You Have One Job in College Football Recruiting, Get Exposure

Have you ever seen a guy that looks the part and have a ton of offers?  Have you ever seen a guy who is the part with an offer sheet that’s as blank as a mind of a man in a coma?  Ever wonder what the difference is?

If all things are equal it just boils down to this one word called exposure.  Running the GridironStuds.com website and the GridironStuds app,  I am looking prospects all day long.  Over the years I have certainly coached many and seen a ton in person.  As such,  I have seen flat out ball players who have the required dimensions tucked away like an alligator in the bush.  Upon investigation  I have often determined the major problem to be lack of exposure.  For some,  the problem is simply living in the wrong area,  in the wrong state or going to the wrong school.  For others it’s just a lack of due diligence in getting their name out there so that the proper people can see them.

There was a time when what you did on Friday night was enough but those days are long gone.  The only guys that get to rely entirely on their Friday night exploits are the guys who are built like the Hulk and move like Flash.  Even still,  those guys have to make it out to events and promote themselves to be ranked amongst the best in their class.  Once recruiting websites started becoming a thing and camps became a staple,  it was time to start doing a little bit more to earn yourself a scholarship offer.

Of course,  I am writing this article during a pandemic so I am urging you as of right now to operate with extreme caution as it pertains to exposure camps and events.  However,  I know this article has a good chance of standing the test of time which means people will be reading it when things return to normal (whatever that ends up being).  If and when they do,  you have to consider going to camps,  joining 7on7 teams and going to events.  As you continue to improve and up your game,  it is important that you show the powers that be your work.  I recommend select local camps that have a proven track record of being run efficiently.  Always consider the person or group of people who are putting on the camp or event.  Do your research.  Once you have used those local events to hone your competitive skills,  decide on national camps if you have been fortunate enough to be invited.  Camps like Rivals and The Opening are the grand daddies.  If invited to those,  it’s a no brainer.  Other camps,  for which there are many,  do your due diligence.  Ask around,  research them and get as much information as possible before you spend your hard earned money.

Joining a 7on7 team if you are a skilled position player is a good idea if you are not involved in other sports in the offseason.  While I recommend that football players play other sports to improve their athleticism,  I realize that some guys are just football nuts.  For those guys that are skilled position players,  try your hand at a 7on7 team.  Once again,  do your research.  While a 7on7 team improves your competitive spirit,  hones your skills and puts you around recruiting media,  joining a poorly run one can have some adverse consequences.  Rely on your intuition about the people in charge of it and don’t ignore your common sense when evaluating the coaches and managers of the team.

By far,  the most fruitful camps are the ones put on by the colleges.  Those camps allow you to perform in front of the actual people who can offer you a scholarship.  During the offseason,  do a hard evaluation on your skill level.  Match that skill level up with the camps you attend.  If you chose five camps,  pick three that you have a fairly good chance of receiving an offer from and pick two schools that are in the dream category.  You want to secure those scholarship offers first.  Then you can devote some of your time and energy to trying to impress a school a tad bit beyond your reach by rising to the occasion during drills.

Finally,  what if you can’t go to camps, events or join 7on7s which is the case for the majority of people right now.  We live in the digital era.  Make full use of the tools that you are growing up with.  Social media is not just for funny videos with filters and accepting outlandish challenges that could put your health at risk.  The same way you are looking for clout with likes and follows is the same way you should be seeking the positive attention from college football coaches.  Post videos of you working out in the weight room,  running on the track or doing field drills.  Set up an account on the GridironStuds App which is used by quite a few coaches and 100’s of fans around the country.  Imagine going viral for doing football stuff?  That could certainly get you that key word “exposure” I’ve been talking about.  Don’t ignore the power of fans in this process.  Often times they find and get on a prospect before coaches do.  Show something great on film and they can go to bat for you by passing it around.  Eventually it lands in the right hands.

Coaches are making use of alternative means now for evaluating players like never before.  Start practicing on gaining exposure for your football and academic feats using your social media platforms.  Examine all ways available to you to be seen because the greatest player is not great in the college football recruiting world if no one has seen him.

