What Position Should I Play? Let Your Skill Set Decide

I’m often asked two questions by young athletes leaving junior high to enter into high school football.  Is my height and weight enough to play a certain position or what position should I play.

I understand the angst that may overcome youngsters at this age as they want to make the proper moves to secure their future in the sport. Pick the wrong position and you may not be good at it or worse,  you won’t get looked at by college scouts.  Please see the sarcasm in the last part of that last sentence.  Once in my youth football coaching days,  I made the mistake of asking the entire team “who wants to play running back?”  Nearly 30 of the 63 players that were a part of the team at that time stood up including four of my five eventual offensive lineman.  In your youth years there is a little less self awareness.  You can be blinded and controlled by selfish desires that can circumvent your actual path to success.  I myself swore I was a running back forever back in my youth football days.  While I played running back in high school,  by the time I reached my senior season,  I had come to the reality that defensive back would take me where I wanted to go.

Let’s not wait till the 12th grade to make these important decisions.  For many of you that may read this article,  you won’t have total control over where you play in high school.  Often times,  where you line up is determined by the team needs.  However,  before that,  your coach will look at one very important thing before determining where you can help the team and that is your skill set.  Just like the 7′ footer is put at center in basketball,   your athletic skill set will and should play a large part in where you line up in high school.

Before your height and weight,  your athleticism should determine your position.  If you have  a strong arm and can read a defense,  then quarterback is probably the position for you.  If you are speedy and athletic then wide receiver or defensive back  If you don’t move as fast but have size and strength you’re probably looking at the offensive line.  Have an aggressive mindset and you’re a little crazy,  welcome to linebacker.  Don’t get me wrong,  your size is part of the decision making process but not as much in high school.  Understand that you are still growing in high school and what you bring to the table athletically is what will make up the big part of the decision.

What to do about the part where your size doesn’t fit the position you are playing?  I have often found that that guys who feel they were playing out of position size-wise in high school were also not athletically fit for the position they thought they should be playing.  For instance,  the 6’0″ defensive end that thinks he should be playing linebacker because of his height most of the times is not athletic enough to hack it at linebacker.   In the game of football,  not being athletic enough is a bigger crime than not being tall enough.

Certainly there are times when you are truly playing out of position because either your team has an overwhelming need at a certain position and you’re the only one that can fill it or they have tremendous depth at a position you should be playing.  Other times,  your school’s scheme does not lend itself to you making a proper impact at a position you would be suitable for in college.  What to do in those situations will be the topic of my article next week.   For now,  in determining where you want to hang your hat in terms of a position in high school football,   let your skills make the decision for you.

The Best Advice You Ever Got on Recruiting Came When it Was Over

Thousands of Americans are kicking themselves in the rear end for not investing in Tesla’s stock last year when it was hovering around $250 per share.  Now that it is testing the $2,000 per share mark,  people are wondering how much money they missed out on.  As they punch the calculator,  the tears flow.  Guess who else is suffering from this syndrome?  Many former high school football players who are sitting at home wondering why it never happened for them.

Like the many of Americans who were hearing all the great things about Tesla and it’s innovative CEO Elon Musk but chose to ignore it,  thousands of freshman, sophomores and junior high school football players are walking past all the keys to success in recruiting.  I’ve written a ton of articles and posted many videos on my YouTube channel trying to educated prospects on the recruiting game.  I do so knowing full well that the ones who really need this information the most won’t be the ones who take it in.  It’s ok,  I know that if this information falls into the hands of just one prospect who uses it and changes the course of their life then I have done good.  However,  why does it have to be that way?

The most successful adults typically are the ones who had an eye for the future as youngsters.  It doesn’t mean that they had the best grades or were the best athletes.  However,  they did have some kind of rich thoughts about what tomorrow would bring and how they could possibly be successful.  Every week,  high school football players go to meetings and practice in preparation for the opponent that they will face on Friday night.  In the process,  film gets studied,  play scripts are made,  plans are formed and strategy is constructed.  Imagine if you didn’t do any of that and just played the game on Friday.  How much success do you think you would have?  Sadly,  when you ignore the advice you are getting and have access to on a regular basis,  you are basically like a team who doesn’t practice all week before a game.

I am always amazed at how more willing to listen a high school player is when they reach their senior year.  Typically it’s when things aren’t going right and the offers aren’t piling up.  Unfortunately,  it’s usually too late then.  Many opportunities have come and gone at that point.  If you do get a chance,  it will be down a path that you most likely won’t want to travel like prep school or JUCO.  Some guys will even be amazingly open to listening when the senior year has ended and the signing day has passed.  This is like looking at the game plan and watching film of the opponent you just played on the Saturday morning after the game.

One of the things I love the most about football is the many life lessons it teaches.  As it relates to this,  take this big one.  If you fail to prepare than prepare to fail.  You watch film of your opponent right?  You make a game plan right?  You practice right?  Do me a favor and do the same thing with your college football recruiting.  Listen to the advice of those who have been there and are sharing it with you.  Take the 10 minutes to read an article or watch a video.  Sure when you are young you think everything will just magically go your way.  Resist that type of juvenile thinking and prepare for the future you want.  If you see yourself dressed up in a college football team’s jersey at some point in the future then you owe it to yourself to learn all that you can about how to make that happen.

For the investors that missed out on Tesla,  there will be another blockbuster stock that will come along that makes people rich.  You only get one time to go through high school and get recruited.  Take the lessons and advice you are getting seriously.  Your future depends on it.

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.