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Respect the Recruiting Process

Updated on March 15, 2017

One of my favorite coaches of all time, Coach Cardiel, used to say “Football is like anything else in life; you get out of it what you put into it.” I couldn’t agree more with him and the recruiting process resembles that statement as well.

After coaching at every level of football, every position on both sides of the ball and including special teams, I have come to two conclusions- #1- most players never achieve their full potential because they don’t completely buy in and respect the process of becoming a better player. It takes so much work, sacrifice and time to fully develop as a player. #2- the recruiting process is exactly the same. While not nearly as painful as #1, the recruiting process takes time, effort and sacrifice to get the best result.

It amazes me to see how hard many young men work in the weight room, on the field and in the classroom only to squander their once in a lifetime opportunity of being recruited to play college football. You have one shot to ever go through this process and earn as much money as possible to help you achieve all other goals the rest of your life through gaining a college education. Potentially everything you do after the recruiting process will be affected by the decisions you make within this process- your job opportunities (or lack thereof), your resume, the contacts you make in college (or lack thereof), the quality of football you play (or lack thereof), your graduate school options (or lack thereof), your student loan amounts that you have to pay back (or lack thereof) and it goes on and on…..all are affected by how you handle your recruiting process. I would never down play the importance of physical development in football but you know what- you can always lift more weights later or run more bleachers later but you can never get recruited again.

I could write a book….no, a series of books of the stories of all the players I’ve worked with or observed that regretted how they prepared for this process. They either didn’t get recruited at all and found the end of their playing career after high school, or ended up somewhere that made them very unhappy and later quit- also losing their scholarship money and educational opportunity, or just got way less than they deserved due to the fact that they didn’t put in the work.

Some players believe they just aren’t good enough or are too small to play at the next level. If you believe that, it’s probably true. If you refuse to accept that, there are plenty of examples out there to justify that you are correct. I had a 5’10”, 160lb wide receiver make it to the NFL for some time from a small Division 3 private college…he sent me pictures of his $8,000 checks per week while catching footballs in the NFL. If you are not afraid to work and love playing football, there is a college program for you- you might not get a full scholarship but you might get a partial and that will still save you money even if you end up only getting a college degree- not a bad deal!!

Now some of these players did work hard- they just didn’t know what they were doing. Some only pursued division one opportunities- and ended up walking on and became part of the 95% or so that never get to get on the field in division one football. They probably missed out on tens of thousands of dollars of scholarship money and hundreds of plays in games because they just didn’t know any better. Other players just quit after high school due to bad grades and even more miss out on thousands of dollars of scholarship money for good grades because they just don’t know where to look.

I believe I could have helped every one of them get to the right situation if they just would have listened. I’ve coached division 2 and division 3 college football- multiple positions and been a coordinator and head coach in public school football- I’ve been involved on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve seen great high school coaches that went out of their way to try to get their players into college but were barking up the wrong tree because they were just ignorant of the differences of schools and I’ve seen a few that knew exactly what they were doing- which one do you have? How would you even know? If you aren’t sure, it can cost you thousands of dollars per year in college. I’ve seen high school coaches that work their tails off to get their players prepared for the process and I’ve seen some that wouldn’t even return my emails/calls/messages as a college recruiter- they wouldn’t lift a finger….and this might be more normal than not to be honest.

At the end of the day, this process and everything attached to it comes down to players like YOU!! You have to work and do your homework to be prepared for such a life changing event as college recruiting. You have already shown that you care and want to do better for yourself. It is players like you that make me get up in the morning and keep working- because I know some out there still care and still want to do the job right!! Thank you for inspiring ME to keep working to find players like you….without you, I wouldn’t have much to do that would be productive in this world.

I hope that after you read this, if you have any thoughts or anything to share on this topic that you might leave a comment below. I do look forward to working with YOU in the future and hope to connect with more players that “Get it” and want to respect this process for what it is and get the most out of it.

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