The fall evaluation period began on September 1, but most college coaches wait until October to watch games or visit high schools because they want to be sure that they are targeting the right prospects. Coaches get one onsite visit during this time.
Actually the fall evaluation period which begins September 1, and extents over 42 evaluation days, going into November. College coaches are only supposed to see seniors, but let's be real. If the underclassmen are prospects, they may eyeball them too.College coaches can meet with high school representatives, usually a coach or a principal, or guidance counselor and can get transcripts. Of course, there is the bump rule, but let's be real. The rule is a violation, but many coaches use it.
With colleges having an off week sometime during the season, coaches will be on the road checking with their senior commitments. Of course, they are going to check on underclassmen. Also, when a team travels, they sometimes send coaches to recruit the area that they are staying. For example, a few weeks ago I visited with a coach from Buffalo, while I was in Columbus.
As a prospect, you will be able to identify a college coach. He will be wearing his school colors with the college logo or name somewhere on the shirt or windbreaker.
My advice - be in school every day. Dress appropriately. Yes sir. No sir. Smile. Leave the attitude in your school locker. If a college coach is standing along the sidelines during a game, be at the top of your game. Play hard and with great self discipline. First impressions often go along way.
I see many college coaches, as I do my own visits to high schools. Number one-- a college coach's job, either an assistant or the top dog, is to sell his program. He will "small talk" you to get a feel for your personality. He will ask your goals. He will constantly be "measuring" you. Although this kind of comes under the "bump rule," it happens.
When you shake a college coach's hand, be ready for a firm handshake, look him in the eye, tell him you name, and say something like - "Nice to meet you." As a prospect always look the coach in the eye. Analyze him. Ask questions. Most of all, don't do the "wide-eye" act. Don't get over excited that you are talking to a college coach. Also, don't the coach "see you sweat." Maintain your calmness. Very important to "thank him."
The actual contact period really begins the week after Thanksgiving and lasts 19 days into December. During this 42 day evaluation period in the months of September, October, and November, college coaches are not to talk to a prospective recruit. The term commonly referred to as the "bump rule, is when a college coach accidentally comes into contact with a prospect. Really it is a violation.
When I see this happen, I never say anything. Sometimes I have sat with as many as five coaches. I would never report the "bump rule." I believe the prospect and the college coach need as much time to get to know each other as possible.
Some simple advice for you. The rules change so much, I hope that I am accurate.
**** A BCS school coach called me last night, and in the course of the conversation said that coaches can say "hello," or greet the prospect in a few words. "Of course, you know how that goes," he said.