From the start of your kicking career until the end of your HS sophomore year
Practice, Practice, Practice! Get as good as possible. Don’t worry about colleges because they are not worried about you.
Summer before your junior season
Attend few big college camps – Northwestern, Ohio State, etc. There is minimal coaching at these events. Your goal is to see how these events are organized and how good kickers are who are going into their senior year. Unless you are one of the best kickers in the country, you will probably go unnoticed. Don’t worry about that. Plan on returning next year, when it really counts and outkicking the competition.
August before your junior season
Put together a list of your pre-junior season highlights. Make it very short since this time period will not have as much of an impact on your prospect value as your accomplishments from the start of your junior season until the end of your senior season. This list can include sophomore season significant performances, kicking camp highlights, etc.
Put the college recruiting out of your mind and start focusing 100% on having a great season.
Stay healthy and kick well. Don’t worry about your stats until the season is over. There are a lot of things that are out of your control. Your stats are not completely your stats. Weather, your teammates, your coaches and game scenarios affect your stats as much as you do.
Parents should keep track of statistics if possible. Measure punt and kickoff distances and hang times. Make a note of field goal distances – makes and misses.
If your academics are not as good as they could be, get the GPA up starting now.
End of junior season – January
Review Junior Season. Put together a list of top accomplishments. Add up all your statistics. Make a highlight video of your junior season.
After taking a short break, kickers need to start kicking field goals off the ground and keep kicking off the ground until they are done with college and private camps. Punters need to start working on their hands even if not kicking.
If you are not a punter, this is the time to start punting. Adding punting to your skill set more than doubles your desirability to colleges.
January – April of your junior year
Research schools that you may be interested in and start sending out introduction emails to coaches.
Kick regularly, attend camps, improve, improve, improve.
Do not play other sports if you are serious about going after a scholarship for kicking.
April – August before your senior season
Attend college kicking camps to gain exposure and compete. Always kick field goals off the ground.
Attend private camps for more competition and additional exposure. Always kick field goals off the ground.
Continue contacting schools and establishing relationships with college coaches
Become honest with yourself. Know your current prospect value.
August before your senior season
Finish your highlight video from your previous seasons. Best stuff up front.
Make a short skills video. Up-close camera work showing your power and mechanics.
Start kicking field goals off a tee again in preparation for your senior season.
Draft an introduction email for college coaches with the most current information – highlights from different camps, current GPA, ACT score, junior year statistics, etc.
Continue reaching out to schools. Keep talking to coaches that show interest in you. Do not tell any coach that you are not interested. Hear them out.
After every 3 or 4 games, update your highlights to add new accomplishments. Follow up with coaches. Inform them of great things that you did.
As the season nears the end, start asking coaches concrete questions – When are you looking to make a decision? Where am I on your list? Do you see me as a walk-on or a scholarship guy?
After senior season (November – March)
Schools that are still talking to you are your top options at the moment. Schools that you used to talk to but haven’s lately are not in play anymore.
Most Division 1 programs will scholarship their top choices by early December. They may be very few left still looking after their top choices back out and leave them scrambling. Small division 1 schools will still be looking into January. D2 schools in late January and February. Division 3 and less desirable division 2 schools will continue recruiting all the way into the summer. NAIA schools follow timeline similar to undesirable D2 schools.
If at the end of your senior season, you are not talking to any school that you like, update your information (GPA, ACT, senior year highlights, stats, etc), expand your search (geographically and school size wise), and start sending emails, followed by phone calls.
Do NOT pick a school based on football only. Upon arriving at college, you will quickly realize that football is a huge time commitment. It is only worth it if you enjoy the team and school environment.
A very common scenario is making a decision between a walk-on offer at a big school and a partial scholarship at a small school. There is no right or wrong answer. But do not make a decision based on school size only.
Here are few things to consider when making a decision: does the school have your major, is the town that school is in interesting to you, what is the offseason plan for specialists, are coaches jerks (ask players), are players within the program generally happy (usually related to winning record), how many kickers and punters they have on the team, etc.