The rising costs of college combined with the fierce competition for scholarship dollars is leaving some student athletes out in the cold when it comes to higher education.
However, Valrico resident Jim Delaney is helping student athletes achieve their dream of playing college sports.
Delaney is the West Central Florida recruiting director for RecruitLook, a national company that focuses on helping student athletes obtain college scholarships.
Delaney, who played baseball at Bloomingdale High School (he graduated in 1990) and now coaches at the Bloomingdale Little League, said it's become his passion to help talented high school student athletes move on to the college level.
"It’s all about helping the kids," said Delaney. "Today, there's so much involved in getting your name out there to college coaches. I try to make it easy for them and head them down the right road."
Delaney decided to become a recruiter for RecruitLook a year ago after seeing the need for his services in Hillsborough County with its abundance of talented high school athletes.
"I'm now working with about 30 kids from Durant, Newsome, Bloomingdale and other high schools," said Delaney.
Delaney said the recruitment process has become so complex that it's difficult for families to navigate on their own.
"I sit down with the families and help them come up with a plan," said Delaney. "I keep the student athletes informed about what they need to do in terms of applying for scholarships, eligibility, getting their names out there and getting in contact with college coaches. There's a lot of things out there that families can take advantage of."
RecruitLook offers a website featuring the student athletes that more than 12,000 college coaches of all sports can peruse for candidates.
In addition, Delaney creates skills videos of each student athlete he represents that he distributes to colleges. He also promotes his athletes through Twitter and Facebook.
"There are a lot of kids out there who are very talented but have had zero exposure," said Delaney. "You can't sit back and wait for somebody to find you. You have to be proactive."
When Delaney isn't mentoring student athletes, he said he's busy scouting games, looking for talent to represent, as well as talking to high school and college coaches about scholarship candidates.
He said talented athletes can begin the recruiting process as early as eighth grade.
"It's never too early to start putting your name out there," he said.
He charges $1,000 for his services and offers a payment plan for families.
For information on RecruitLook, visit the website.
To contact Delaney, call 813-477-8429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for Delaney's blog on Patch featuring tips for connecting with coaches, finding scholarships and applying to colleges.