Remember how much you loved football.? It was football this and football that in high school especially when you were supposed to be busy doing something else. Back in those high school days there were a lot of other things you had to do in your day to day lives that kept you away from the game and made you even more hungry for the pigskin. They do say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Your every thought was getting a college football scholarship or what you were going to do when you landed at the school of your choice. Then one day you became a college football player.
This is the mindset of 100’s even thousands of high school football players across the country right now. Many of them eager to take that next step in life. For all, they have no idea what they are stepping into, for many it will be too much to handle. Remember that absence and fonder stuff in the first paragraph? There will be no absence and fonder will be a distant reality for many high school football players.
Upon a college football player’s arrival on campus, they will find out a number of things, much to their chagrin. First, that laid back atmosphere that you thought college was, that’s for other students, not you the college football student. You thought leaving mom and dad’s house would bring you freedom, you were wrong. You were just sold to another keeper. This keeper is often meaner, more demanding and more present. Your day is planned from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M. Remember when the school bell rang at 8 AM? Well those days are gone. Remember how you couldn’t wait till football activities at 4 PM in the afternoon. You don’t have to wait, it’s in your face at 6 AM. Workouts and meetings bright and early in the morning. Then you hustle to a meal before you hustle to class. The hustle to class turns into a hustle to lunch in the early afternoon which exits to a hustle to guess what, another round of football meetings. This would be all good perhaps if you were a starter but you are third string and a back up on special teams. You want to fall asleep in that meeting but tobacco juice on your face from a screaming coach is not a good look.
Remember all those cool talks you had with Coach Coolio? Somehow they turned into “your mom gave birth to a %$# 18 years ago” and “we’ll put your $#@# on a Greyhound back home boy!” What happened to the guy that recruited me? Oh he’s recruiting someone else right after he MF’s me on this practice field today. That individual period that was 10 minutes in high school practice is now 20-25 minutes and there’s no walking. Practice is fast paced and filled with the same drills, day after day after day. You thought you were a college football player and then you saw a muscle bound, fast running redshirt junior playing your position that has not played a snap yet in his college career. You start to wonder if you are good enough to play. You start to wonder if you even like football. My coach doesn’t make it fun, watching from the sidelines isn’t fun and practicing day after day without a moment to come for air is not what I expected.
For some, what I just explained above is the path they are willing to travel to reach their goal. For many more it’s a grind that they thought they wanted but find out this whole college football thing is not what it’s cracked up to be. You thought you wanted to be an Ohio St. Buckeye but realize that you would have been in over your head if you had gone there. You can’t even handle things at Northwest Middle State A&M.
It’s hard to know what you’re getting into until you actually get into it but for high school football players, it would save you a lot of time, money and headache if you would take an honest assessment of where you are now as a high school football player, compare what current college football players are and ask yourself can you fit into that. Ask yourself that question once, twice and a couple of dozen times. Hundreds of college freshman are battling the feeling right now of either wanting to transfer or quit. Many will follow through on those feelings. Many could have avoided all of this if they took an honest assessment of themselves while in high school. Determine if college football really is for you and then determine what level of college football best fits you. Don’t base your decision on your friends, peers or even rivals on the high school football field. College football IS NOT high school football. Let me say it again, high school football IS NOT college football. Let that marinate.
Author: Chad Wilson
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. Wilson’s older son Quincy plays in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts and his younger son plays cornerback for the University of Florida. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.