Taking The Initiative

John Macomber

By Lauren Leary
Special to GoHolyCross.com

For most high school athletes, the process of college recruitment is a long, confusing and even expensive ordeal. With popular recruitment websites charging their users up to several hundreds of dollars just to send out a generic e-mail to colleges, many student athletes find themselves lost in the process, without guidance or individualized aid to easily grab the attention of a college coach.

John Macomber, a junior placekicker on the Holy Cross football team knows the frustrations of the college recruiting process all too well. Although the history major from Vienna, Va., attended the prestigious Georgetown Prep School, the difficulties of finding a Division I football program at a respectable college had not escaped him. The anonymity of the e-mails sent out by existing college recruiting websites who seemed to be looking solely for an excuse to scam high school athletes out of money was a frustration in itself, and gave Macomber the idea to develop recruiting4me.com, a do-it-yourself college recruiting site.

Macomber, who tied Holy Cross' single-season record with 12 field goals in the 2011 season, and who was also named to the Academic All-Patriot League and Capital One first team Academic All-District in 2011, is grateful that he chose to attend Holy Cross. Yet, he cannot forget his initial frustrations with locating a school that was a good fit both academically and athletically, and thus began to work on recruiting4me.com in August of 2011. He says he was especially inspired by the experience of a friend of his who was a promising athlete in high school, paid three thousand dollars to a recruiting website who only sent out a video from a generic e-mail and now is not playing college sports mainly for that reason.

When Macomber voiced his idea to launch what is now recruiting4me.com to his sister Annie, who graduated from William & Mary in 2010 and played both lacrosse and soccer at the college, she was onboard right away. The two student-athletes immediately began to brainstorm the different ways their website would vary from the already existing college recruiting sites. The pair decided to form a do-it-yourself program where users can search a database of schools based on compatible ACT and SAT scores, the size of the student population, information specific to their sport (the coaches' emails, etc.), financial aid and general interest.

With all of the NCAA participating schools included in their database, recruiting4me.com will then allow the student-athlete to create a personal profile, bookmark the schools that interest them and send out a personal e-mail to recruiting coaches from their own account - instead of the generic form used by other websites. This will solve an issue that Macomber realized early on in his own recruiting process, as he says, "there weren't any do-it-yourself recruiting websites. Coaches would get hundreds of e-mails from a particular recruiting website and you can't really make yourself stand out from that." Recruiting4me.com, however, aims specifically to make each athlete stand out, as they will not attach their company name to the e-mails, thus making the coach-athlete interactions more personal.

The website will also be drastically cheaper to use, as Macomber refers to it as a "cost-effective solution for a lot of high school athletes." Price was a main frustration he experienced with college recruiting sites, so his goal is to keep the cost of utilizing his own site's advice down to a minimum. Users of the site will also be able to read articles on financial aid and recruitment, as well as view e-mail templates for contacting coaches. Macomber cites one of the main perks of his website, which also varies from the other recruiting sites, as the ability to receive inexpensive and "honest advice from current and former college athletes" such as his sister and himself.

Macomber is working with Studio4 Technologies, a website programming company in Amherst, Mass., to develop the site and through his overseeing of the project, is confident in its accessibility for student athletes of all levels. He says the site will be beneficial to users in that they can easily search for schools that interest them, instead of sifting through Princeton review books and spending hours online to find people to contact, which is something he himself had to endure.

Macomber is content with his time spent on the Hill thus far both athletically and academically. "It has been an amazing experience," he says. "Holy Cross has taught me a lot about the expectations of a Division I football program. It has enhanced my work ethic both on the field and in the classroom." He hopes to lessen the stress of potential student-athletes so they can end up as content as he is in college, and spend less time, energy and money while doing so.