In high school, Francis Kanneh had problems earning a college scholarship for his skills at the quarterback position. College recruiting was not frequently practiced in his native Minnesota, according to Kanneh.
“For me, coming from Minnesota it’s not like California or Texas or Florida, where there’s a lot of recruiting going on.” he said. “I had to really learn the process on my own and I didn’t know the GPA requirements, I didn’t know when to start.”
Kanneh ultimately earned an offer at Southern University, but he wanted to help other athletes who were enduring through the same problems. Kanneh created the website “UnderRecruited Preps” to help expose the talents of his prep clients to Division I, II, III, and NAIA schools throughout the country.
“I played quarterback and it really helped me as far as being a leader,” Kanneh said. “I think I carry that into the business world.”
Student athletes can also garner the attention of junior college conferences including the Northwest Athletic Conference and the California Community College Athletic Association. The company prides itself in its ability to display athletes to over 50,000 coaches.
“UnderRecruited Preps” serves athletes from a wide variety of sports including rowing, baseball, hockey, football, and cross country. Recruiters can search athletes by state, city, or GPA.
Athletes can set up profiles and add videos for recruiters to see. “UnderRecruited Preps” grew a tremendous presence on social media with 69.2 thousand Twitter followers. It has 3,212 followers on Facebook, which is a fragment to its 16.3 thousand Instagram followers.
Recent tweets show high school athletes gaining offers from universities such as Wagner College and St. Cloud State University.
The company offers three packages to athletes, one of them being free of charge. All users who sign up get access to NCAA and NAIA resources. Other packages offer access to schools from all three divisions and junior college programs.
Kanneh mentioned how his prices are much lower than other recruiting sites.
“As a person from the inner-city, I understand how hard it is, not just for inner-city kids, but for anybody to pay.” Kanneh said.
This year, Kanneh graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. He started “UnderRecruited” Preps as a sophomore and created a website on his own.
“I started in my dorm room,” Kanneh said. “I started it by just teaching myself how to do web design and how to code.”
The profits earned were invested back into the business. Kanneh upgraded his site, by sending his design ideas to another company for the site’s recreation.
Kanneh writes the blog for UnderRecruited Preps, he gives advice on lower division schools, the importance of researching universities, and the SATs along with other topics. Students should be preparing for college by their freshmen year, according to Kanneh.
“I always advise people to start earlier,” he said. “It’s about learning the process and picking the right school and the right fit for the particular student athlete because it’s not a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision.”