Rivals football camp prepares preps for college recruiting process

Coordinators and recruits say the effort to play college football is also about securing a top-flight education
Saturday, March 22, 2008 | 8:53 p.m. CDT; updated 3:32 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Before the slide show and presentation could start, editor Jeremy Crabtree did an exercise that he does before every Five-Star Academy program.

Crabtree had all 100 players in the room standup. He then asked those who had a scholarship offer to remain standing and those who did not to sit down. Then he asked the players who had an offer from their “dream school” to remain standing.

Only four of the 100 players remained standing.

“The odds of getting a scholarship offer and going to your dream school are against you,” said former Kansas lineman Joe Hornback. “There are ways to help you reverse those odds.”

On Saturday, some of the top football recruits in the midwest attended the Five-Star Academy at the Dan DevinePavilion. At the event, recruits learned that playing football in college is about getting a free education and to treat the recruting process like they were applying for a job.

Hornback said one of the first things a player has to realize is that a coach is not going to come and find you and beg you to play for him. You have to get your name out to schools and create a resume for yourself.

Wichita (Kan.) Northwest linebacker Jeff Poe said he learned to treat meeting a coach like meeting a boss.

“You need to try to be a little less shy around the coaches and be yourself,” Poe said. “It is kind of intimidating to have a Division I coach asking you questions.”

Crabtree said events like the one on Saturday help not only the recruits, but also their parents. He says that too many parents go into the process not armed with information.

“We hope that this program helps gives the player a reality check,” Crabtree said. “In reality, it is not about just getting to play football. Getting a free education is the most important and getting a degree can be a life-changing thing.”

Hornback recently wrote a book titled, “The Next Level: A Prep’s Guide to College Recruiting.” Hornback, who also used to coach high school footbal, said that he has a unique experience with recruiting because of his experience as a player and coach.

“As a former player, coach, parent and educator, I have seen firsthand how a scholarship can impact a person’s life.” Hornback said during his presentation.

In order to get a scholarship, Hornback said you have to be confident and confortable with every coach you come into contact with.

Hickman lineman Evan Conrad said he learned that it is important to find a school that wants you to be there, but not to base a decision on that alone.

“After you begin to get scholarship offers it is hard to decide where to go to school,” Conrad said. “You need a school that wants you to play for them and you need to find a school that you want to play for.”

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