In this three-part series, Coalfield and Co. will cover advice and processes to succeed in being recruited, making a decision, and preparing for college ball life. The Mountain State is proving to have athlete after athlete under the radar. Don’t be that uncle who said he would’ve made it to the pros at every family barbecue. Play it right and get the most out of it (A FREE EDUCATION).
First off, know the system before you start trying to jump in. College football is a BUSINESS especially Division One. Coach’s jobs depend on who they bring in and how they perform. Scholarships are a limited resource of INVESTMENT for them. They are only going to go down that path if they see promise. The Division One race is so competitive that they must find players younger and younger- which results in a depletion of the amount of scholarships they give to each class every passing year. So, if you are a late bloomer- you better bloom hard. I’m not trying to be pessimistic, it is necessary to know. If you haven’t had a big school contact you going into your senior year, that ship has sailed. Junior year is the year for Division One, throw away your ego and realize what schools want you. Know your opportunities and the deadlines of the levels you are pursuing. KNOW THE SYSTEM.
If this realization doesn’t sit well with you, walking on is an option- but that is an entirely different article in itself. This article is supposed to help you get seen so reaching that level is possible or potentially give advice on if that ship is off on the horizon. A great tip is to pitch to the right people. I understand you may be five foot eight and two hundred pounds as a defensive end with the motor of Dale Jr’s hot rod- but there isn’t much space on the top level for squatty body lineman. Take this as motivation to prove me wrong, or take it as advice to go to other schools that picture you playing. Remember, think of the odds of them in INVESTING in YOU. Know your ability, always continue working on it, but pitch to people who will want you and not just someone that you want. Realize when a school is not interested. PITCH TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
West Virginia is not a mecca of exposure, obviously. Though more Division One athletes are surfacing every year in the Mountain State, most of them come near the cities of Huntington, Charleston, Morgantown, Martinsburg, etc. Small town players will still struggle to gain traction. Obviously, even if stupid numbers are put up by a player if it is against smaller schools the feat instantly gets overlooked. Now, you must become proactive and strategic. Camps are a great way to be seen and show your talents directly to coaches. However, picking the right camps is ESSENTIAL. If you’re not a test out stand out- there’s no point in going to combines. As said before, if you’re going into your senior year- it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY you’ll pick up on offer going to big school camps. Find smaller camps that is ran by a multitude of different college coaches that will see you. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAMPS.
Finally, forget about it when it comes to football season. We all know the teammate that has become more focused on playing next year than with the brothers he only gets one more season with. It’s like rushing through the actual Road to Glory on NCAA 14 trying to get to college- it can hinder the experience. Just remember, there’s nothing like high school ball. College is fun, but it is completely different. If you have talent and you have drive- you will succeed. Focusing on your grades and finishing your senior year strong will pay dividends when it wraps up and things get serious. That’s when you start finding your options and work towards a decision. I’ll cover that next time, don’t worry. FOCUS ON YOUR SEASON.
Summarizing, it was not meant to imply that you should let your size, speed, or current ability decide what you strive for. Simply put, if you want to go big- you need to be seen as early as possible. If it is too late (going into senior year), don’t miss out on opportunities for schools that would be willing to give you FREE EDUCATION because you are too busy chasing the big dawgs. If you’re really struggling, find someone who went through the process. Listen to people who have done it or have dealt with the process, not just anyone who thinks they know what to do. Ego and a lack of knowledge is your worst enemy. LISTEN TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
BONUS TIP: No coach wants to watch a twenty-minute highlight tape. Trim it down to 3-6 minutes, include plays that have good technique, and don’t use that same god awful Hudl song in every video.