Saturday, July 22, 2017

5 Keys to Getting a Scholarship Offer

Every time I go on Twitter it never fails that I will see numerous tweets in my feed the start with: "blessed to receive an offer from." More and more colleges are offering earlier and earlier. This is becoming more and more common place. With the advent of social media, there is so much more daily interaction between prospects, coaches, and parents.

Everyone wants to know how they get their offer. I get texts, calls, and emails from parents each week asking what they can do to help their child get more exposure. They want to know how they can increase the opportunities for their son to get an offer. I have had experience on both sides of this as a high school recruiting coordinator and as a college football coach. There are really five keys to getting an offer, but first, let's look at what an offer is.

An offer is simply a college saying we intend to offer you some sort of scholarship to play for us. If a D-1 offers you a scholarship, they are going to pay for your entire cost of schooling. If a D-2 or NAIA school offers you a scholarship, it can be anywhere from $1 to a full ride. Very few D-2 players will get a full scholarship. D-3 schools can't give athletic scholarships, but offer other forms of aid.

An offer is not a scholarship. Schools will offer hundreds of scholarships, but they can only sign 25 players. This means that many players with offers will not get a scholarship. Some will not have the qualifying test score. Some will have a bad year. Others will get into trouble. Everything you do is being evaluated by someone.

A scholarship is an grant-in-aid that will help you pay for the cost of college. College is the key. College is about education. Athletics are important, but you must take advantage of the opportunity you are getting to get an education. Your scholarship can be taken away if you don't take care of business in the classroom. It can also be taken away if you violate school and/or team policies.

Here are the five keys to getting to getting an offer...

1. Be An ELITE Player
Only 2% of high school players will get any opportunity to play in college at all. Less than 1% will get an opportunity to earn a D-1 scholarship. Only elite players will get that opportunity. Elite is very rare. I talk to a lot of parents who think their son or daughter is elite, but when I put on the film I see above average. I recently sat down with the family of a defensive lineman who does not have any offers. He has size and strength, but he is average on the field. He doesn't look elite on film. If you want to get an offer, your film has to be very impressive. It has to show you doing things that are elite on a consistent basis. Colleges will not recruit someone who his average no matter how big they are. Big guys who are average players get people fired.

To be a great player starts with talent, but the next aspect is vital...

2. Have An ELITE Work Ethic
As a high school coach I had the opportunity to coach over 100 scholarship players. They all had one thing in common. They worked harder than everyone else. Talent will only get you so far. Talent and work ethic are necessary to be elite. Very few elite players are lazy. There are a few, and they are the guys who are 5 star recruits in high school that get sent home before the end of their freshmen year of college.

College coaches are going to watch you practice. They are going to talk to your high school coaches. They are going to talk to your math teacher, a counselor, and the principal. They want to know if you are a hard worker. They want to know about your attitude. Do you have an elite work ethic? Do you take reps off in practice? If so, they will move one.

The weight room is a vital place to see your work ethic on display. The harder you work in the weight room, the better you will be on the field. In college, the strength and conditioning staff will push you harder than you have been pushed. If you can't handle a high school workout, you will never handle a college workout.

Play Hard EVERY Play
The harder you play, the more recruitable you become. If you take plays off, you will become uncrecruitable. Coaches watch game films before they recruit you. And they aren't going to just watch your best games. They want to see you against great competition. How hard do you play against great players? How hard do you play when you are behind by 3 scores? How hard do you play when you are up three scores?

Here is something vital to remember... You are not just on the film you provide college coaches. You are on everyone's film. Your opponent is sending film to coaches as well. You are on that film. If you send the college coach a great film, but then he gets a film of you playing terrible, it will have a negative effect on your evaluation. Remember that the next time you think about taking a play off.

On the other hand, you can get noticed off another player's film. When I was at the college level we found one of our best players that way. We were recruiting a kid from another team, and were watching film of a game. We were grading it just like we would grade one of our players. There was a kid on the other team flying around and making plays. We found out who that player was and called his coach. We watched two more games and ended up giving him a scholarship. We didn't know who he was until we saw him on someone else's film.

When a coach sees this film-- and they will see this film-- will they be more apt or less apt to recruit you?

*One important note: Your highlight film will get you noticed. Make sure your film has your best plays first. A highlight film is just that. Don't put every play on your highlight film. If it is a great play, put it on your film. Once a college has interest, they will watch your game film. If your highlight film is done poorly, they will not look at your game film.