 

Player of the Day: Ty Myles 2021 DB – Pierce County HS, GA

Under the radar is what he is.  That’s what comes to mind when you take a look at 2021 DB Ty Myles from Pierce County HS.  If you just take a look at the video without knowing his offer sheet or where he is committed to,  you’ll say to yourself that he’s likely ranked in the Top 100 at his position in the country and a fairly highly ranked player in the state of Georgia.  Neither is true.

From the first play on his highlight video,  Myles shows you his worth.  First as a special teams contributor in the return game as he possesses the speed and vision to take a kickoff return back 99 yards.  Then,  like many defensive backs that are deemed to be elite in the college football recruiting world,  Myles plays on the offensive side of the ball at wide receiver.  At that position he shows athleticism,  solid ball skills and playmaking ability.  What you also see is his ability to do something with the football once it is in his hands.  Myles looks a whole lot on film like the #1 ranked cornerback in the 2021 class Tony Grimes.

When it comes to playing defense,  I will dare say that Myles looks even more solid than Grimes.  Myles has solid technique in both press and man.  He also displays his ball tracking skills as a defender and is more than willing to come up and make tackles.  You can see Myles taking on running backs at the point of attack,  sniffing out screen plays and reverses.  What it shows you is that he has a football IQ on top of it all.  Despite all of this,  Myles has not been flooded with offers (currently has 4) and on July 8th he committed to Northern Illinois,  the biggest of those offers to date.  Should a 2020 season happen in the high school ranks in the state of Georgia,  there’s a strong chance that Myles will see the likes of several Power 5 schools kicking the tires on this polished two way player.

Check out Ty Myles’ profile on the GridironStuds app or click here to go to his profile.

High school football players,  download the GridironStuds app and build a profile today.  Give your recruiting a boost by putting yourself in front of college football coaches and fans from across the country.  If exposure is what you need,  we go it.  Over 5,000 prospects use the GridironStuds college football recruiting app.  Click here to download.

COMMIT QUICK: Tony Grimes – UNC Commit

In a much awaited decision,  Princess Anne High School, VA cornerback Tony Grimes,  the #1 rated player at his position in 2021,  chose the North Carolina Tar Heels on Tuesday afternoon. Grimes becomes the 17th commit in Mack Brown’s 2nd class in his return to North Carolina.   He is also UNC’s first 5 star commit in this class.  If Brown and the staff are successful in securing Grimes’ ink to paper he’d be the first 5 star signee in a long time.  North Carolina did not have a 5 star signee in the last decade (2010-2020).

Grimes’ commitment moved North Carolina ahead of Tennessee to the #3 spot in the 247 Team 2021 rankings.  What Brown and his staff are doing on the trail this cycle is noteworthy.  During the last decade,  North Carolina had finishes of 23, 18, 41, 28, 30, 28, 32, 29, 20, 30, 19 in the team rankings.  Grimes’ commitment may swing a few more 5 star eyes towards Chapel Hill.

So what makes Grimes so great.  In looking at the tape,  one thing really jumps out at you.  Grimes knows what to do with the ball in his hand.  Like most 5 star defensive backs,  Grimes plays on offense.  With that,  college scouts get the opportunity to see his athleticism which he has no shortage of.  Princess Anne lines him up at wide receiver, running back and at quarterback occasionally.  No matter where the spot,  Grimes shows the ability to crank out long touchdowns.  He’s not what I would call a quick twitch athlete but does have speed.  Grimes produced a 10.97 (100) and 22.57 (200) in the 2019 track season.  Undoubtedly,  he would have lowered those marks had he been able to run track this year.  Grimes stride reminds you of a young Vince Young when you look at it.

So what about his defense,  the side of the ball he will be playing on in college.  Grimes’ length serves him well as a defender.  He is not long on technique but his physical length often bails him out when he’s behind a step on a wide receiver.  Even in a trailing position,  Grimes can often be seen nabbing the interception or reaching out a long hand to bat the ball away.  At the NFL scouting combine every year,  teams make much of a cornerbacks’ arm length and wing span.  Grimes appears to have both in bunches.  He has a cornerback’s build and athletic skill.  Brown has put together a solid staff in Chapel Hill and wherever Grimes is raw,  Carolina has the ability to sharpen up.   Grimes’ defense does not ask him to press much so the only time you really get a chance to see it is at camps.  What you do see on Grimes’ film is his ability to play both at corner and safety.  In this day in age,  a versatile player is a valuable one.

North Carolina is making noise on the trail but they better be prepared to continue the fight for this committed prospect as the likes of Penn St., Georgia, Alabama and others put the full court press on.

Recruiting Law: Thou Shall Love the Weightroom

If it looks like a football player and it looks like a football player that looks like a football player then it’s a football player. That’s not exactly how that saying goes in the rest of the World but it does hold some truth in the world of college football recruiting.  Allow me to show you.

The eyes are a powerful thing.  Even before you can touch or smell something,  the eyes are at work making 1,000’s of computations about a person,  a place or a thing.  It’s why most believe that the sense of sight is the most powerful sense of all.  In that vain the first assessment a college football coach will make about you upon seeing you is whether or not,  through his eyes,  you look like a football player.  You may have grown up on the old adage never judge a book by it’s cover,   nobody told a college football coach that.

The major reason why this is so is because college football coaches and staffs have an overwhelming amount of confidence in their ability to teach you what you know.  While this confidence should also extend to the abilities of the team’s strength and conditioning coach,   it is not the strength and conditioning coach that’s out on the recruiting trail.  Quite frankly,  no college coach really wants to make the guess nor wants to calculate the time it may take for you to get a college football ready body.  Now,  this doesn’t mean that they won’t take a chance on you if your muscle tone is not up to par but it’s far better to have the armor already on when the generals coming looking for soldiers.

Adding muscle and getting stronger is one of the key attributes to your success on the football field and it’s also one of the attributes that you have great control over.  You can’t make yourself taller than your genetic code calls for and acquiring speed can involve some tricky formulas.  Getting stronger and adding muscle is a little more of a simple equation.  Eat more + lift more = stronger / bigger.  It doesn’t get more simple than that.  There is also the added benefit that getting stronger can also aid you in getting faster if combined with the proper speed development program.  Getting bigger and stronger also gives you more confidence out on the field which in turn just makes you a better overall football player.

When a college coach sees you at camp or comes onto your campus to visit you in school or out at practice,  a well put together body sends off an important signal.  It is a big indication to that coach that you are a hard worker.  If you’ve read my popular article You Thought You Loved Football Then They Gave You A Scholarship then you have an idea of how much hard work must get put in as a college football player.  Nothing says you may be up for the challenge more than a coach seeing you chiseled up in your polo during a school visit or busting out of your team issued practice jersey.  It sends off the same signals white teeth give off when that chic you’ve been eyeballing smiles at you or the chiseled up teammate standing next to you.

Many a college football prospect has gotten the eyes turned to him at a recruiting camp just by looking the part.  Of course,  you still need to be a player (for the most part) but when there are 300, 400, 500 guys at a camp,  it’s nice to start the attention machine when you are at the check in table.

So how are we going to get bigger and stronger?  Here are 3 quick ways that I have observed having major success

(1) Don’t Miss Workouts

While you are striving for that scholarship offer,  working out is life.  You don’t skip a day of eating right?  Well don’t skip a day of lifting. Make it your lifestyle.  First of all,  make it to all of your team’s scheduled workouts.  If missing was unavoidable,  don’t just call it a day off.  Get the workout out in later and if that is not possible at school then give your best simulation at home.  Pushups, situps, pull ups and lunges have built many a durable body.

(2) Eat, Eat, Eat

If you are getting regular meals at home because your mom or dad or grandma can throw down in the kitchen like a 5 star chef then cool. If your home situation is a little hectic then it is in your best interest to learn how to cook.  Skipping meals is a surefire way to get nothing out of a workout.  The muscles that you breakdown in the weightroom need to be built back up  to grow with food.  There is no excuse for not learning how to cook.  There’s the Food Network on TV (where I learned how to cook) and that wonderful invention called YouTube.  You don’t need to be a chef.  You can learn to cook simple meals with the required protein, fats and carbohydrates to sustain your growth project.  You can also learn how to create meals with a small budget if finances are an issue.  Don’t let not knowing how to cook be an excuse.

