Two months ago, we were preparing for the club season to start, the holiday break hit us, and boom, it’s mid-February when the Evaluation Period and Contact Period begin. UPPERCLASSMEN (juniors and seniors in high school), hopefully, you took some of the advice from the December article and feel pretty good about where you’re at with your recruiting/college search process heading into the end of the Division 1 Quiet Period and for the full-blown recruiting season to start back up again.

The past few weeks, I’ve had a chance to meet/connect with several upperclassmen who are ready to enter the next stages of their recruiting process. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the questions I’ve gotten over the past few weeks from these upperclassmen and their parents as you may have similar questions going into the February recruiting period.

Before I answer these questions, I have just one quick piece of advice. UNDERCLASSMEN, make sure the email address you’re using for recruiting is completely separate from all other emails you’re receiving. UPPERCLASSMEN, if you’re too far along into the process to change your email, make sure you go through and unsubscribe/turn off any unnecessary notifications that might be cluttering your inbox. If you’re using any sort of recruiting assistance site (Sports Recruits, NCSA, ect) you don’t need to get email notifications from them. You need to spend your time reading/responding to actual emails from college coaches. Keep anything non-recruiting related separate, so you can stay organized. If you’re an upperclassmen and people can communicate with you, VIEWS DON’T REALLY MATTER at this point!

Let’s address 4 Important Areas of the Recruiting Process geared toward upperclassmen who are still going through the recruiting process:

College Visits

There are (2) types of visits – official (the school pays) and unofficial (the athlete pays). Both types of visits are allowed to start after Aug 1 of junior year. Recruiting budget is the biggest factor for the type of visit a school will offer you. Don’t be afraid to ask the question right away if the visit will be official or unofficial. You’re allowed unlimited official visits now with the new rule changes. A lot of programs can’t afford to pay for official visits so don’t be sad if they only offer you an unofficial, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t truly interested. However, if you are paying your own way for a visit, make sure you have a clear understanding of what their exact interest level is.

Are these visits usually during the week or on weekends?

It depends on what you’d like to do on the visit. If you’d like to see a practice and a typical school day, I might suggest a Sunday afternoon-Monday afternoon visit or Friday day visit thru Saturday morning.

If you’d like to see a basketball game or spring sporting event, maybe pick a weekend that there are few events scheduled on campus for that weekend, a Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday visit would be good in this scenario.

How many days are these visits?

I typically think 24-36 hours is more than enough time. The new official visit rules allow no longer than a two-night stay. If you are going unofficially, I’d allow for a few hours to explore something off campus if you can spare them.

Walk-On Opportunities

The 2024 class and in some cases the 2025 class are still feeling the after effects of the COVID transfer market. There seem to be a lot of programs still looking for walk-ons (or even perhaps scholarship players if they missed out on a transfer) for the 2024 and 2025 classes.

Is there a difference between a walk-on and a preferred walk-on?

In volleyball very few programs have walk-on tryouts (especially at the higher levels), so there really is no difference between a walk-on and a preferred walk-on. If a team is offering you a walk-on opportunity in my opinion you are ‘preferred’. When they offer you the opportunity (provided you are admitted to the school) you become a member of the team just like the scholarship players. You can receive gear and all team related expenses. The only real difference between you and the scholarship players is you’re paying for school and they aren’t.

At the Division 1 level, walk-ons are allowed to receive academic/non-athletic scholarships, but the athletic department isn’t able to assist in securing this aid and your athletic abilities can’t be a factor in the receipt of the award.

In-Person Communication with College Coaches

Are college coaches able to approach and actually talk with a player at the tournaments after the quiet period ends on Feb 16th?

Some college compliance offices have different interpretations of the rules but here is my understanding of the rules:

a.  In Person/Off Campus communication with NLI signees or signed financial aid agreements:
Yes, college coaches may have contact with commits and/or their parents who have signed an NLI. They are no longer subject to recruiting restrictions once signed. Most compliance offices will say that coaches aren’t allowed to talk to the signees though until after the competition has concluded for the day and they’ve been released by their coach.

b. In person/Off Campus communication with current high school juniors and unsigned seniors and their parents:
After the competition has concluded for the day and they’ve been released by their coach, college coaches may have contact with the recruit in person. They may have contact with the parents throughout the event if it’s a contact period.

c. In person/Off Campus communication with current high school sophomores after June 15th or After Aug 1st?
College coaches must actually wait until after September 1st to have off campus contact with current sophomores because of the VOLLEYBALL QUIET PERIOD.

Follow-Up Communication with College Coaches

Schools have emailed me or we’ve had one phone call. What should I do next?

Schools want players who show genuine interest in their programs. This is not the time to lack confidence and think you’re annoying the coaches who have reached out. Be aggressive in your follow-up. Send them texts with updated film, texts with your court schedule for Day 1 of an event, and if you have time, send your results from Day 1 and your schedule for Day 2. At the end of the day, this effort may not result in a scholarship offer, but it will definitely get you an answer more quickly than if you just sit around being polite.

To all the upperclassmen reading this, best of luck to you with your journey these next few months. I wish you all the best in your search for your future happy place. For the sophomores reading this, it’s time to start preparing yourself for the journey ahead. The extra years of COVID eligibility are behind us so there will be a lot of schools in search of larger recruiting classes in the near future. More to come…

View more recruiting education and resources.

About the Author

Meghan Keck is the 18s Lead, Recruiting Director, and Setting Director at 1st Alliance Volleyball, a JVA member club in LaGrange, Illinois. She has 17 years of experience coaching at the Division I level with 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and six conference championships. She coached several NCAA Top 25 ranked teams. Meghan was a four year starting setter at Auburn University and UIC, where she holds the school record for hitting percentage in a match.