Hi, my name is Coach Gil Moody, and would like to welcome you all to an ongoing series called: “College Recruiting”. To gain a better insight on this topic, I have reached out to several formal: High School Athlete’s that are currently playing collegiate sports or had played and now have graduated from college. Below is one of these interviews.
Please welcome Emani Fenton
Position: Corner Back
Hometown: Ashburn, Va.
High School: Flint Hill School
Q: What College are you currently attending or have graduated from?
I graduated from Cornell University in 2011.
Q: What sports were you recruited for, and played in College? Did you play more than one sport in College?
I was recruited for football and played Cornerback for four years at Cornell.
Q: Did you play more than one sport in High School, and if so which sports were they?
In High School, I played primarily football and basketball. I did track for two seasons and baseball one season.
Q: What preparations did you take to research what colleges you were interested in?
I started receiving mailings and questionnaires my Freshman year, but my Junior year I started reaching out on my own. I sent an email to coaches at every D1-A and D1-AA program I believed I could even remotely contribute to.
Q: Have you heard of College Board, and have you used it? Was it helpful in your college selection process?
I remember the College Board as the company that administers the SAT, but don’t recall it being helpful in selecting a college.
Q: What kind of advice did your coach and or guidance counselor gave you about researching and selecting a college?
All of my coaches were encouraging and open when college coaches came around. The guidance counselor was more cautionary than I probably wanted to hear. I wanted to attend the best school and play at the highest level I could, but she wanted me to focus more towards “safe” schools and didn’t understand the recruiting process at all.
Q: What advice did your parents give you to help throughout your college selection process?
Academics come first.
Q: Were you under the impression that it was your coach’s responsibility to get you recruited? If so, where did you get that impression from?
I thought it was my responsibility to relentlessly market myself to as many colleges as possible. The recruiting process is one of those things most people don’t get to go through twice. I didn’t want to look back and wonder “what if I”.
Having gone through the process as a player and then as a coach, I believe it says a lot about a player that is willing to manage their recruitment and turn over every stone possible looking for an opportunity.
Q: Did you attend any college summer camps? How many did you attend, and do you believe that it help you get recruited?
I went to about ten camps while in high school. I was fortunate to be invited to the Nike and Scout combine/camp, which were good because I was able to compete with players at a high talent level. I also attended a few team camps on college campuses and then general skill camps/prospect one-day camps.
Camps are useful when you have significant communication with coaches beforehand. When prioritizing camps to attend, I would prioritize the schools that have called, sent handwritten letters, etc. and shown significant interest. It’s always best to attend those school’s camps, so all of the decision makers (head coaches, coordinators, and position coach) can evaluate you and you can evaluate them.
Q: Did your coach suggest that you attend college summer camps, and if so at what grade level did you start to attend?
One HS coach suggested I go to MD (where he played) after sophomore year. It was mostly to get the experience to prepare me for Junior Year. They had previously sent me letters, but I wouldn’t say they were recruiting me.
Flint Hill also went to Villanova every year as a team camp, because my HS coach played for Coach Talley (Villanova’s head coach).
Q: There are several recruiting services, and combine services, have you tried any of them, and do you think that they were helpful?
Being on the other side as a coach and recruiting the DC, MD, VA area for Cornell University was eye opening for me in terms of understanding these services. I personally believe some recruiting services are overrated. Many charge families money and don’t provide a service that is credible to college coaches. In the DMV area, I found Donnie Zimmerman’s service to be the best. My understanding is that Donnie mostly charged colleges and I know he was very thorough in what he provided to us. He also ran a few camps that attracted many college coaches. He isn’t the only good service I am sure, but he was my “go to” in the DMV.
Personally, I am weary about the services some provide because they may charge you to send emails to coaches and in many cases they don’t even have a relationship with these coaches. You CAN do that. Some may charge to create/edit highlight tapes, which in itself is reasonable, but I recommend using a service that has employees who have been college recruiters or at a minimum been through the process as a player.
Q: What did you do to help yourself get recruited, and would you recommend the same to others?
In 2006, my Dad bought me a VHS to DVD recorder and I sat and created my highlight tape from my high school games. From there, I treated everyone like they were Alabama. I sent out emails, filled out questionnaires and followed up with everyone that showed interest. My coach made copies of my DVDs and sent it out to everyone that I asked him to.
Technology is more advanced now, but I would recommend that you treat every coach as if he is the coach you will play for – regardless of the level. You want to respond to emails, calls, etc. as much as you can without overwhelming yourself.
Q: What was the biggest surprise to you during the college recruiting process?
It was surprisingly fun for me. It can be difficult at times but I enjoyed the process. Everyone always talked about how stressful it is, but I tried to appreciate the opportunities that were in front of me and not allow myself to be stressed about it.
Thank you, Emani Fenton for sharing your college recruiting experiences with our readers. We would love to have you back to share what it is like to be a college athlete.