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Athletic Quest College Sports Recruiting System matches athletes with colleges

Posted: August 11, 2009 10:01 p.m.
Updated: August 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

John DiLuigi is the national distribution manager for Athletic Quest College Recruiting System. According to DiLuigi, it is important for athletes to understand how difficult it can be to play Division I sports.

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Local athletes don’t have to go far to get their names out to colleges.

They don’t even have to leave the Santa Clarita Valley.

Athletic Quest College Sports Recruiting System has a strong presence in the area, and the company is the only educational recruiting system in the country with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

The company’s Web site, Athleticquest.net, is designed to help high school athletes get money to play sports in college.

“The biggest mistake that most people make is assuming their child is a Division I athlete,” says John DiLuigi, Athletic Quest’s national distributors manager. “Only .08 percent of high school seniors go Division I in all sports nationwide.”

Based out of South Jordan, Utah, Athletic Quest’s site went live in 2005 and currently offers recruiting help for 44 sports at more than 2,000 colleges of all levels.

DiLuigi himself got involved in 2006.

He was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for Canyon’s 2006 CIF-Division I state champion football team. But the only player from the team who was offered a scholarship during the season to play football in college was his son J.J. DiLuigi, a star running back who ended up going to Brigham Young University.

DiLuigi saw Athletic Quest as a good way to help lesser-known kids market themselves to colleges. The company uses former college coaches to teach kids and parents about the entire recruiting process.

For instance, they teach the importance of not just doing well in classes, but taking the right classes.

“Recruiting starts in your freshman year (of high school),” DiLuigi says. “(Advanced placement) courses can be a double-edged sword because some colleges don’t take AP credit. If kids don’t take both the SAT and the ACT, they’re cutting 85 percent of their options by not taking one.”

The company teaches other realities about college sports, including situations that arise in the recruiting process.

DiLuigi says that several Division I college football programs contacted his son about a scholarship, but because they weren’t recruiting running backs that year, the conversation never got very far.

He also stresses the importance of looking outside the state of California for scholarships, and just how rare a full scholarship is.

“Two percent of all college athletes are on full scholarships,” DiLuigi says. “Division I is the smallest division of NCAA sports but they give out the most scholarships.”

With the Athletic Quest program, athletes are assigned a mentor, which is usually a former college coach.

They also get their own profile, which includes sports they’re looking to play, highlight videos, contact information and academic information, and they can browse the site to get information about colleges across the country.

DiLuigi says the process can cost between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars, depending on the athlete and the sport.

He says there are more than 1,700 recruiting companies like Athletic Quest across the country, and some athletes choose to go with a different company.

Additionally, athletes don’t always follow the advice of Athletic Quest.

“Some kids from the Santa Clarita Valley go to programs that we advise against, or go to community colleges because they think they can go higher, and that’s their decision,” he says.

But for athletes like Jerrid McKenna, Athletic Quest is worth it.

McKenna played basketball at Canyon and graduated in 2007, but he developed a tumor his senior year and faced an early end to his basketball career.

He eventually recovered and approached DiLuigi about using Athletic Quest in June.

This weekend, McKenna will visit the campus of Crown College in Minnesota, which offered him $10,000 between athletics and academics.

If McKenna likes what he sees, he will accept the scholarship.

“I never would have thought it was possible four or five months ago,” McKenna says.

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