football

Football Recruiting: The Vast Unknown

Ok...I'm going to throw a LOT of information at you at one time. I'm going to give you what I know as a parent of two college football players who has been through this as well as a recruiting analyst who has been in the business since 1984. That said,
there is a lot more to the recruiting game that you need to be versed
on, as
mentioned in this article as "do your research!"
PART I: THE BASICS
Year in and year out, I get contacted by hundreds of parents and
players
about the entire recruiting process.........and the questions usually
run about
the same....."How can I get my son more exposure? Is my son good
enough?" and on and on. This special is written to give some of what I
have
learned over the last 27 years years about the entire recruiting
process from a
football perspective. Others I'm sure have a better knowledge, others
basically
make a living off of a lot of the information that I hope to provide
with this
four-part series. I hope to inform all of you a little bit of what I
have run
across.......both the Do's and the Don't! Hope this helps!
First off........is your son really a recruit?????
It's the best place I can think of to start............is your son
really a
recruit? So how do you find this out? Is there some magical formula
that tells
you........YOU'RE A RECRUIT? No. When do you find out if your son is a
recruit?
Senior year? Junior year? Sophomore year? Earlier? My experience tells
me that
there really is no set time.......kids are discovered EARLY, while
others are
found late......or your Late Bloomers if you will. So how can you get
an
evaluation?
So how can I get my son evaluated and by whom should it be?
My first and most important piece of advice is simple, yet is
without
question one of THE most important pieces in the entire recruiting
process.......talk to your son's High School coach. A High School coach
is
without question THE person who will in most cases give
you an
honest evaluation of your son's abilities, his physical strengths as
well as his
weaknesses. Your High School coach in most cases has been personally
involved in
the recruitment of other players and has seen first hand if your son
has what it
takes. Many coaches will talk to parents throughout the year about the
entire
recruiting process, and have the experience and knowledge to help guide
you thru
the process. It is imperative to rely upon your coach for advice on the
recruiting process. Your son's coach is your number one source for
recruiting
information as well as for an honest evaluation! Your son's coach is
one of the
MAIN people that colleges and recruiters rely upon for
information.......the
coach is who these people talk to FIRST!
I have yet to find a High School coach that isn't interested in
promoting
their kids.........now to which degree of interest of course varies
from coach
to coach. Some coaches will make and send out highlight tapes.....some
coaches
will work tirelessly in promoting kids whom they feel deserve a fair
shot.
Others might go further, others might not go as far.......but when a
coach gets
a request for information on your son, trust me they will ALL reply. So
let's
say that your High School coach thinks that your son is a recruit and
that your
son has some serious ability. Great! Now, is it all in the coaches
hands? Nope!
Not even close! You as a player/parent have some serious work to do! So
get
crackin!
At SCVarsity.com, we offer numerous opportunities for the players to
get
evaluated by myself and our coaching staff. The SCVarsity.com Elite
Football
Combine is one of the top combine events in the entire country, drawing
more
than 500 players to each event. Our evaluations are honest and we'll
tell you
where we feel your best suited in the recruiting game. And most
importantly, we
communicate either by phone or email with your son's high school coach.
For more
information on SCVarsity.com opportunities, email us at
href="mailto:scvarsity@sc.rr.com">scvarsity@sc.rr.com
Know the Recruiting Game.........Learn the Rules!
Most parents and players really don't know the rules! So how can you
find out
what the rules really are? When can a college contact your son? What is
a
"silent" period? Phone calls? The FIRST place to get information on
the entire recruiting process is located at the
href="http://www.ncaa.org">NCAA
website! This is an excellent source for all of the NCAA rules
regarding
everything about the recruiting process.......from when the NCAA rules
determine
when you are considered a recruited athlete and everything in between!
It is
imperative to KNOW THE RULES! It's YOUR responsibility!
Recruiting Services..........from free to major fee $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
This certainly becomes a sticky subject.......can a recruiter or a
recruiting
service really make a difference? Are those "Pay" recruiting services
really worth it? How important is it to impress those "recruiting"
gurus? What are the different type of recruiting services available? My
experience tells me a few things........first off......let the
buyer
beware!
Recruiting Services...............what, why, and most importantly
how much
and is it worth it?
