With college football in full swing, now is a great time to take unofficial visits. These visits are defined by the NCAA as paid for by the student-athletes or their parents. Each prospective student athlete will receive one ticket to the game plus two more for guests.
These visits can be great opportunities to meet the coaches, tour the facilities, learn about the schools academics and spend time on the field prior to the game while the players are warming up. They can go a long way towards gathering information about the school and the program, build relationships with the coaches and help determine if this school/program may be a good fit.
There are a number of ways to set up these visits. I would suggest starting with your coaches to see if they have any contacts at the schools you are interested in. If you are interested in schools at the FBS level, you generally will need an invite or have a connection to make this happen. At schools that play football at a lower level, a lot of times you can go to the teams website and there will be a link provided to request an unofficial visit. Also, you can always email the teams recruiting department and make the request or tag along with a teammate or friend that is being recruited by the school.
If you are early in your high school career, this is a great time to visit your "Long Shot" schools as we discussed in my early post Being Realistic. Size yourself up against the players at this level and see if you think playing there is realistic. Remember, playing college football is very much about size and athleticism. Especially at the highest level. Do you match up well with what you are seeing on the field? Having the ability to see the players up close will give you a more accurate representation than what you see on TV.
As you move further along in your high school career, it is very important to begin visiting schools that have interest in you. If that program is at the D2, D3 or NAIA level they generally don't have the recruiting budget to go out and see all their prospects. So making the trip to see them can go along way towards earning a scholarship. Plus, they want to know their is mutual interest in their program.