4 Things Every High-School Football Prospect Should Know
With my pro-day drawing nearer, I find myself thinking back on my college football career more often every day. Of course, there are tons of awesome memories that I’ll always be able to hold onto, but there’s also some memories that bother me. Most of those things could have been avoided if my expectations were more accurate. Spring is here so a lot of football players will be starting to get calls from recruiters. So here’s a list of things that I wish somebody had told me before getting to campus, now I’m telling you.
- Once you get on campus don’t expect the same kiss-ass relationship you had during recruiting. To a lot of freshmen, this is a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how many guys get on campus and learn that their position coach isn’t as fond of them as they had led on during recruiting. Not to say that he dislikes you. If that were the case he probably wouldn’t have gone after you in the first place, but don’t expect all of his attention towards you to be positive. In fact, as a freshman, the majority of attention is likely to be harsh criticism. So have tough skin because the tone of most your discussions will be a far cry from the tone when he was inviting you to try his wife’s lasagna during the recruiting process.
- Your talent isn’t special anymore, so don’t expect special treatment unless you’ve earned it. Every year coaches go out to recruit and the good ones get you to envision yourself saving the day. I can remember receiving a facebook message about how I’m would have a game-winning interception in the season opener. Good recruiters know how to make you feel special. All athletes envision themselves making big plays, but don’t let it get to your head. You will have All-State, All-Region, Team Captain, State Champions on your team. There are 60 other people on the team that are just as talented as you. The truth is, everyone isn’t treated equally. Some people, mainly the star players, get special privileges. Your treatment by coaches and staff will be based on your level of production.
- You don’t have as much time as you think you do. 4 years may seem like a long time but ask anyone who has played, they’ll tell you it’s not. A lot of people get distracted early in their career simply because they think they have more time than they really do. Things are going to happen. You may have an injury that causes a season to be less productive than you would like. You may not prepare for opponents your best because you’re pummeled with school during the season. One year, I had a teammate who lost a close relative and it forced him to completely lose focus. His loss on top of previous problems with staff eventually led to coaches giving up on him. As sad as it sounds you have to grieve on the go. Don’t lose focus because you don’t have the luxury of time being on your side.
- When you don’t do the work you allow others to dictate your outcome. The worst thing about being around so much talent is seeing some of it go to waste. I think part of this can relate to the fallacy of thinking you have more time than you really do but this is so critical that it deserves to be pointed out specifically. Every athlete knows what it takes to be successful. Athletes know if they need to get faster, stronger, or bigger. But so many have relied on talent for so long that they lack the discipline to be successful. Don’t put the hard work off for another day or another year. ie. If you know that you need to gain 25 lbs to block the person across from you then don’t sandbag your nutrition plan. If you know you need to take 1 tenth off of your 40 time then go run like you were supposed to. Every program is not Alabama. You may not be able to just show up to your workouts and magically become a 500 lb squatting animal. You may have to put in extra work on your own. Don’t put your success or failure into the hands of your opponent or the person behind you on the depth chart by passing up opportunities to develop your talents. When you don’t put in the necessary work you allow others to dictate what your outcome will be.
During this recruiting season take your time to really get to know who you’re talking to because those are the relationships that will be molding you over the next four to five years. During my high-school recruiting someone told me not to choose a university for its people because the people will change with new hirings and promotions but I advise the opposite. A university can have the coolest dining hall or the most advanced facilities, but the staff and its people are what make a university great. The people are what’s going to make you great. Goodluck.