A prospective recruit will be besieged by many different type of
services,
all with the claim that "we can help your son get a scholarship!" Many
of these services come at a price.......in some cases a HEFTY price
tag! My
experience? I have heard from many parents who have used various
services.........some claim with success.....but in MANY cases it's
almost
impossible to judge if the service actually helped.
These "services" come in many various sizes and shapes.......some
will charge you $25 dollars for a T-Shirt and they will also claim to
put your
son's bio on a list that "will be read by hundreds of colleges" while
others offer a more "personalized" service. The more
"personalized" services also can vary......many claim to help your son
get more exposure and they too offer a "comprehensive" listing that is
sent to many colleges and universities.
Best advice? Research! Many of these services claim to have helped
"thousands" find scholarships.......just ask them for a list of those
names. Ask for references.....in most cases, you'll either get a short
list of
"kids" that in many cases are relatives/friends of the service, or you
won't get any names or references at all. Remember this folks.......if
anyone
could pay anywhere from $25 to $2,000 for a scholarship, then sign me
up! Sign
all of us up!
Now, as far as those "lists" that get sent out to the
colleges......guess what? These either never get sent, or if they do
get sent,
they wind up in the shredder and the wastebasket! Any major college and
university has staff that compiles a listing of all potential recruits,
and the
chances of your son getting noticed from these "lists" is a long-shot
at best. Again, let the buyer beware. Play it smart. Do research. Do
LOTS of
research. Talk to your coach. Talk to other parents who have already
gone thru
the recruiting process. Learn as much as you can BEFORE you decide to
fork over
that hard earned money.......these "services" are more than aware that
you want to do what's best for your son.....that is there "hook". Let
the buyer beware! Remember, if any of these services can guarantee your
son a
scholarship.....go for it! Just get it in writing
PART II: DEVELOP YOUR GAMEPLAN
Having a game plan! Get YOUR act together!
In Part 1, I briefly discussed several important factors that make
up the
whole recruiting process. Now that we have figured out that your son
has skills
and MIGHT be considered a recruitable athlete, where can you go from
here?
Have a GAMEPLAN!
A game plan? What kind of game plan? How can a parent or player
really be
prepared for the entire recruiting process? When do you start?
Research! Learn more!
As mentioned in Part 1, you need to learn as much as possible about
the
entire recruiting process. Besides visiting the NCAA website and
speaking to
your son's High School head coach, what else can you do? Plenty!
So what is your son's goal? To play in the SEC or ACC? To run out
onto the
field to "2001" at South Carolina or rub the rock and run down the
hill at Clemson? Or how about the Big East, Big-10, or PAC-10? While
these are
the dreams of EVERY player in High School, the reality of this
happening as well
as the overall chances of this dream coming true is SLIM at best. The
odds of
having a kid accept a full scholarship to a MAJOR Division 1 school is
about the
same as hitting the Lotto. This is reality. Part 1 of YOUR game plan
must be
based in some serious REALITY! It's great to shoot for the moon and the
stars,
but reality tells me that you should keep the goals in recruiting
attainable. If
your son wants to continue to play football after high school, this
should be
goal number 1. Paying for this? This should be a goal as well, whether
a full
blown ride to Enormous University or some serious Financial Aid to a
smaller
school. Another goal? Keep all doors and opportunities OPEN!
Every parent and player wants to play for Enormous University. But
what MANY
players and parents don't realize is that while a smaller school might
not offer
the "atmosphere" of a Monsterous State University, the smaller school
can offer as good if not a BETTER education than the larger schools.
Many 1-AA
and smaller DII schools might not offer the "full ride" or the glory,
getting 50/60/70/80 percent of your education paid for playing a sport
that your
son loves is a pretty good route to a degree. Again, I have seen too
many
players in the past who "blew off" these smaller schools waiting for
Enormous State to call and unfortunately, in most cases, EU never
calls, and the
smaller school has moved on! Remember...keep ALL DOORS OPEN!
Prepare prepare and prepare!
So we are fully into the off-season, and many of the players are
getting to
get surveys and questionnaires in the mail. Most colleges and
universities send
these out en mass. Yet filling these out is a MUST! If you receive 15
of these
in the mail, send back all 15! If a college has your info on file, they
know
that you are actually interested. If a college asks/requests
information, send
it back! The sooner the better! Now....what information can YOU
prepare?