(3) Protein, Protein, Protein

Your growing body needs this essential element.  Muscle Milk is a great addition to your diet when you are a potential college football prospect.  If not Muscle Milk then there are tons of other protein powders on the market.  If you don’t have the money,  find a way.  Call one of those family members that will be sitting on the couch on draft day and tell them what you need.  The best way to see results fast from your dedicated workout regimen is by adding protein shakes to your regular daily meals.

College football is all about standing out in a crowd.  Perhaps you are best with some other attributes that college coaches like but like I said getting bigger and stronger are definitely in your control.  When that coach comes to meet you and starts the college scout pat down on your arms and shoulders,  make sure he’s feeling something screams D1.

VIDEO of the Day: Keilen Washington – Dixie HS, St. George, UT

There are hotbeds for high school football prospects in the country.  Off the top of your head you can name a few like Florida, Texas and California.  No matter how long I let you think about it,  you won’t ever mention Utah but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good prospects there.

Case in point,  2020 defensive back Keilen Washington from Dixie High School.  For starters,  his GridironStuds profile says he runs a 4.37 forty.  Now we all know that high school 40 times are to be taken with the utmost grain of salt.  The good news for Washington is that he moves fast enough on film for you to believe it.  Washington patrols his corner position for Dixie HS in addition to handling return duties for the team.  It is in the return game where he show off his speed.  His film will reveal his ability to see a gap in the coverage and hit it with passion launching him through and onto the other side in short order.  When no hole is present,  Washington can run around a defender as good as anyone else.  Schools love defensive backs that can contribute on special teams,  especially the return game.

When it comes to defense,  what you’ll notice and like about Washington is his ability to not only tackle but lay the wood.  He’ll run through a wide receiver or ball carrier in a minute.  Often times it’s violent and causes the man with the ball to suddenly no longer possess the ball.  Washington’s highlight video features several forced fumbles stemming from high impact collisions.  Of course he brings all the other tools that a cornerback should have also like speed and sticky coverage.  He is starting to get solid D1 interest this offseason and I predict that this will only increase in this his senior season.  Tall cornerbacks with long arms,  speed and an ability to help in the return game don’t come a dime a dozen.  As such,  expect Keilen Washington to be firmly planted on the radar in the Fall of 2020.

Recruiting Law: Know When to Fold ‘Em

If you learned one thing about recruiting from me on this blog it’s that self awareness can be your biggest asset or your biggest weakness.  Failing to have it will undoubtedly lead to you making a series of bad decisions that will likely turn your college football career (if you even have one) into a nightmare.

In that same vain,  today’s discussion in this blog post is directly related to having good self awareness.  Football is a sport where quitting is frowned upon.  A never say die attitude is needed in training and certainly on Friday nights when things aren’t going your way.  It’s a strong life lesson that every football player should stuff in their pocket and carry with them.  However,  there is quitting and there is steering yourself in the right direction.

When recruiting starts for a high school football player whether that is actual offers or the desire to obtain offers,  everyone has their favorite school.  Everyone also starts off wanting to play big time football and why not.  Growing up you may have dreamed of playing on TV in the big games that you saw on CBS, ABC or ESPN.  To you,  that is college football but in reality college football is much more than that.

College football is also Yale vs. Harvard,  North Dakota St. vs. Georgia Southern and Mount Union vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater.  In other words,  on college campuses across America on a Saturday in the Fall,  football is being played.  Just because Lee Corso and friends are not at your school putting on mascot hats in pre-game doesn’t mean it’s not college football.  I’m here to tell you that you can enjoy a college football experience at Grambling just as much or even more that you do an experience at Clemson.

In the beginning of your college football scholarship journey,  it’s fine to pursue the big name schools that everyone is gunning for.  However,  it is important to know when the gig is up and it’s time to set your sights on a different set of schools.  Even if you are being pursued by Power 5 schools but not necessarily by the one(s) you had in mind,  it’s time to know when when to fold ’em and get focused on the ones that really want you.

