A parent was kind enough to shed some light on the current football recruiting situation of his son recently. Just to give a little background, the athlete has spent his life playing tight end and that is what he will be playing at the college level. But during his senior season, the high school changed the offense and he saw very little balls thrown his way. With the spread these days, this is something that is happening more often than you can imagine.
While this recruit didn’t exactly play out of position, he did do very little in the passing game to really warrant much recruiting interest. But this player has some potential and wants a chance to play in college. If you are in this situation or have been playing a different spot than where you will play in college, this article should be right up your alley.
The first key to playing out of position is going to college camps. There are many athletes that I have covered over the last few years that play a different position in high school than they would in college. One athlete comes to mind played quarterback and safety at the prep level but would be a tight end in college at the Division I-A (FCS) level. It was vital for this athlete to go to their camp and show that he had what it takes to play tight end. There have also been many other running back recruits trying their hand at defensive back for the first time at a summer camp.
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The reason that these camps are vital is because it gives a chance for the coaches to work with you and see what type of ability you have at the new position. They should realize this is not something you will be comfortable with right away. But they will also be seeing how coachable you are and how easily you digest a new position. Let me stress that for most recruits, it is very difficult.
If you are a junior or younger, then it may be worth speaking with your high school coach about it. Talk to them about the recruiting process and how it may be possible to play a position that could help you garner a scholarship. While the coach may have your best interest in mind, he or she is also trying to win as many games as possible.
What I mean by that is the coach may be willing to try you at defensive back on top of running back on certain downs and distances. The coach is likely not going to move you from quarterback to tight end if there is no one on your team to throw the ball. Most smaller schools put the best athlete at quarterback so if that is your spot offensively, you may need to stay there. The same goes for any number of positions. It is easier to talk a coach into possibly playing you both ways rather than moving you from a vital position to somewhere less important offensively and defensively.
The final key is making most of what you have available. The athlete I had mentioned plays tight end and he only saw a limited number of passes during the season. If you make only five catches all year, what you will need to do is find a way to supplement highlights. This means you may look harder into the video of you blocking or playing defense. These catches are likely not going to get you a scholarship but the blocking and determination you show there could help.
The ideal situation is to play the position in high school that you will play in college. The problem is that in at least 15% of cases, that doesn’t always happen. So you need to get to camps, try to reason with your high school coach, and make the most of the footage you have. It is not a great situation but something that will not kill the recruiting process for you if you take the right steps.