Recruiting Insight from Gary Mercadante of Delaware Valley College

Be proactive and take a real interest in learning more about a specific university or college are the first steps for placing yourself on a college coaches radar. Asking specific questions and sending personalized emails to coaches are great ways to catch a coach’s attention and further increase the likelihood that you’ll be recruited.

We spoke with Delaware Valley College Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Gary Mercadante about college lacrosse’s recruiting landscape and what it takes to play lacrosse at the collegiate level. Mercadante joined Delaware Valley just two months after it announced the addition of five new NCAA Division III sports.  In its 2015 inaugural season, DelVal welcomes it’s first recruiting class and will compete in the MAC Freedom conference.

What advice do you have for players interested in playing DIII lacrosse?

First, determine the type of school you are interested in based on things such as size, majors offered, and location. There are a wide variety of DIII colleges that offer lacrosse and this will help you narrow down your search.

Focus on your academics. Your success in the classroom will help you in the admissions process and financially. DIII institutions cannot offer athletic scholarships, but many offer excellent academic scholarships. Most student-athletes do not realize until it is too late that their performance in the classroom can greatly impact the cost of their college tuition.

What’s the best way to get on your recruiting radar? Any things recruits shouldn’t do?

Be proactive in the process. If you are interested in a school reach out to the coach with a personal email. Let us know why you are interested and where you will be playing (tournaments, club team, etc.) Our staff makes a point during the summer to try to see every student-athlete that emails us.

Do your research. I am impressed when I speak with a student-athlete who is knowledgeable about our college, what we offer, and our program. It demonstrates you have taken the time to educate yourself about us and have a legitimate interest in the school and our team.

Take ownership of the college search process. Players often make the mistake of mass emailing coaches or having their parents send emails for them. Coaches can tell when an email has been sent to 50 coaches because it is generic and sometimes addressed to the wrong coach or college. These are the ones we often disregard. Also, make sure to clear your voicemail so a college coach can leave you a message.

What’s a question you wished recruits asked you more during the recruiting process?

Asking about coaching style is important. Every coach is different and you want to find out early if you fit into their system and coaching style. Also, ask what the coach envisions your role being on and off the field.

What are a few indicators that help you determine whether a good high school player will become a great college player?

We look for tough athletes who play with a competitive edge. We want players who consistently work hard to improve their game and hone their skills. I am always watching off-ball during recruiting events to see who does the “little things” well (communication, cutting, setting screens, etc.). We try to identify these things throughout the process.

What’s special about being a student-athlete at Delaware Valley College?

Our student-athletes are well balanced, which is an important part of the college process and of preparing them for life after graduation. 100% of our students will gain real world experience before graduation. DelVal is one of the few colleges in the country that requires an experiential learning component, individualized to each student’s major. Our students are building their careers from day one and ending with the creation of professional portfolios that incorporate experiences such as internships, study abroad, research and civic engagement.

How has the accelerated recruiting process impacted your approach to recruiting? 

While it has not changed my direct approach to recruiting, the D1 model of early recruiting has impacted the number of great lacrosse players that are still looking for a college as juniors and seniors. A lot of them are players that either peaked late in their high school careers or did not get a chance to start until their junior or senior year.

Recruits are now reaching out to us to express their interest earlier and earlier in the process. It can be a positive as long as the student-athletes do their research and focus on finding the right school for them.

Even with all of the changes in the recruiting landscape, we still find many of our players at showcases/tournaments and by speaking with high school and club coaches.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Delaware Valley College or Gary Mercadante.

Staff members of ConnectLAX.com. Committed to connecting the lacrosse community through recruiting, lessons and camps and helping lacrosse players elevate their game.

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