Create a bio of your son/player
This is a cheap and easy yet effective way to have all of your son's
information on hand if this is requested. While I have seen a million
different
styles, just a simple one page bio with a picture is the most
effective. What is
on this bio? Name, address phone number, sizes, position, any awards
won, basic
academic info, anything that YOU want a college/university to know.
Look at this
bio like a resume for your son. Sell and use his strengths, but don't
get too
carried away, keep it to one full page. This is an effective way to
have all of
this important information on hand if requested.
Have Tape Available!
Part III of this series will go into details about having a
video-tape ready
on your son! I will cover the so-called "ideal" tape as well as what
NOT to do!
Pictures! Have some pictures!
It amazes me how many parents do NOT have any pictures of their kids
available. Make sure that you have at minimum a head shot of your son.
Recruiters
and schools want to at least see what your son looks like! Some
goofballs like
myself will attempt to use EVERY picture that we receive. I also ensure
that these are seen in HIGH traffic areas of the website as well!
Take care of the essentials!
This seems VERY obvious, yet because of the importance of
recruiting, I feel
it's important to mention??.grades! Despite what you have seen or heard
over the
years?.very few if any schools will offer a basket-weaving degree.
Grades
matter. Your son will be considered a STUDENT athlete for recruiting
purposes
regardless of his athletic skills. You MUST have your academics in
order. Take
your SAT early! Study, study and study some more. If you need to boost
your test
scores?..get help! Remember?..grades do matter!
The best word of advice I can give is to NEVER give a college a
reason to NOT
recruit your son! If his grades are bad, you have limited your
opportunities.
Does he have a behavioral problem? Or has your son ever had a run-in
with the
authorities? Schools and colleges will find out, if the press and
recruiters
don't first! Be honest and up front with the coaches.
PART III: GETTING NOTICED
Getting noticed!
Probably one of the most difficult things involved in the entire
recruiting
process is getting noticed. How do some kids get noticed while others,
who very
well could be as good if not better recruits than those who have caught
the
public's eye get their due? How do you get noticed? How do you catch
the eyes of
those recruiting guys? How do you get on those listings?
Some of these ideas might work, some might not. But all are worth a
try!
Publicize your player!
Now while the Bright One or other major newspapers are a great place
to get
your son's name out to the masses, the chanced of getting your son
mentioned in
these papers are as remote in most cases as winning the Lottery. The
facts are
simply this.........most major newspapers are limited in the amount of
space
that they can devote towards recruiting, and most if not all major
newspapers
have their own "recruiting" experts who they rely upon for this
information.
Now, with this said.....how can you get the message out? Prepare.
Look at the
various recruiting outlets........how can they possibly get all of the
information that they list? How can they possibly look and judge all of
these
players? How can they rate and compare players?
Simple.......information.
Recruiting services spend a TON of time sending out surveys to coaches
and
players in the off-season, they also spend thousand of dollars a year
on the
phone.......calling coaches and parents and players. Getting
information. If you
are sent these surveys....fill them out. If your asked for a picture of
your
son.......provide one. Video tape? By all means make sure you have
Tape! More on
video tape later.
I have dealt with many, many players and parents over the last
several years,
and what amazes me is the lack of understanding of why this is so
important.
Websites and recruiters can't talk or evaluate your son without this
information. Be prepared and ready. Have extra pictures of your son
ready. Have
copies of a video tape all set to go. Throw together a one-page bio on
your son
as well.......nothing too fancy, just consider it a resume for any
potential
schools. These bio's are extremely helpful....and remember.......the
more info
the better.....Grades? Size? Special honors earned? Stats? This also is
an
incredibly handy tool that can be prepared at minimal cost.
But what about if the recruiting services or other mediums don't
call? What
then? My suggestion is to find out how to contact them (usually isn't
too
difficult, although some services make contacting them like trying to
find a
person in the witness protection program!) and send them the
information! You
would be amazed at how many kids are "discovered" because someone
"tipped" off a service or a recruiter! It does work, because I know
this firsthand!
Let's face facts......it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to know about
every kid in
the state without some help. No one can claim to have "discovered"
every kid. I readily admit that many players slip under my nose each
and every
year. Players on losing teams? Yep, you get overlooked a lot! Kids on
winning
teams? Doesn't matter...if we don't know about you, you won't get
publicized!
