By: Chad Wilson
We are in the midst of wild times when it comes to college football recruiting. Over the last 5-6 years we have witnessed more changes than perhaps all the years that existed before it. With the rapid onset of more freedom for college football players, the unintended and probably unforeseen victims have been high school football players. If you want to put yourself in the proper position to secure a scholarship when you are senior, it’s best to make the right moves as a freshman. In this article, I discuss the five important moves you need to make.
Along with the changes in college football, prospects are facing increasing pressure to be noticed sooner in the recruiting process. The early signing period has ramped up the need for colleges to identify potential signees earlier in their high school career so that the relationship building can start. I have received more questions lately about how to get recruited as a freshman than I have ever before. Getting offers as a freshman are not always something that you can control but I can tell you how to put yourself in the best position possible to get offers when they count. Let’s look at the 5 best ways to help yourself when you are in your first year of high school.
1. Run Track
Yes, you read it right. You secret to becoming the prospect that schools focus their eyes on is by getting on that 400m oval and learning how to run. Guess what you do in football from the moment that ball is snapped until the time that whistle blows? Run. If you can’t run, you can’t play. I recommend that all players at all positions run track as freshman. Yes, that includes you offensive linemen too. Start your athletic base off with a solid foundation on running. If you are an offensive lineman, you may not be able to run track when you hit your junior and senior year but you can benefit from getting it in at least in your freshman year. Athletic linemen are recruited linemen.
If you are playing the other positions, you want to stay on that track for as long as you can. If you are really good in another sport that conflicts with track then I understand but if there isn’t another sport then do yourself a favor, put the track spikes on. Colleges recruit speed almost as much as they recruit height. One of those things you control and that is speed. You can find it training and competing in track. For those of you who say, I’ll just go to a speed trainer my answer is no unless your school has no track program or it’s really deficient. The weekly track meets will stir up the competitor in you. It will push you beyond on your limits and make you faster than the best trainer will.
2. Get Serious About the Weight Room
Along with being fast in football, you will need to be strong. Don’t wait till your junior and senior year to start lifting seriously. Whether you like it or not, colleges recruit body types. If you don’t look the part, it’s really difficult for them to make an investment in you. Many prospects will careless approach the weight room as 9th graders. They give up an entire year of development physically only to wish they had an extra year at the end. Don’t let that be you. Start learning how lift weights the right way. Start consistently building up your strength and your frame. Who knows, if you throw on size fast, you may get a school to throw an early offer your way. You’ll have to continue to develop to keep the offer but it’s good to have that early interest.
3. Buckle Down on Your Technique
Speed is good, size and strength is great but technique wins most of the time in this game. Learn the ins and outs of your position. Determine the techniques that it takes for you to defeat your opponent and dedicate yourself to mastering them. I am not big on having a trainer prior to turning 13 unless you are a quarterback but once you hit high school you should be soaking up all the knowledge you can from your coaches. If additional training is needed to hone your skills then by all means, go get it. There’s nothing more delighting to a coaching watching film of a prospect or observing him at camp than when he demonstrates the proper way to block, tackle, run routes, etc. Be a master of technique.
4. Guard Your GPA Like Your Life
Ask any senior what it’s like trying to raise his GPA and he will tell you it’s like trying to live on the Sun. The real trick to graduating with the GPA you need is by kicking off your high school career the right way in the classroom. Once you have started accumulating semesters, it is difficult to change the score as you go down the road. So starting off with a high GPA is to your advantage. Besides, the distractions will be plenty if you start accomplishing all of these other goals and begin to get recruited. You will have coaches calling you, trips to take and you will suddenly become more attractive to your female classmates. Try improving a GPA once that starts! So while you are a little nobody, build the GPA of a king. Rank out those A’s with a passion.
5. Collect the Email Addresses of Coaches & Join the GridironStuds App
One of the best pieces of advice you will get out of this article is this one. As a freshman, build a spreadsheet and in it, you start adding coaches. Next to their names add their meal address, Twitter handle and phone numbers. You will continue to add onto this document every year but start it now. That list will be as powerful as anything else you could have if you want to be a recruited high school football player. On that list you will want to have the head coach, the coach for your position and the recruiting coordinator. Use that list to follow them on Twitter. Once you get on the field and start making plays you will be able to contact them with info about you.
In addition, every high school football player should be using the GridironStuds App. Building a profile as a freshman allows you to show your progress through the years. So when a coach begins recruiting you he can see your history of development and get a better idea of who you are. It makes it easier to recruit you. The later you pop up on the app, the more competition you are going to have trying to grab a coach’s attention. Download it and build your profile today. Click here to download.
So there you are. As you can see there is quite the investment you need to make if you want to have a chance at getting college football scholarship offers. It’s why only a handful of the 1 million plus high school football players each year are able to sign on the dotted line. If you start early and take these steps you give yourself the head start that makes you a winner on national signing day your senior year. It’s tough to look into the future when you are 14 years old but the smartest freshman know that the future depends on what you do now.
Chad Wilson is a college football recruiting expert and creator of the GridironStudsApp which allows high school football players to gain exposure to college football coaches and fans. Wilson is a former college football player for the University of Miami (92-94) and Long Beach St. (’90-’91) and played briefly for the Seattle Seahawks (’95). He is also a former youth and high school football coach for over 15 years most recently for 5-A State of Florida Champs American Heritage. He runs All Eyes DB Camp a defensive back training company located in South Florida IG: @alleyesdbcamp. Wilson’s oldest son Quincy plays in the NFL for the New York Giants and his younger son plays cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals.