As I have mentioned before in a number of articles, summer football camps provide two purposes. The first is to help the college coaches figure out who they want to extend their scholarships to. It is never an easy question but working with the athletes on campus does help further things along in the recruiting process. And the second is to help the coaches supplement their income. While many are making big bucks, the camps help a graduate assistant who may only be making $10,000 per year.
While all schools send out a lot of camp invites, one school that may honestly send out the most that I have heard is Michigan. I have spoken with many athletes who have told me about their recruiting and for whatever reason, the Wolverines are the only Division I-A school recruiting them. The athlete doesn’t think much about it being strange. One had limited college interest but mentioned to me how bad Michigan wanted to evaluate him at their camp. And while I don’t want to pick on Michigan because I know a lot of other schools across the country send out camp invites to a lot of athletes, you really need to realize how serious that they are about you in recruiting.
A parent recently asked me about a school that had been recruiting him and wanted him to go to their camp. The reason why it was a difficult situation was because the family was unsure how serious the school was about him and if it was worth it to attend the camp. My thoughts are unless you receive a phone call from them during the May evaluation period, then chances are slim that you will receive much of a look from the coaches at camp. Now that doesn’t mean coaches from other schools won’t start recruiting you after the camp.
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To me, a school like Michigan is doing whatever they can to have the biggest camp possible. I have been amazed at some of the names of athletes that have been “invited” to their camp. It seems as if you played varsity football last year, the Wolverines want to bring you to camp so that they can evaluate you. As they mentioned to a recruit last year, if you are the best quarterback there, then you will get a scholarship. That quarterback ended up going to a non scholarship I-AA program that was just starting. I guess they will say whatever they can to get recruits to their camps.
At this time of year as many top football recruits head off to camps throughout the country, think seriously about the schools that have sent you camp invites. Have they called you? Did they invite you to a Junior Day? Are they sending hand written letters? Have they really been showing the type of interest that makes this camp invite truly real?
As I talked about earlier in the article, the athlete that I spoke with did not find it strange at all that Michigan was the only Division I-A school recruiting him. My guess is that when everything is said and done, he ends up at a small Division II or III school. And while it was not my place to say anything to him about what camps he does and doesn’t go to, I think it is important to really think about the schools that have invited you to camps.
The reason that you put up the money to go to these camps is because you want a fair shot to be evaluated. Getting that evaluation may not lead to a scholarship but getting that chance is something that everyone looks for. But if you have not gotten any interest outside of a minimal camp invite, then it may not be worth your money and time to make the trip.
Note: I know this article talks a lot about Michigan but many other colleges send out camp invites to a lot of recruits as well. It just seemed that in the Midwest, the Wolverines do it the most to pad their numbers. While it is legal by all means, I question it ethically to try and get non-Division I kids to your camp so you can evaluate them.