has a lot of student-athletes on its roster who play your position. Some recruiting classes are position-heavy, meaning they must replace those roster spots in the upcoming years. Additionally, college coaches' needs can quickly change with more athletes entering the transfer portal than ever before.


Visit a Local College

It’s essential to see college campuses for yourself. Take the time to look up potential campus tour opportunities that would be easy for you and your family to travel to. There is also a chance for colleges to host Open Houses during this time of year, which gives you a ton of information about a school. If you are interested in going away to school, start looking into potential visit opportunities you may have and create a game plan with your family on when would be best to take a trip.

Fill Out Recruiting Questionnaires

Athletic programs use recruiting questionnaires to create a database of prospective student-athletes. Some schools also use it to monitor athlete interest. Once you are on the team’s mailing list, you will receive updates about the school, especially when they announce prospect camps that allow you to compete in front of the coaching staff. Typically, you can find these questionnaires on a college’s athletics website, or they will provide them in response to any emails you send the coaching staff. Use the free School Search tool to search for a school and get a direct link to their program’s website, where you can find their recruiting questionnaire.

Re-Evaluate Your Target List of Schools

Your target list of schools needs to be reviewed and updated every 3-4 months. Thanksgiving break is a great check-in point! As you progress through high school and learn more about your likes and dislikes, you better understand what you want to get out of your college experience. What you learn should be reflected in your target list. Until you’re further in recruiting conversations with specific schools, it’s essential to maintain at least 20-30 schools on your target list at any point. If you add more schools to your list, send an introductory email letting them know who you are and why you are interested in their program. 


Publish Film from the Fall

Now is an excellent opportunity to create a highlight video using footage from any games you participated in over the last few months. If you weren't in season and don’t have access to any in-game clips, consider putting together a skills video. Skills videos are a great way to showcase your work on a specific technique or skill and should only be about 2-3 minutes long. Make sure to publish your video on your SportsRecruits profile so that coaches can find it when you surface in their online searches. After you publish your video, reach out to your target list and inform them about the new footage. 

Prepare for Standardized Testing

If you plan on taking the SAT or ACT during your Junior year, consider looking into available PSAT or practice ACT exams or prep courses at your school. Although practice exams are not considered in the admissions process, they can be valuable in determining what type of preparation you’ll need to achieve your target score.

Sophomore Year Winter


Focus on Strength and Conditioning

If you want to play your sport at the collegiate level, you will benefit from creating and following a training routine throughout the Winter break. Let your athletic advocates know you want to take advantage of this time to improve your athletic ability. They can then help you develop a tailored game plan focusing on leveling up on skills or capabilities critical to your position. You can also find workout plans for student-athletes with similar goals online or by asking other student-athletes on your team what they do to improve as an overall athlete. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ve made in just a few weeks if you are consistent with a workout routine.

Start Researching Spring Recruiting Events

To maximize your exposure, start looking into prospect camps, ID clinics, or showcases that will get you in front of the coaches at your target list of schools. Around this time of year, some schools may post upcoming events on their team websites. If they haven’t added any upcoming events to the website, find and fill out their recruiting questionnaire to add you to the mailing list when those announcements are made. You can find every school’s website using the free School Search tool in your SportsRecruits account.


Write Down Your Goals for Spring Semester

Writing down your goals is much more likely to lead to you achieving them than just thinking about them. Identify a few academic and athletic goals you want to focus on this Spring semester. The short-term goals you identify for yourself are building blocks to your long-term goals for playing at the next level.

Send an Update to your Target List of Schools

The best way to stay on a coach’s radar is to send periodic updates whenever you have new information. These updates may relate to academics, athletics, video, or events. As a general rule of thumb, if it has been over 3-4 months since you last contacted a coach, you should be able to find a valuable update to provide them. We’ve shared free sample email templates here for inspiration.


Check-in With Your Athletic Advocates

It’s vital to consistently reevaluate your target list of schools and review them with your athletic advocates. Check in with them in the Spring of your Sophomore year and have an open dialogue about which schools might be a strong fit for you athletically. Your coaches and trainers know your athletic skills well and can provide you with honest recommendations for which schools to focus on. 

Review the NCAA Contact Periods

Remember, there are no restrictions on when student-athletes can contact college coaches. There are only rules and regulations regarding when college coaches can communicate with prospective student-athletes. Understanding when college coaches are restricted from communicating with student-athletes will help you manage your expectations about the type of response you can expect. During the Spring of your Sophomore year, knowing your sport's communication dates is incredibly important.

