- Tom Luginbill, ESPN Staff Writer
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— Tim Duncan (@Tim1Duncan) October 22, 2013
The biggest mistake you can make in regard to this area is not being honest with prospects from the very beginning. This can be a very delicate issue, because no matter how you try and explain how big of a jump it is from high school to college, just about every prospect out there thinks they are going to play right away or start. The reality is that most are not. The reality is that redshirting is often times the very best thing for all prospects.
Most coaches, however, are constantly trying to create an environment of competition, which includes true freshmen. Pete Carroll, when he was at USC, was great at this. The current players knew they had better perform or they would be on the sideline and the best player was going to play — including freshmen.
It can greatly enhance the prospect's likelihood of playing if he is going to be a mid-year enrollee because he can get acclimated to the college environment, go through spring ball and the summer and come into fall camp a different person.
The most important aspect to recruiting players with aspirations to start right away -- and potentially develop into an NFL prospect -- is to present the opportunity and see how the player responds. Put it in their hands. If you promise an opportunity and provide one, you have done your job and now it’s up to the player to produce.
All young players think they know more than they do and also think they are a bit better than they are. and what often determines whether a guy plays or not is how hard he works, how much he knows, how coachable he is and how mentally tough and competitive he is. The reality is you have to prove your worth and earn it. Nothing is going to be handed to you.