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D3 Football Recruiting - NESCAC vs WASHU, UChicago, CMU, MIT

seahookseahook Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
My son is a rising senior, and has strong(we think based on level of contact)interest from several NESCAC schools as well as interest from WASHU, UChicago, CMU & MIT. MIT, WASHU and Chicago asked him to attend their summer camps.
My question is how may camps should he attend this summer, and if he should attend just the Ivy's(we were thinking Harvard & Upenn) based on their exposure to multiple schools D3?
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Replies to: D3 Football Recruiting - NESCAC vs WASHU, UChicago, CMU, MIT

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 1,811 Senior Member
    edited April 30
    I would prioritize the schools that represent the best fit both with, and without, football.

    I don't understand your last sentence. Are Harvard and Penn running camps that in addition to their DI programs, also have D3 coaches in attendance? Obviously, it can make sense to go to camps with multiple coaches/programs/schools of interest all in one place---and again, I would prioritize the best fit schools.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Forum Champion Athletic Recruits Posts: 2,480 Forum Champion
    Depends on your son’s goals. If he is looking to “prove his worth” to MIT, WASHU or UC, then the best path is the school specific camps. I like school specific camps over general camps for a couple of reasons. 1)those camps will have the host school’s coaches running the host school’s drills. So they are designed to show skills the host school feels are important, and the host school’s coach will watch every rep. Make sense? 2)Talent variability. At a D3 camp, you are not going to see much if any D1 talent. At an Ivy camp, you will. If your son is a good athletic match for high academic D3 schools, he is likely to be physically outmatched in some percentage of the reps he will get at an Ivy camp day, because he will be competing against athletes in a different class. Which leaves him with fewer opportunities to show his skill set against relevant competition. 3)most D3s will send 1 or 2 coaches to an Ivy camp. This means that the D3 coach is not watching every rep (because he will be circulating through the drills watching multiple recruits). Maybe more importantly, the D3 coach attending that particular Ivy camp is likely not going to be your son’s ultimate position coach. All those guys know what they are looking at, but think about it this way. If a d line recruit has one chance to impress a coach so that coach will fight to make that recruit part of the class, I sure would want that coach to be the d line coach, not the running backs coach.

    On the other hand, if the goal is to be seen by as many high academic D3s as possible, the Ivy camps may be the way to go. The NESCACS will all have coaches at each Ivy camp. Pretty sure most other high academic D3 school will as well (although I don’t think either MIT or UChicago ever reaches out to my son at any of the Ivy camps he did). If you do go the Ivy route, I would think about a non HYP camp. For obvious reasons, those camps will have the greatest numbers of participants and also some of the best individual athletes, because kids who are likely headed to the bottom half of FBS schools might take a flyer at HYP, they are less likely to do so at Brown or Cornell. FWIW my son did not attend the Harvard camp in his recruiting cycle, but did attend Yale and Princeton. Those camps are just huge compared to the other Ivys, with many fewer reps to go around. Logic and anecdotal information tell me Harvard would be the same.

    So if I was going to send a D3 level recruit to an Ivy camp with the goal of getting him noticed by D3 coaches, I would find out what schools would be at Brown or Cornell (the current basement dwellers in the Ivy) or Dartmouth (because of remoteness). My guess is those three schools would have the most lightly attended camp days, which translates to more reps. And the more reps the better.

    Good luck, and any questions don’t hesitate.
  • HPTD12HPTD12 Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    As always, great advice from @Ohiodad51

    My son plays football in the NESCAC and got offers from all the top NESCACs. FWIW, he only attended Ivy camps. I agree that if the intent is to get the attention of the D3 coaches, the Harvard camp is too big to be noticed. Also Columbia did not involve any of the D3 coaches in the drills, so I cannot recommend it. I recommend Princeton, Dartmouth, and Yale. They all had several D3 coaches, although I do not think Wash U attended any of them. I recall MIT, CMU and Chicago at some of the camps.

    My recommendation is 1) verify that the D3 coaches of the schools you are interested in will be at the camps before signing up for the Ivy camp. Most D3 schools post which Ivy camps they will attend and which dates. 2) Be proactive and text the recruiter of the D3 schools that you will be at the Ivy camp. This will give you chance to connect with them f2f (preferably before the drills start) so that they can observe you. BTW, make sure you give your son at least one rest day between camps.

