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SBLive's Preps Lab podcast with T.J. Cotterill: O'Dea's Monte Kohler on how to help athletes navigate recruiting

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It seems there are more misconceptions than ever about what it takes for student-athletes to get recruited to play at the next level, particularly with so much pressure athletes and their parents face today to play beyond high school. 

The latest episode of SBLive’s The Prep’s Lab with TJ Cotterill explores how student-athletes can best navigate the recruiting process — or even just get recruited — and how that has changed over the years. 

Cotterill sits down with O’Dea football coach and athletic director Monte Kohler, who pulled from his his dearth of experience – with more than 35 years at the Seattle-based school having coached many college and even NFL-bound players. 

Kohler, the state's winningest active football coach, also spoke about this year in particular and how the pandemic restrictions have dramatically altered the recruiting landscape, especially for this year’s seniors. And how coaches and athletes together should play an active role in owning the recruiting process. 

Listen to the episode here, and subscribe below:

(Full archive of the Preps Lab podcast)

Episode breakdown

(0:30 minute mark) What have your college-bound athletes shared in common? What are some shared experiences in how they got themselves a spot to continue playing in college and beyond?

(3:15) What can this year’s high school athletes, especially seniors, do amid the pandemic restrictions and no sports if they still dream about playing at the next level?

(7:30) How should coaches’ roles best help kids depending on if they’re highly recruited or barely recruited?

(10:45) How active should student-athletes be in their own recruitment and how active should their coaches be in getting them recruited?

(13:00) What are the most glaring ways the recruiting landscape has changed over the years and what it takes for athletes to get to the next level?

(18:20) Pressure on parents to get kids to specialize, sign up for camps and offseason training. Philosophy on how Coach Kohler navigates those challenges with players and parents.

(24:45) Best uses of social media for student-athletes and the benefits/disadvantages of it in recruiting.

(30:20) What are the commonalities of athletes who want to play at the next level but don’t get that opportunity? What could the athletes and coaches have done differently?

(34:40) For athletes who are about to transition to college sports, what are the biggest eye-openers once that transition starts? What should they know to help them prepare for the transition?

(38:40) How competitive drive can open doors for student-athletes when their skill and talent might not be.

(41:00) Biggest misconceptions about the recruiting process for student-athletes and biggest challenges for those wanting to get recruited to play after high school.

Noteworthy quotes from Kohler

“Things are going ot move and the dynamics are changing completely for these kids, but we’ll have a better feel probably after that second signing date.” 

 “You want to give them enough information that they are in control of it, that it’s not overwhelming and it doesn’t become a negative process. It should not be something where the kids are like, ‘Thank God it’s over.' But a lot of times that’s what happens.” 

“I tell people all the time – I went to Carroll College. There is a place for everybody, If you really want to play there’s a place for everybody. If it’s that important to you and you have that passion and that love then there’s a place for you to play football. If it’s just about you being recruited and you think you have to be Division 1, then sometimes there’s a reality check that has to come into play.”