I have talked frequently about the importance of excelling at college camps during the football recruiting process. These camps are when college coaches get a chance to work with you, evaluate your skills, and have you battle with other top rated recruits in-attendance.
What I have seen over and over during the last few years is that these college camps are more important than your highlight video, full game tapes, and what you did during any of your high school football seasons. I have seen it before and will continue to see it again. If you can blow up during the camp circuit, you will put yourself in line for scholarship offers regardless of what you did during the fall.
The thing that really stood out to me a few weeks ago was when a punter received a Division I scholarship from a BCS school and then quickly committed. This punter did an excellent job at a number of camps in terms of distance and hang time. He then went to the special teams camp at the college and excelled there as well.
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So why is this such a big deal? It is because this athlete punted once at the varsity level in his high school career. His 31-yard boot apparently must have made for an impressive highlight tape. This athlete could not beat out a senior punter on the team. If I was that senior, I wouldn’t be thrilled that my backup received a Division I scholarship offer from a major conference.
The only reason that this punter ended up with a Division I scholarship offer is because he excelled at camps. His overall stats were that he played in seven games, caught one pass for nine yards, and had one punt for 31-yards. That doesn’t scream Division I athlete to you? It is a great accomplishment to the player that he excelled at the camps and did well. But it shows that the regular season doesn’t mean a whole lot.
The next recruit I want to mention ended up getting an offer from a major player in the Pac-10 conference. This athlete ended up taking the offer and is still a work in progress during the last time I checked. Over the course of his junior year, he started nine of ten games at quarterback while completing 56 of 116 passes for 701 yards, six touchdowns, and ten interceptions. He also ran 17 times for 42 yards. What college coach wouldn’t offer this kid based on stats?
Well, this recruit has a monster frame and some freakish athleticism. He is 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at a camp during his summer circuit. This athlete went to this camp and shined in front of college coaches. While this is a coaching staff that has a longer evaluation process than most schools, they extended a scholarship before he left campus. The school was that impressed with his abilities and performance.
Even with more interceptions than touchdowns, this school is in the midst of trying this recruit at quarterback. They will give him a chance behind center before they move him to tight end or maybe even put 70 pounds on him and move him to the offensive line. Athletically, he has a chance to do a lot at the college level. But if he had not attended this camp, do you think feel that he would have been given this opportunity for a scholarship?
Compared these two stories to a recruit who recently finished up his junior season in which he was named first team All State while rushing 381 times for 2,216 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also helped his team to the best season in the history of the football program. At last count, this athlete had a few letters from Division III and NAIA schools.
I hate to say it but the battle for a scholarship heats up during the summer. The time that you can get a scholarship, regardless of the stats you put up, is during the summer. This is the perfect time to shine and can help pay your way through college.