    The above said, if you have your heart set on 1-2 D3 schools, I would try to attend those camps too. I do not recommend attending more than 5 camps.
  • seahookseahook Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thank you @Ohiodad51 & HPTD12. Our son is our first born, so this is our first experience with the athletic recruiting process. This forum has been really helpful and I appreciate all the information and comments from all of you who've been through the process.

    My son likes all the schools that have shown interest. He'd be fortunate to attend any one of them! His reasoning for wanting to attend the Ivy camps is to see how he measures up with the D1 talent. H'ever to underscore Ohiodad51's point - he could be outmatched in some of the drills and I am concerned(he's not) that could potentially hurt him if one of the D3 schools coaches that is currently showing interest happens to observing a drill when this occurs.

    I've also read/heard to cast a wide net in this process, so while he's pleased with the with the schools that are showing interest he's heard this can change, sometimes very quickly, which is part of his reasoning for attending Ivy camps for better(?) overall exposure.

    Also heard Washu, Mit & UC can be difficult to get a read on how much they really like you and drag the process out? Not sure if this is actually true. NESCAC coaches have been great, "we like you son a lot", "he's on the top of our list for his position". Not sure how real this is, but it's certainly been more than what we've heard or seen from the other aforementioned D3 schools.


  • waverlywizzardwaverlywizzard Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Take a look at Trinity for football in NESCAC. Perenial NESCAC champions.
  • HPTD12HPTD12 Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    I do not know about WashU, but Chicago and MIT do not put a lot of emphasis on football in the admissions process. My son's co-captain went to MIT and he would have had a great chance of getting in anyway. That said, MIT does surprisingly well in football.

    What is nice about the NESCAC is that it has some great traditions between the schools. Indeed Trinity is a perennial favorite in the NESCAC, but to be sure Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan, and Tufts will be competitive for the NESCAC crown too.

    And yes, cast a wide net. The coaches are doing the same thing. Worth going to Ivy camps to check out the real competition. At the D3 camps, many attending may not be able to make the roster, which may create a false sense of confidence. I am very confident that good D3 coaches are focused on evaluating relevant talent at IVY camps. That is why they are there. They are looking for scholar-athletes who are just shy of getting Ivy offers.
  • 57special57special Registered User Posts: 557 Member
    edited May 1
    CHI can be hard to read when it comes to athletic admits, at least in our experience and at least one other person that I know of. Not sure that it is worth it, unless you really love the school.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Forum Champion Athletic Recruits Posts: 2,480 Forum Champion
    Couple additional things. First, @HPTD12, lays out a great list of recommendations. Especially the part about keeping in communication with the schools recruiting your son about camp plans so they know who they are looking for and can easily find him. To further that point, my son’s high school had some really obnoxious work out shirts made. Really brightly colored with a large high school logo on the front and the kid’s name and number on the back. When he attended camps, I understood why. There will be a ton of kids running around at pretty much every D1 camp. Finding a kid in a bright yellow shirt with a huge high school logo on the front and the kid’s name on the back is a lot easier than scanning through dozens of kids in dark colored heat gear shirts. Just some food for thought.

    Second, I don’t mean to imply that there is something inherently wrong with a kid who is targeting NESCAC/high academic D3 schools hitting an Ivy camp. Like most things, it is a sliding scale. If you or your son reasonably believe he can be competitive with Ivy level talent, by all means, go take the shot and find out. Even at the camps with the best talent at my son’s position, less than half (sometimes much less) of the kids were legitimate D1/Ivy level imho. So your son will see variable talent rep to rep. It is just that if he is solidly a D3 level recruit, he can expect to lose some percentage of his individual reps based purely on the athleticism of some of the other kids there. I don’t think that necessarily hurts him, because the D3 coaches aren’t idiots, and they won’t expect a kid who is likely to end up at their level to lay waste to the competition at a D1 camp. But it does make it harder to “flash” and show your skill set when you are just physically/athletically outmatched. I know my son went against a few kids at various camps who looked good at times, but at others just got swallowed up because they didn’t have the strength/speed/length of a particular opponent. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good your hands are, or how your first step is, if the guy across from you can just stone you from the snap. So since reps are finite, you need to weigh the benefits of camping at an Ivy (access to a greater number of coaches/a chance to test himself against better talent) with the downside of potentially being zeroed out on some reps. It is not one size fits all, and if you can swing it, splitting your camp budget between one or two Ivys and a few D3 targets may be the sweet spot. @HPTD12 is also right that over camping is a bad idea. Four or five is plenty if you choose wisely.

