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Rosters An Information Gold Mine!

Reprinted From:
The Athlete's Advisor

As a prospective student athlete evaluating various schools and their athletic programs you want to arm yourself with as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision.. This decision will hopefully lead you to the best option in terms of academics, social life and playing opportunity.

One of the best tools to help glean information about a sports program is the teamís roster. Almost every school in the country has a web site and the team rosters are only a few clicks away. If the team statistics are available, even better as you can use the two data sources together to read into a program. What can a roster tell you about an athletic team? A lot!

Where are the players from?

Rosters list hometown and state. This information tells you where the coach focuses his or her recruiting. At state schools and in terms of athletic scholarship money, an in-state student costs less than out of state, therefore a coach can stretch his or her money further. In other cases, the coach is happy with the area talent and does not find it a worth while investment to expand their recruiting area.

This does not mean that a coach will not recruit you if you make contact, are sincerely interested in the school and show signs of being a decent player on paper or film. The hard part for most coaches is actually seeing you in person if you far away. Budgets and time rarely allow for it, therefore you need to go to them by playing in a local showcase, attending their camp or playing in a tournament near the school and inviting the coach to come see you.

How many players are at your position and what year are they?

Most coaches recruit on need. If there is a log jam of underclass players at your position there is a strong chance they are not recruiting for that position currently. This does not mean you are not capable of playing for the program, rather the coaches want to use his or her admissions slots on players who fill more pressing needs.

Unless you can move to, and compete at another position, or you are head and shoulders above the current players at your position, you will not be high on the recruiting charts.

The Flip Side The reverse holds true when you see a program that is top heavy with upperclassmen at your position. Odds say the coach is looking to fill some current or pending holes and that this increases your chances with that school. However there is still more detective work to be done and This is where statistics play a big part.

Suppose you play small forward on the basketball team and you see that this school has two seniors and a freshman at this position. Your first thought might be that there will be an opening for you to compete against a young player for considerable playing time as the senior talent is leaving. Perhaps, but check the stats first. You might find that the freshman stared every game and was the 2nd leading scorer on the team. In this case you face a significant obstacle to that position of three years. Should you shy away from competing? Of course not. But you want to find the best situation for yourself. How many young short-stops want to play for the Yankees with Derek Jeter looking at 10 more years of greatness? None. They want to play every day. Nor would the Yankees want to spend valuable money on a player who will sit the bench and become disgruntled.

Playing time

Do underclassmen really have a chance of playing at a program? Check the roster and the stats to find out. Perhaps underclassmen also play on a JV team as well where they can get valuable game experience.

Size Do you fit the profile?

Look at the height and weight of the players on the roster. If the hockey defensemen are all over 6 ft 195 lbs and you play that position at 5 Ď8" 165lbs in HS then you simply donít fit the mold and will not be of interest to the coach. NOTE: Always let someone else determine if you are too small, this is not your decision to make. But the size of the athleteís at your position does tell your something about your chances with that program.

Usually, athletic rosters inflate the height and weight of their players. Keep this in mind when you are looking. A 6 footer on the roster might be a 5í10" or 5í11" in reality.

Distribution of upper and lower classmen

Typically, college rosters have more freshman and sophomores on the team than juniors and seniors because of attrition in the program. People drop out for a variety or reasons: Injury, lack of playing time, academic, transfers, poor relationship with the coach, etc. But a solid program should usually have a strong core of players at all levels. Schools with very few upper class men give reason to waive a red flag for further investigation.

First of all the roster make-up of a given year is not proof on a trend so you need to look at previous rosters and ask questions. Programs lacking upper class presence should be questioned on the following:

  • Graduation rate of the recruited athletes
  • Injury history do players suffer a lot of injuries and drop out
  • Does the coach bring in far more underclassmen as recruits than is needed? Only to "weed" them out during fall ball.

Junior College Recruiting

Many coaches go after proven talent by raiding the JC ranks each year. While few teams are made up exclusively of Junior College transfers it is a good idea to know if they are junior college friendly.

First, you might want to hone your game need to get your academic house in order at a JC and it pays to know who looks to JC for talent. Second, as an incoming frosh at a school, you want to know if you will be competing each year with a fresh batch of experienced JC transfers who are proven at the college level.

Past rosters looking for patterns

We touched on this earlier, one year does not a pattern or trend make. So for things such as Junior College players on the roster, and the ratio of upperclassmen to lower classmen, prior rosters are needed.

Recent Recruits

Who is coming in this year with you (maybe) not all team sites have this but some do. You should also ask the coach who else they are recruiting at your position or who has committed already.

Look at player bios

Are they all stars or diamonds in the rough this gives you an idea about the type of player recruited. Keep in mind that a lot of high school background info is over blown PR hype created by the sports information department.


In the last two or three years it has become somewhat common for NCAA Division I college baseball programs to "stockpile" incoming freshman and junior college transfer baseball signees. Coaches essentially use the fall as a try-out period and then make room by asking players to take less scholarship money or to consider the JC route where they can get more playing time. Not every college does this, but be aware of the numbers game, and be realistic about your chances of actually playing at a top level school. (For more info on this subject see High School Baseball Web)

The roster is not the only tool you use to assess a program, it is one of many. Visit the campus, meet the coach, talk to the players, ask a lot of questions and be persistent in your quest for knowledge.

Reprinted From:

For more information contact: web@athletesadvisor.com
Review Baseball: Playing Outside the Lines by Ray Lauenstein

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