The first Wednesday of February, 2015 was an unbelievable day for the staff at National Scouting Report: Football. We were on watch duty for our kids that were to sign National Letters of Intent to play college football. The east coast athletes started the festivities and set the tone for the rest of the country. We had athletes signing at some of the most prestigious Division 1 schools, FCS, several Division 2 schools, D3, Juco, and NAIA all across the nation. We were posting and sharing on social media, talking to local media outlets, and working with athletes and coaching staffs to assist in this process. This was just one day out of our year. We do this kind of behind the scenes work everyday for our athletes in all sports, but the sport of football gets to have a nationwide party on the first Wednesday in February every year.
There are several factors that led up to this dramatic day. Our scouts had to find these athletes first. They do this by spending hours in the field at games or practices, or by watching countless hours of film to determine who has the potential to be a college football player. They had to identify kids that have the athletic ability, size, and speed to play at the next level. The scout then had to interview the athlete and the family to determine if the prospect had outstanding grades and, most of all, the desire to do what was necessary to become a collegiate athlete both on the field and off. If the athlete and family meet the criteria that the scout needed, then he would proceed to enroll them in our program. What the public does not realize about National Scouting Report is that we do not enroll every kid we come in contact with. We are very selective in choosing the right kind of student/athlete. This one key factor is why we have a success rate of over 95% placement of the athletes in our program.
What does the NSR athlete look like? First is the athlete needs to have great grades. Grades, often, are the difference between two athletes with similar skills, and grades could make academic money available that could stack with athletic assistance to potentially fill out the total cost of attending college. We also look for athletes that fit in to very specific BOX’s with regard size and speed. These BOX’s will help the scout identify what type of program that the athlete has the best chance of going to. The actual determination of where an NSR athletes goes to college is made by the college coaches, but our scouts need to know, based on data from colleges and previous athletes, where to start the process. Next, the NSR athlete must know about several different topics related to the NCAA. Things such as being registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center, and how to go to NCAA.org to do this. If the athlete is determined to be of NAIA caliber, then they would need to register at PlayNaia.org in order to complete their eligibility for that type of institution. Each athlete must know that they HAVE to be registered with either the NCAA or NAIA eligibility centers before they can play the sport of their choice at the collegiate level. The family must know about contact periods and learn exactly when and where college coaches can actually talk to the athlete. We go in to when and how college staffs can evaluate the athlete, and how important this evaluation is in determining whether or not the athlete will actually be recruited. Our families are educated on college visits and they learn the difference between official and un-official visits. They also will have the knowledge of knowing how may visits they can actually take. We even cover things such as not taking gifts. But the main point we have to make known is that if you are not talking to college coaches, you are not being recruited. It’s that simple.
Becoming identified and recognized is the first step that has to happen in order for a college to put you on their recruiting board. Once the athlete is identified and recognized by a college staff and the coaches reach out to them, then they are in the recruiting process. The next phase is the evaluation portion of the process. Coaches have to actually determine if this athlete is indeed a college caliber kid. Then the comparison comes versus other kids that play the same position. If the athlete survives the gauntlet he will move to the offer phase of the process. Here is where the school offers a non-binding pledge to provide financial assistance to an athlete. They key to this is that offers are non-binding and can be pulled at the discretion of the institution, and that not all offers are full rides. FBS schools have 85 head count scholarship versus FCS with 63 scholarships to fill an 85 man roster. Division 2 schools only have 36 scholarships that can be divided throughout the roster and NAIA schools have 24 scholarships that they spread out over their team. Not until the athlete signs a National Letter of Intent are the school and the athlete bound to any agreement. Families must understand that the majority of what they read on social media regarding offers is HYPE. National Signing Day and/or the signing period will determine who actually gets the scholarship to attend the institution and play football.
So as you can see, there is a significant amount of effort and communication that is required to get to the point where a student/athlete gets to sign an NLI. The old statement, “If I am good enough, they will find me”, will have you behind with regard to the recruiting process, and could, potentially, leave you out of it entirely.
Do yourself a favor. Take control of your dream. Get identified and recognized. Get scouted and evaluated by professional scouts that understand the football recruiting process. If you feel you have the ability, grades, and are willing to put in the effort to master your game contact National Scouting Report. www.nsr-inc.com
by Larry Perrin