    Lastly, and recognizing my direct experience is several cycles old, I agree with your thoughts about MIT and UC being hard to read. My son reached out to both schools early in the process and other than some real perfunctory contact from MIT, never heard a word from either. He would have been an athletic outlier at both, and his academics would have put him in the range for normal admission at either school. Some schools are just different in how they approach the process.
  • anon145anon145 Registered User Posts: 615 Member
    @seahook direct experience with kid at many of same schools but different sport different gender. MIT has the most limited coach impact for sports. The way it has been described is that the sport counts as a strong extracurricular, and the coach individually ranks potential recruits. Any recruits that make it "into the final pool" which I think is about 3 times the final offered, the coach can pull the player for admission. However, you really will have no guarantee about getting in to the school until that point. With NESCAC july 1 after junior year coaches can have official read and if the coach has been at the school for a long time should be able to give you a nearly definitive yes or no. At CMU which is same league as chicago coaches did a pre-read junior year and we heard "looks good". Chicago at least for our sport is basically the same as CMU (same division), and I do think coaches have more pull at chicago then they used to. So I'd say MIT and Cal tech are the only schools where the recruit is mostly in the dark.
  • VADad1066VADad1066 Registered User Posts: 24 Junior Member
    I would go into the process being very flexible and would definitely recommend attending several of the Ivy camps. They are heavily attended by most of the high academic DIII schools and it is a chance for those coaches to see your son up against strong competition. My son attended Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn and Harvard in summer 2018 and ended up receiving multiple DIII offers (of those I agree that Harvard was the least productive). He ended up accepting at a school that was not initially on our radar, Claremont McKenna, and we couldn't be happier. I also agree with the comments that CMU and U Chicago drag the process out and usually fill their slots with regular admission. The NESCAC, Grinnell, Carleton and CMS/Pomona prefer to use ED. This can make it difficult. CMU was very interested in my son, but he accepted prior to their process started to really heat up. Enjoy the summer. We had a blast watching him compete at the camps.
  • moscottmoscott Registered User Posts: 998 Member
    @seahook I would be cautious when trying to gage the level of interest from D3 schools especially the "invitations" to camp. Rest assured those invites go out to a significant number of kids they are "interested" in. MIT does attend the Harvard camp and CMU typically goes to both Princeton and PENN. True interest would be an actual offer but be sure to run a NPC on any of these school since there is no athletic or academic scholarships per say.
  • seahookseahook Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thank you all for your comments and info.
    He was request to by a couple of NESCAC coaches to attend NE Elite camp, so he's signed up for that one and one Ivy, the UPenn camp. On the fence with the specific school camp invites to WashU and UChicago, logistically they present challenges, and both of these schools will be represented at NE Elite.
    Is the NE Elite camp a combine style camp or is it a clinic?
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Forum Champion Athletic Recruits Posts: 2,480 Forum Champion
    My son did not attend NE Elite, but my understanding is that it is a clinic with some combine style testing (not unlike most college camps). The big knock on NE Elite is the numbers of kids attending and the variability of talent. But several posters have posted positively about the camp in the past, and there will certainly be a significant number of coached present.

    In any event. best of luck to you and your son @seahook. Make sure he hydrates well and keeps limber when travelling to and from the camps. You will see a lot of pulls and strains at camps, both because the competitive level will likely be a little higher than what most kids are used to and because they will be out of their normal routine.
  • HPTD12HPTD12 Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    FWIW, the Penn camp we attended had drills unlike any other camp that IMHO were not that great at evaluating talent. While there were a decent number of D3 coaches there ( I remember a UChicago rep there), I would recommend Princeton, Yale, or Dartmouth if your goal is to get a wide array of D3 looks. Seemed that those camps had more D3 coach interaction.
  • VADad1066VADad1066 Registered User Posts: 24 Junior Member
    I would agree. I thought Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell were the best run camps. The D3 coaches were heavily involved with the drills and routinely interacted with the players during camp.
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