Play a Recruitable Position
Many high school football players make the mistake of playing a position that they will not get recruited to play in college. This hurts your recruiting stock because coaches will likely want to see you perform on film and in live situations to get a good feel for your abilities at that position–if you are playing the wrong position they cannot take notice.
This can also be a factor at camps and combines which group athletes by position. You cannot expect to get real notice if you are 6’0 205lbs and playing defensive tackle when you should be playing linebacker. This scenario happened to Oklahoma walk-on and starting running back Dominque Whaley, who in high school played slot receiver because the starting running back was nationally ranked. He ended up at a small NAIA school because no major school recruited him as a slot receiver.
Get the Right Workout
If you pay attention to every college football coaching staff in the country you will notice they enlist the services of at least one if not multiple strength coaches. These are people who are trained in strength and conditioning, usually for their specific sport.
It is likely that your high school football coaching staff does not fit this profile which means the workout they wrote for you is not position-specific. You should look into either position-specific workouts or coaching by a private trainer who understands the strength and explosion demands of your particular position.
These workouts do not end with weights but are extended to endurance and speed training as well. Again, each position has its own demands for the speed and endurance required for success and should be treated as such.
Where Do You Fit in?
Nothing makes more sense than to understand the football team that you have interest in playing for. If you are a drop back, pro-style QB you probably have no business looking at colleges that run spread offenses. If you’re a bruising, pro-style running back the same goes for you as well. This fits in with almost every position played. The way you learn about a program is to research the team.
What type of offense or defense do they run? How big are the players they recruit at your position? These questions will help you identify what level of football you think you can play at. Not every football player will play D1. You must have a firm idea of where your talent will allow you to play or your recruiting will not be successful.
Attend Camps and Combines
Football camps and combines are keys to getting recruited if used properly. Camps are a way for a coaching staff to bring you onto their campus, get you training with their coaches, and introduce you to their facilities. These camps are usually free or very inexpensive.
This is a good recruiting tool for coaches because they get you on campus without having to spend their athletic department dollars. They also get to evaluate you in person, your skills, your attitude, your character, etc. One of the secrets to camps is cultivating conversations with interested coaches prior to their camp.
At that point it is likely you will receive more attention than if you were just another football player. You should only be attending camps at schools that you are interested in. Make sure to add those camps into your already-busy summer schedule.
Combines are a way for you and coaching staffs to get verified scouting information on you as a potential college athlete. Statistics such as your 40-yard dash, 5-10-5 shuttle, vertical jump, 185 bench press, etc. can all be embellished and should always be accompanied by a verified source.
Coaches trust these combines to produce accurate stats so they can evaluate a student athlete properly. Some combines around the country are also keys to getting into all-star football games at the end of the season, which for some can help recruiting efforts. At least two combines should be attended each summer to get the best results.
Become a Student of the Game
Being able to play the game is obviously a factor that coaches take into account when recruiting an athlete, but if you can add your ability to understand the game to your talent you increase your stock significantly.
This means you should have an eye for and an understanding of game film, game situations, opponent breakdowns, drills, etc. It is small things like this that allow you to separate yourself from others who might be competing for the same scholarship opportunities.
Excel in the Classroom
Learning is why you are going to college; you are in fact vying to become a student-athlete so you must have a desire to do well academically. Your ability to excel in the classroom can separate you from the pack during your recruiting.
For those of you that are on the cusp of having the talent to play at one division or another, your grades can influence a coach’s decision beyond your athletic ability. Your grades can also open doors for you into schools that your athletics could not. For those of you looking at anything other than D1, your grades can also mean more scholarship money in your pocket.
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