Every recruiting cycle is filled with guys who forced the issue by pursuing the big time schools too long or waiting too long to get the proper attention from their all time favorite.  What results is being left at the altar by all schools or a decision being made to go to a school that doesn’t really want you and is not a good fit.

So,  how do you avoid this.  First and foremost you are going to need that all important thing,  self awareness.  Be honest about your current skill level,  attributes and ability to contribute.  It’s ok to believe in your potential but realize that potential doesn’t last long when you arrive on a college campus.

Over the last couple of decades,  the speed at which players move through a college program has escalated at a blinding pace.  Whether it has been more and more players declaring early,  dropping out or hitting the transfer portal,  things happen quickly for athletes in college football programs.  You know what else happens quickly?  Recruitment of your replacement.  Even when you are great,  coaches are looking for your replacement after year one.  They figure you will be leaving in another year and a half.  Sometimes they get your replacement on campus,  you get an injury and there goes your replacement in there doing things to make them forget you.

With things happening at a more rapid pace,  your decisions must come quicker and be more precise.  High school football players who recognize early where they stand in the whole recruiting puzzle are the ones who land the limited amount of scholarships that are available.  Here are some tips to help you realize where you stand.

First,  honestly assess what kind of interest the schools you are interested in are showing you.  If you have been playing varsity football for over a year and you have not received an offer from those top tier schools,  start thinking about the level or two below that.  If you’ve completed two varsity seasons (sophomore and junior) and those schools have not offered then it’s time to get serious about the smaller D1’s and D2’s.  Secure your place.  If you happen to blow up as a senior and they come calling then you can take a look at the situation then.  It still may not be in your best interest to accept the offer.   Power 5 football programs try to sew up their classes by the end of the players’ junior seasons for the following season.  This often means they have been actively pursuing the prospect for a year or two (sometimes more).

Second,  assess your physical attributes  and compare them to the players that are highly recruited.  If you’ve read my blog post Recruiting,  Like Beauty Contests, Has A Lot to Do With Looks then you know that programs really are recruiting primarily off of physical dimensions.  College football programs want height, they want weight and they want speed.  Where do you stack up in that department compared to the highly recruited?  Go take a stroll through Rivals or 247sports Top 100 for your class.  Do you measure up to the prospects favorably in those areas?  If you do then you may stand a reasonable chance of being recruited if you are willing to put the work in.  If you do not then realize that you are facing an uphill battle if your growth gets stagnant.  You may turn out to be an awesome high school football player but just don’t meet these requirements similar to not having the necessary SAT score to get accepted to Yale.  Start making a plan to court the attention of schools at a lower level.

Third,  take a serious look at how much you have played.  Experience in life is an important factor.  Having it certainly helps.  Going about getting it can be tricky.  Those who are savvy about it,  tend to be the ones who prosper.  If you lack the physical attributes and you don’t have much experience playing,  you 100% need to set your eyes on lower level D1, D2 and D3 football.  It is what it is as they say.  Go where you can play,  gain the experience and have a career.  If you have the physical attributes but have not played much for some reason,  then you can consider things like junior college.  Junior college can allow you to gain the experience,  up your skills and catch a big schools eye with your physical attributes.  Whatever the case may be,  make this assessment quickly,  preferably by your junior year.

Finally and this is mostly for the players who do obtain division I or even Power 5 offers.  If you are not the ideal height or speed,  go through the history of the school you are considering.  Have they had success with a player like you before?  For instance,  has the school you are looking at had a successful 5’9″ slot WR like yourself?  If so,  then they will likely have more patience in bringing you along if you remind them of someone else that worked out.  However,  if they haven’t and you aren’t good early,  they will be really quick to replace you with someone more ideal.  Forcing your square self into their round hole can be very painful.  It’s cool to get an offer from your dream school but going there isn’t always best.

Sometimes in the recruiting game,  as in life,  the deck is stacked against you.  What matters most is how you handle it.  You can cry about it,  get frustrated and force yourself into a bad decision that can leave you busted emotionally.  Or,  you can quickly assess the hand that has been dealt to you and make the wise play by changing course.  A great country singer once said ” You gotta know when to fold ’em.”