3. Have GOOD grades and a Qualifying Test Score
Your talent will get you noticed. Your grades will either make you more recruitable, or unrecruitable. The more C's, D's, and F's you have, the less recruitable you become. You must strive to get A's and B's in your classes. Every single year I have been coaching, despite our best efforts, we have at least one player who sabotages their future because of poor grades. Every year one guy who would have multiple scholarship offers does not get to go because they have a low GPA. If you have a 2.5 or below you are sabotaging your own future.

Here are a few keys...
A. Show up to class on-time
B. Smile at the teacher and be polite
C. Complete your classwork
D. Put your phone away during class

If you are a clown in the classroom, you might not get an offer. Everything matters. Colleges are recruiting several players at your position and you are being evaluated on everything. If you are causing disruptions in school and getting into trouble, you are sabotaging yourself.

If you want a scholarship, just passing is not enough. You have to strive to get A's and B's. The higher your core GPA, the lower the score you can have on the SAT/ACT test. If you have a 3.2 or above in your core classes, you don't need a very high test score. If you have a low GPA, you need a high test score. And if your core GPA is below 2.3, you probably will not get recruited. Below is the NCAA sliding scale.

4. Measurables.
Only elite players with the right measurables will get an offer. The measurables are height, weight, 40 yard, vertical jump, shoe size, etc. You can be the best linebacker in the world, but if you are 5-8, you aren't getting a D-1 offer. You have to have ELITE TALENT, ELITE WORK ETHIC, and the RIGHT Measurables. Below is an image showing the average D-1 Recruit.
These measurables are the average of NCAA D-1 recruits. There are very few exceptions to this. The better your talent and work ethic, the more of a chance a team MIGHT take a chance on someone who is missing a measurable.

5. Use Social Media As A Tool
Your Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram accounts can be a tool to get you recruited. And if you aren't careful, they can get you uncrecruited. Every D-1 school is going to monitor your social media accounts. What you post, like, and retweet matters. If you are positing videos and pictures of yourself drinking and smoking, you are going to be less apt to be recruited. Use your twitter to show the best of who you are, not the worst of who you are. Use twitter to encourage your teammates. Use twitter to post highlights from your last game. Use twitter to thank college coaches for visiting your campus. If you see someone do something great, shout them out on twitter.

Numbers Game
Everything comes down to a numbers game. If a college is recruiting two offensive lineman, and they need a guard and a center; they might not recruit you if you are a tackle, and they can't see you playing guard. The If you are a receiver, and a school only needs one receiver, there is less of a chance of you getting a scholarship. If a team has 6 safeties on scholarship, chances are they aren't offering another safety. You can be the best safety in the world, but they are not going to recruit you unless they see you playing another position.

They May Move Your Position
Colleges will recruit you to suit their needs, regardless of where you played in high school. I once had a kid who played safety in high school get recruited to be a defensive end in college. He was 6-2 195 and ran a 4.7. He was not fast enough to be a college safety, but had a frame that would hold 75 pounds, and he was still growing. He ended up being a 6-4 260 pound defensive end. Be willing to change positions if it will increase your chances to get a chance to have your school paid for.

On the other side of that, play where your high school needs you. Just because a college will recruit you as a corner doesn't mean you can't play linebacker. Dowayne Davis, who I coached several years ago, played linebacker for us much of his high school career. He ended up playing corner and safety in college, and was eventually signed by the Cowboys as a safety. Play where your high school needs you!

At the end of the day, control what you can control. You control your work ethic and your attitude. You control your performance on the field and in the classroom. If you need to make changes in your life, then make those changes. Understand that every decision you make will either help you get recruited, or keep you from being recruited.

For you coaches who are preparing for 2017...

A lot of coaches ask me about my call sheet and how we prepared. We have a very systematic approach that we have developed over a 20 year period. Last summer I made our offensive game planning documents available for coaches to purchase for a nominal fee. The response was outstanding. Coaches from all levels of football in the US and internationally began using this resource. The head coach from one of the top 5A programs in Texas said these documents helped them to be much more prepared.

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I also have a defensive game and practice planning resource that can be ordered here: Defensive Game and Practice Planning Resource. It has everything you defensive staff would need to dominate!

I also have a special teams resource available here: Special Teams Resource It is awesome because it includes teaching presentations and video for every phase of special teams!

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