Sophomore Year Spring


Publish Film from the Winter

If you played this winter, whether in your high school season or club, now is an excellent opportunity to create a highlight video using footage from live games. Consider making a skills video if you did not play with your team over the winter. Skills videos are a great way to showcase your work on a specific technique or skill. Build and publish your videos on your SportsRecruits profile so that coaches can find them when you surface in their online searches. After you update your profile, reach out to your target list and tell them you have new footage. 

Update Your SportsRecruits Profile

Consistently adding new information to your online profile is crucial to your recruiting process. As you progress through your high school career, you are creating a resume that helps college coaches evaluate you and determine how you’d fit into their program. You must maintain your online presence. Use this month to add necessary information to your profile, such as your upcoming event schedule, academic or athletic awards, class schedule, extracurricular activities, and more. The critical information coaches are looking for is outlined in the athlete profile tab in your account.

Re-Evaluate Your Target List of Schools

Sophomore year is one of the most important times to check in on your target list. As you progress through your high school career, you will better understand which factors are most important to you in a college or university. With the SportsRecruits School Search Tool, you can filter every school in the country down to those that match the criteria most important to you, like location, academic majors offered, and athletic division. In many sports, you can also filter to schools where the current coaches have indicated they are actively searching for athletes in your class year and position. Use these filters to find your best college matches and introduce yourself to the coaching staff in the Messaging System.


Start Researching Summer Recruiting Events

As a Sophomore in their Spring semester, you are now in a position where more college coaches are starting to focus on your graduation year. Make sure you have the most up-to-date recruiting video on your SportsRecruits profile and have started picking a few recruiting events to attend this summer. Lean on your athletic advocates for help determining which prospect camps, ID clinics, or showcases you should try to add to your summer event schedule. Remember, you should always have a plan for capturing film when you attend an event. That way, you can share film from that event with coaches on your target list who could not attend!

Make Sure You’re on Track for NCAA Eligibility 

Even if you’re unsure whether you want to play for an NCAA program in college, it’s important to know whether your current courseload keeps you on track academically should you decide to pursue a DI or DII program down the line. If you meet with a school guidance counselor to build your schedule during your Sophomore Spring semester, make them aware of your intention to play your sport at the college level so they can help ensure you are on track to meet core course requirements set by the NCAA.

Research Scholarships & Financial Aid Options

College athletic programs can be considered a headcount or equivalency sport based on their sport and division. You should familiarize yourself with the type of academic scholarships you can qualify for and how each division and governing body handles athletics-based aid. Remember that only 2% of high school athletes are awarded some form of athletics scholarship to compete in college. So, it’s important to know what other types of financial aid are available to prospective student-athletes. 


Sign Up With the NCAA Eligibility Center 

If you want to compete at the NCAA Division II or DII level, the NCAA recommends registering for your NCAA Eligibility Number at the end of your sophomore year. This number confirms that you have met all academic requirements while maintaining your amateur status, making you eligible to compete in NCAA sports. Remember that if you attend school in the United States or Canada, the fee to receive your ID number is $100.00. If you are an international student, it is $160.00.

Start Preparing for Upcoming Contact Dates

Your junior year summer season is a critical time in your recruiting process. Depending on your sport, and if you are interested in NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II, college coaches can initiate recruiting-like conversations with you on June 15th or September 1st of this year. If you are interested in either of these NCAA divisions and haven't already, send an introductory message letting the coaches know who you are and why you are interested in their program. As for Division III, JUCO, and NAIA programs, they will begin focusing on your class year more closely during this time, so make sure to send an introductory message.

Publish Film from the Spring

If you play a Spring sport, do your best to grab your best clips from the season and turn them into a standout highlight video. Once you’ve created a highlight reel, it’ll be vital that you message college coaches with your new footage. If you were not in season during the Spring, a great way to update your video footage is to create a skills video so coaches can evaluate your technique, strength, or speed. Make sure you add your video to your SportsRecruits profile and use the Messaging System to let coaches know you’ve added new footage.


Ready to get recruited?

Build your student-athlete profile, upload unlimited video and build highlights, research schools, and gain recruiting exposure to college coaches free.

Get started free 🡒