By: Chad Wilson
Few things in life having undergone more changes over the last three years than college football recruiting. From NIL to transfer portal to early signing periods, college football recruiting now resembles computer programming in the way that players and parents need to stay updated. All of the changes have made it even more important for high school freshmen and their parents to be on point early on so that things can work out in their favor at the end. In part I of this two part series, I will layout five very important things that high school freshmen should do if they want to put themselves on course to get a college football scholarship.
Focus on Academics:
Maintaining strong academic performance is crucial for college recruitment. High grades and a solid GPA will demonstrate discipline, dedication, and the ability to balance academics with athletics. Student-athletes should prioritize their studies and aim for academic excellence throughout high school. Don’t get fooled by guys who seem big time without doing their best in the classroom. It catches up with them at some point. Don’t follow that path.
Develop Football Skills:
Dedicate time to honing football skills through practice, training, and participation in organized football activities. Attend offseason camps, clinics, and combine events to showcase abilities and gain exposure to college coaches and recruiters. Seek guidance from experienced coaches and trainers who can provide valuable instruction. As you progress through the levels, your football skill will be the thing that moves you beyond the next man.
Join a Competitive High School Program:
Playing for a competitive high school football program can offer exposure and opportunities to compete against top talent. Seek out schools with successful football programs and coaches who can help develop skills and provide valuable guidance. Perform at a high level in games and practices to attract attention from college recruiters. This tip won’t be popular with some high school coaches. Those coaches will be the ones who aren’t dedicated to giving their players the best opportunity to play beyond high school. For some coaches, it’s just a paycheck and for others, helping young student athletes reach their goals is a passion. Find the passionate coaches and programs.
Create a Highlight Reel:
Compile a highlight reel showcasing the athlete’s best plays and skills. Include footage from games, practices, and showcases. The reel should be well-edited, highlight the athlete’s strengths, and demonstrate their potential as a college-level player. Share the highlight reel with college coaches and recruiters to showcase abilities and generate interest. Show your best plays first and go in descending order. When it comes to highlight tapes, shorter is better. Two to four minutes is all you need to entice a coach’s interest. Besides, you are better off having them watch your top 15 plays over and over than having them watch 30 plays for 8 minutes that include routine plays that bore them.
Attend College Camps and Combines:
Participate in college football camps and combines organized by colleges and universities. These events provide exposure to college coaches and allow athletes to showcase their skills directly in front of recruiters. Research and attend camps hosted by schools of interest to increase visibility and create opportunities for evaluations. Use the Rivals and 247 type camps as practice for the college camps. Don’t worry about trying to become the MVP of the Rivals camp. Focus more on learning how to perform so that you can do that when you are actually in front of coaches who can offer you a scholarship.
These five things are a great way for you to get yourself on the right course. As freshmen, you have a hard time thinking about the future. Often times, at this age, you live very much in the moment and find it difficult just to focus on the day you are living in. Getting acclimated to high school and football as a 9th grader is challenging enough. However, scholarships for high school players are getting tougher to get. If you want to give yourself an edge then you must have an eye to the future. If you are a parent, you must insert yourself here and be sure that your young man is doing these things.
In part two next week, I will have more very useful tips for you to take advantage of. There are over 1 million high school football players each year in the United States. Most of these young athletes have an eye towards playing in college one day. What you do as a freshman will increase your increasing slim odds of achieving that goal.