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).
Deciding where you are going to attend college can be scary to some and easy to others. Before even looking at the football side, make yourself very aware of the academic opportunity in front of you. A degree can change you and your family’s lives. Why neglect that for several years of a sport? Before running through the football variants, see if the school offers what you are interested in, and if it’s capable of giving you the pathway you want after football. Interested in civil engineering? Make sure they have it and not just mechanical. This will be your livelihood, make it a part of your decision! SCHOOL>FOOTBALL.
Another question to ask yourself is: will you be happy there? It’s all nice and fun on the visits when the coaches give you full attention, there isn’t grades to worry about, your parents aren’t a hundred miles away, and you don’t have to wake up at 5:30AM tomorrow morning. Morale means a lot in the college world. Is it a place you can call home for four years? If you’ve grown up in an urban area are you going to be able to handle going to school in the middle of nowhere? Places with the least to do can be where you get in the most trouble. Don’t be that guy who wakes up in the bushes under a bridge twenty minutes before a scrimmage. THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT.
Looking more towards the football option, you have to know what you want out of college ball. If you want to take a scholarship and ride out a free education that’s okay. If playing time means the world to you, make sure you have a potential role. Positions like fullbacks and tight ends are being seen less and less- don’t sign into a system that isn’t going to use you. Also, sign into a system you think you can play in. If you lack mobility, a 3-4 nose tackle seems a hell lot smarter than trying to slant in a 4-3 system. You will know in your heart whether it is a good fit- don’t betray your gut. POTENTIAL ROLE.
Don’t go for the coaches either. Coaches come and go especially the higher you look. If we’re being honest- see if you can deal with the strength coaches, that’s who you’ll spend a bulk of your time with. And, different levels will require different time slots. Division One can see mandatory workouts the entire winter and summer (and that’s even if bowl season ended late December or early January). Lower levels have moved to more summer and winter workouts, but the time demands are hardly comparable. Some love it, some hate it; that’s a question you’d have to answer yourself. KNOW THE DEMANDS.
Maybe you don’t have any offers or maybe you don’t have an offer to the school you wanted. Walking on is always an option. In some programs it’s a lot better than the stereotypes, in others it’s worse. I’ve seen teams that treat walk-on’s fairly and equally, but their chances of getting a scholarship are low. I’ve also seen teams that are harder on walk-ons, but reward more with scholarships in comparison. Each place is different. Regardless, signing to go somewhere for the newspaper article isn’t smart. The hype wears off quickly when you’re waking up at the ass crack of dawn, and you’re old news at your high school. MAKE SURE THEY WANT YOU.
Finally, don’t rush it. I know Signing Day is the big hallmark for your future, but it’s not the actual deadline. Listen to your family and coaches. You’d be surprised how well your mama knows you and how you will do in places. Listen to her. As said in the part one, enjoy your high school days. You’ll miss them when you’re older. Don’t forget about your boys as you look to the next level and definitely don’t rush to get out. Weigh your options, look at the variables, listen to people who want the best for you, and the rest will take of itself. DON’T RUSH INTO A COMMITMENT.
BONUS TIP: Nothing can be more cringeworthy than a highly recruited football player’s twitter feed. We get it you’re blessed and everyone doubted you when you were 6’4 in the fifth grade. Just tell us who offered you.