What Level Should I Target in My Recruiting Search?

Hi All! 

Another question I get a lot is “where do I fit?” Or, “where should I target my time and effort to have the best chance at getting an offer?”

That question is a tough one because, as mentioned in an earlier post, there is a lot of variation even within the D-I, D-II, and D-III ranks.  That said, there are some stats available on averages at each level. So here are some typical qualifications for athletes at each level (most of this is borrowed from NCSA’s recruiting guidelines).

Note that not all athletes fit these guidelines. In general, though, if you do not fit the "build" or "athletic" guidelines for a given level, you'll have to make up for it in another area.  For example, a hitter who only touches 9' 8" may be able to contribute to a Top 100 school at the DI level if she attacks at an exceptional velocity, or has outstanding ball control. These numbers are useful as a starting point, though: 

NCAA DI - Top 100 Schools:

High School Experience:

  • 3-4 Year Varsity Starter
  • Team Captain
  • High School or VB Magazine All-Americans

Club Experience:

  • 5+ Years on a national-level club team
  • High finishes at the Open level in Qualifiers
  • All-American or National All-Tournament Recognition

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Ave Weight

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’5” – 6’

125

28” vert

 

MB

6’ – 6’ 5”

155

9’ 5” +

10’ +

OH/S

5’ 11” – 6’ 2”

140

9’ 4” +

9’ 10” +

Setters

5’ 8” – 6’ 1”

130

9’ 2” +

9’ 6” +

 

NCAA DI – Mid/Lower Level Schools:

High School Experience:

  • 2-3 Year Varsity Starter
  • Team Captain
  • All-State, All-Region, All-Conference

Club Experience:

  • 3+ Years at the National level.
  • Attendance at National Qualifiers and/or AAUs

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Ave Weight

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’5” – 5’ 10”

125

24” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 11” – 6’ 3”

155

9’ 4” +

9’ 9” +

OH/RS

5’ 10” – 6’ 0”

140

9’ 3” +

9’ 7” +

Setters

5’ 8” – 6’ 1”

130

9’ +

9’ 3” +

 

NCAA DII – Upper Level (Top 8 in Region):

High School Experience:

  • 2-3 Year Varsity Starter
  • Team Captain
  • All-State, All-Region, All-Conference

Club Experience:

  • 3+ Years at the National level.
  • Attendance at National Qualifiers and/or AAUs

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’ 2” – 5’ 8”

22” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 10” – 6’ 2”

9’ 4” +

9’ 8” +

OH/RS

5’ 8” – 5’ 11”

9’ 2” +

9’ 6” +

Setters

5’ 7” – 5’ 10”

9’ +

9’ 2” +

 

 

NCAA DII – Lower Level (Under Top 10 in Region):

High School Experience:

  • 2 Year Varsity Starter
  • Likely All-State, All-Region, All-Conference recognition

Club Experience:

  • 2+ Years
  • Attendance at National Qualifiers and/or AAUs preferred, but not required

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’ – 5’ 8”

18” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 9” – 6’ 1”

9’ 2” +

9’ 6” +

OH/RS

5’ 8” – 5’ 10”

9’ +

9’ 4” +

Setters

5’ 4” – 5’ 10”

8’ 10” +

9’ 0” +

 

NCAA DIII – Upper Level (Top 8 in Region):

High School Experience:

  • 2-3 Year Varsity Starter
  • All-State, All-Region, All-Conference recognition

Club Experience:

  • 2-3 Years at the National Level
  • Attendance at National Qualifiers and/or AAUs preferred, but not required

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’ – 5’ 8”

20” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 9” – 6’ 1”

9’ 2” +

9’ 6” +

OH/RS

5’ 8” – 5’ 10”

9’ +

9’ 4” +

Setters

5’ 4” – 5’ 10”

8’ 10” +

9’ 0” +

 

**Note: Most upper level D-III players would be similar to a mid-level D-II player.

 

NCAA DIII – Lower Level (Under Top 10 in Region):

High School Experience:

  • Varsity Starter for at least 1 Year

Club Experience:

  • Club experience preferred, but not necessarily required

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’ – 5’ 8”

16” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 8” – 6’ 0”

8’ 11” +

9’ 2” +

OH/RS

5’ 6” – 5’ 11”

8’ 10” +

9’ 0” +

Setters

5’ 0” – 5’ 10”

8’ 8” +

8’ 10” +

 

**Note: Most upper level D-III players would be similar to a mid-level D-II player.

 

NAIA – Upper Level:

High School Experience:

  • 2-3 Year Varsity Starter
  • Team Captain
  • All-State, All-Region, All-Conference

Club Experience:

  • 3+ Years at the National level.
  • Attendance at National Qualifiers and/or AAUs

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’2” – 5’ 8”

20” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 10” – 6’ 2”

9’ 2” +

9’ 7” +

OH/RS

5’ 8” – 5’ 11”

9’ 1” +

9’ 6” +

Setters

5’ 7” – 5’ 10”

8’ 11” +

9’ 2” +

 

**Note: Many upper level NAIA programs are competitively equal to mid/low level DI programs, and many upper level NAIA players are similar to upper level DII players in skill and athleticism.

 

NAIA – Lower Level:

High School Experience:

  • 1-2 Year Varsity Starter
  • Possible All-State, All-Region, All-Conference award winner

Club Experience:

  • 2+ Years
  • Attendance at National Qualifiers and/or AAUs

Average Characteristics by Position:

Position

Height Range

Block Touch

Approach Touch

DS

5’ – 5’ 8”

18” + vertical

 

MB

5’ 9” – 6’ 1”

9’ 1” +

9’ 4” +

OH/RS

5’ 7” – 5’ 10”

8’ 11” +

9’ 3” +

Setters

5’ 4” – 5’ 10”

8’ 9” +

9’ +

 

Grades for All Divisions:

Preferred:

3.0+ GPA

24+ ACT

1000 SAT (out of 1600)

*Of course, there are schools with more stringent academic requirements.

 

Some Stats by Division (as of 2014)

Division

VB Schools

Scholarships/School

Total WVB Athletes

NCAA DI

329

12

4,685

NCAA DII

277

8

3,971

NCAA DIII

430

0 athletic

6,171

NAIA

240

8

3,075

NJCAA

303

14

3,589

Total

1,579

 

21,491

HS WVB Players

 

 

403,985 (~5% play in college)

 

That's it until next year! We'll be back in January with some information about how your club coach fits into the recruiting process, what college coaches look for at tournaments, and some questions to ask while you're on the phone or on a visit. 

Thanks all, and Happy Holidays! 

Kim 

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