From my own personal experience, I am more than willing to take the
time to
reply to any emails on a player.......actually I answer emails in the
thousands
each year from parents and players wanting more info.........I figure
it's the
least I can do. Pictures? I have yet to NOT use a players picture on
this
site......at one point last season I featured a new player picture on
the Varsity
Underground Message Board almost daily! I will also follow up
these
request with a call to that players coach. This is how I get my info,
and any
website or recruiting service out there worth anything will also
happily respond
and reply! Heck, you can always
href="http://www.twitter.com/scvarsity">http://www.twitter.com/scvarsity,
as well, 
PART IV: MAKING THE VIDEO TAPE
Lights......camera.......action!
Making a GOOD quality video highlight tape!
Video tape........video tape (Or CD's and DVD's) has become to the
football
recruiting world what the computer has become to business........it's a
MUST
HAVE! From recruiting experts to college coaches and all points in
between.......a good quality videotape of a player is a MUST! So how
can YOU get
some quality footage? What should be included on this tape? What should
NOT be
on this tape? Read on.
Top things you MUST do for an effective highlight tape
Get a video camera or access to as much tape as possible.
Fortunately
some schools are video tape crazy......and some schools have one shaky
camera at
best. Make sure that you are able to get what you want......good
quality
footage! Good quality footage? Good quality footage is tape that is
easy to see,
without jumpy or blurred footage......nothing turns off an evaluator
than to
have to struggle with watching a shaky tape. Take from as many sources
as
possible and compile the best or best available.
Now.......linemen? This gets tough, since most people takes shots
and follow
the ball/action. Most video of linemen lasts approximately 1-2 second
from the
snap and the rest is following the ball. The ideal video angle is from
up
top......sideline footage is mostly useless from an evaluation
standpoint. Also,
take some video from as wide an angle as possible besides the super
close-ups........this way it's easier to see how your son react to the
"entire" play. Besides linemen, the same can be said of DB/LB's. If
your son is in one of these positions, you should find a way to get
footage of
your son playing thru every play from start to finish.....this is the
BEST way
to get an honest evaluation. Many schools and coaches will gladly help
in making
a tape, others will at least offer it's video for parents and players
to copy.
Also get friendly with that "Goofy" parent who tapes every game....you
might be surprised at how much video they have, and you also might be
surprised
at how good they are at making videos!
Make sure that if you are copying a tape from another tape, or
creating
your own DVD's, ensure that the tape or DVD that you are sending out
actually
works! You would be amazed at how many tapes go out blank or DVD's
that get
produced that can't open.......and 98% of most schools/recruiters will
also be
left with that impression of your son......BLANK!
Leave the Hollywood productions to Hollywood! I have seen
tapes that
parents have obviously spent thousands of dollars having
made.......from Star
Wars like graphics to explosions to out and out promotions that make
some
Heisman Trophy campaigns look tame......be smart.....if your son
doesn't have
the skills or talent, no Hollywood type production will cover for this!
Keep it
simple.....and cost effective. Music? Music is fine.....as long as it's
QUIETLY
in the background.......I personally like music, others don't.
Also make sure you include your son's uniform number so that it's
easily
seen/remembered....nothing worse than seeing a tape and having to guess
who your
son is (especially if someone sees another player who is NOT your
son!). Adding
stats and vital info is fine to the video....but make sure that you
also include
this info in a bio besides the video tape. Also make sure to properly
label this
tape itself......include name/school/position/uniform number and a
phone number!
The ideal video tape or DVD?
Again, everyone seems to have a different answer to this question,
so I'll I
can talk about is feedback from recruiting experts, college coaches and
the like
as to what makes an ideal tape. The ideal tape should include
1. The first part of a highlight tape should include your best
12-15
plays/highlights. Make sure that these highlights are at the
BEGINNING of
the video......always remember about good first impressions.
2. Next include at least 2 FULL games! Nothing becomes more
frustrating than watching a video of a player and seeing highlights and
nothing
else.....in many cases it tells the viewer "you have something to
hide!" Two full games will give an evaluator a good feel for what your
son
has to offer!
Also, TRY to have this footage put together and ready to go asap!
The longer
you make a school wait....the sooner they will forget you! If your son
is a Top
junior recruit......honestly you should have this ready to go by
now......if
not? Get cracking!
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Need more information: order the SCVarsity.com
Recruiting
Guide by clicking on the graphic below. This publication includes the
eligibility changes for the Class of 2014, as well as those upcoming
changes for the Class of 2016
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