Not every recruit is tabbed as a five-star prospect. North Dakota State’s recruiting director breaks down how to get yourself noticed.

The natives of Frisco, Texas, have gotten used to an annual migration from North Dakota each January over the past few seasons. The city has hosted the Division I FCS Football Championship for the past six years, five of which have seen North Dakota State crowned as national champs.

The Bison have dominated the FCS level by finding talented players who somehow slip through the fingers of FBS squads. While these athletes may not get the national attention of their four and five-star peers, they’ve done their part in helping NDSU own the FCS space.

We chatted with Hank Jacobs, the Director of Football Recruiting at North Dakota State, on how the Bison recruit and how a prospect can get himself on their radar.

Get Your Name Out There

Two years ago, R.J. Urzendowski was a prospect with no Division I FBS offers. But he caught NDSU's attention and has more than proven himself worthy - he led the Bison in receiving as a sophomore last season.

You really can’t market yourself enough when it comes to recruiting. Jacobs recommended making a highlight video early and sharing it on social media. He encouraged prospects to tweet at or email coaches at schools they’re interested in. The Bison staff leaves no stone unturned and every video they receive is viewed to gauge if a prospect has potential.

“We try to watch it all. We do as much homework as we possibly can on a recruit.” Hank Jacobs, North Dakota State Director of Recruiting

A talent evaluator may only watch a minute or two of a highlight video, so be sure to put your most impressive work at the beginning. The Bison coaches specifically look for players that have a high motor. Activity is key - they want to see players flocking to the ball on both offense and defense.

Many schools also have a recruiting form for prospective athletes to fill out. North Dakota State’s coaches filter through submissions every day to get contact and background information on a recruit.

Simply put, do anything you can that might get you on a coach’s radar. If you put the effort in, coaches will take notice.

“I’m going to be as honest as I can be with a recruit,” Jacobs said. “If they’re good enough, I’m going to pass them on to the area recruiter. If they’re good enough from there, they’ll get passed onto the position coach, then the head coach.”

Hit the Road

Camps are a very important part of the FCS recruiting world. They’re a rare opportunity for coaches to work specifically with players and see how they function in game-like situations. If there is a school you’re interested in, Jacobs highly recommends attending its camp during the summer.

This is a quality over quantity situation, however. Don’t simply go to as many camps as you can. Travel costs can build up quickly and you can burn yourself out. Instead, target the schools you like most and think are the best fit, then get out there and show what you’re capable of.

“I’d say get to the schools that are showing you the most interest or are recruiting you the hardest,” Jacobs said. “Go to the schools that you want to go to and prove that you deserve a scholarship or an opportunity to play."

Represent Yourself Well

This seems like a no-brainer, but Jacobs stressed how vitally important it is. North Dakota State recruits by regions and has a few voices it leans on in each one. If you don’t get along with your coach or have a poor track record, college coaches will hear about it.

Any positive interactions are helpful. When NDSU’s coaches sit down with their regional coaches, they always ask “Who gave you fits this year?” or “Who’s a player in this area that’s being under recruited?”

The more positive impressions you create, the more buzz you’ll receive.

“Just be a great kid at your high school and a leader in your community,” Jacobs said. “That’s what we’re looking for. Have the total package and have a great relationship with your high school coach. I think in these days with recruiting that gets lost sometimes, the relationship with coaches. I hope we can get back to that."

Ready to learn the ins and outs of the recruiting process?

Check out our College Recruiting Guide for Athletes.