It Isn’t Easy to Get Recruited on Your Own

demaurier blackwellIf you contact almost any company that helps athletes in the recruiting process you will hear a similar story about why they started. Usually the founder got themselves or their child recruited on their own and after realizing how difficult of a process was, decided to start a service that makes the process easier. How these companies go about getting your recruited can be different, but they all more or less start from the same place. We understand that you can get recruited on your own, but we also know it is very difficult.

There was an excellent story by Matt Stephens that chronicles the recruiting process for Demaurier Blackwell. He like many athletes went about the recruiting process on his own. With a lot of hard work, he and his family were able to secure a last minute offer and signed a NLI with Colorado State University on February 5th. Here are the things you should take away from his story.

The Numbers Behind Getting Recruited Your Own

700 emails – Number of emails they estimate they sent in the off-season *this doesn’t count follow up emails throughout the season

314 views – Views of his Junior Season highlight tape that he sent to 700+ coaches

225 students – Number of students at his very small high school

125 tackles– Number of tackles he made his senior year (64 solo)

21 days – Days they spent researching schools before sending emails

6’3” & 250 lbs – Demaurier’s height and weight as a linebacker

4.7 seconds – His 40 time

1 day – The number of days before National Signing Day he knew he had a DI offer

0 – How many times Demaurier heard from CSU coach’s before they offered him

Key Lessons from Demaurier’s Story

Size and measurables aren’t enough – He might have a combination of size and athleticism that puts him in the top 5% for his position, but that still leaves him competing against hundreds of other recruits. Don’t expect to get offers and interest just because you have a good 40 time.

Only 314 views of his junior highlight tape despite being sent to 700 coaches. This means less than 50% of the coaches he contacted even bothered to watch his video. This is why you need to email hundreds of coaches just to find a few opportunities.

Contrast the number of views of his junior year tape with the 700+ views of his senior year highlight tape. I am sure Demaurier followed up his emails from the summer/fall and shared his senior tape. This was the film that got him recruited. It is your job to follow up with a coach even if you haven’t received a response from them in previous emails.

He had not talked to the coaches at CSU ONCE before they called and offered on the day before signing day. Imagine yourself in that situation, having done all the work he did and in the months and weeks leading up to signing day you hadn’t heard anything. No emails, letters, phone calls or visits. While I wouldn’t recommend going into the week before signing day like this, it proves, you must continue to work at the recruiting process even if you aren’t hearing from coaches.

I applaud Demaurier and his family for all of the effort they put in to his recruiting. The lessons he learned about hard work and not giving up will stay with him long passed his days of playing football. Whether you use a recruiting service or not, recruiting takes effort and our site is here to help in that effort.

Please share this story if someone you know would benefit from it. Thank you.


How to Graduate Early from High School

graduating high school earlyFor a long time, the NCAA was mostly concerned with athletes graduating late from high school. Athletes who were short on their core courses or just wanted another year to develop physically would be held back or attend a year or two of prep school. And during those extra years, athletes might load up on courses and magically become eligible.

With the growth of midyear enrollees in football as well as the expansion of graduating early in other sports, leaving school before an athlete’s time rather than after is becoming a bigger issue. Deciding to graduate early is a major decision and one that can trip up an athlete’s eligibility.

A quick disclaimer: Whether an athlete should graduate early is one of those “If you have to ask, the answer is no” questions. Normally an athlete will only be graduating early if the university has suggested it. In those cases, the coaches or compliance office at the school will be in close contact with the prospect to make sure they meet the requirements ahead of time.

Ocassionally though, it makes sense for an athlete to be the one that suggests and pushes for early graduation. Athletes might also feel like they have questions or concerns that are not addressed by the school recruiting them. This guide is for those athletes.

Step One: Decide and Commit to Early Graduation ASAP

The sooner you decide you want to graduate early, the easier it will be. Remember that you will need to meet requirements designed to take four years in three and a half or even three years in some cases. The earlier you start this process, the less scrambling you will need to do at the end.

In addition to deciding, you need to commit to graduating early. Wavering back and forth is as bad or even worse than making a late decision to move up your graduation date. Early graduation is a major decision, one that you and your family may end up investing much time and money to make happen. Going back and forth will not only make graduating early harder, but could cause you issues with your eligibility based on a normal graduation date.

Step Two: Make Sure You Can Graduate Early

Many public schools restrict or prevent early graduation. Public schools receive their funding based on the number of pupils enrolled, and budget assuming that almost all students who start in the fall will be there in the spring. Private schools face the same challenge with budgeting tuition, but are often more flexible than public schools.

Check with your counselor or principal to make sure the school allows early graduation. If it does not, you may need to transfer to a new high school, normally a private school, to finish early. Online schools are particularly flexible, but you must make sure the NCAA has approved any online high school or coursework you plan to take.

Step Three: Get Ahead

To graduate early, you must meet all the requirements in a semester or two fewer than intended. In theory, you can make up the extra courses in the last semester, but that carries more risk. The better tactic is to spread the additional credits out over as long a period as possible.

The NCAA is also cracking down on athletes who are behind and in danger of not qualifying at all, but somehow manage to graduate and meet initial eligibility requirements early. To avoid extra scrutiny, get ahead as early as possible so your early graduation does not look too good to be true.

Step Four: Remember All the Requirements

To graduate and enroll early, athletes need to not only make sure they meet high school graduation requirements but the NCAA’s initial eligibility requirements as well. Once an athlete graduates, even an early graduation, the NCAA allows only one core course credit to be used for eligibility purposes. And once an athlete enrolls full-time in school, their academic record is locked in.

Athletes in private schools, especially religous schools, should keep in mind that their graduation requirements might be much different than the NCAA’s requirements. If you transfer to a private, religious school from a public school for one year or semester, you should be prepared to make up a large number of courses at the school as well as doing extra work to fulfill NCAA requirements.

Step Five: Don’t Forget the Paperwork

In addition to meeting the requirements, athletes must also make sure they take care of their administrative responsibilities. Athletes need to register with the Eligibility Center, make sure to select the correct (earlier) graduation date, complete the amateurism questionnaire, and get the necessary documents to the EC as quickly as possible.

The high school might also have its own tasks to complete. You may need to apply to graduate earlier. There may be capstone requirements, like papers or community service hours that must be completed. And if you are graduating early and enrolling in college midyear, make sure your high school knows because the timeline to get documents into the EC and to get certified is much tighter than over the summer.


Set Your Expectations Early: Not All Recruits Get to Play

Lane Kiffen said something that we wish all recruits (football players especially) could hear:

“If you really study the country, you’re probably going to find maybe 5 impact true freshman around the country that truly impact their team. Your Marquis Lee’s, DeAnthony Thomas’, your Sammy Watkins’, those types of guys, yet there are 35 five-star guys each year. Most of them need that spring to really get comfortable, to get use [sic] to the speed of the college game, and the playbooks.”

That sound you just heard should be all the recruits and their families pumping the brakes on their expectations.

Whether you are a top-level recruit, or you are looking to play at an NCAA Division III or an NAIA college, it’s likely your expectations of the impact

Set You Expectations Early: Not All Recruits Get to Play

Image from NW Sports Beat

you will have are way higher than they should be. Sit back and think for a minute about the numbers Kiffen brings up. Out of 35 five-star recruits, only 5 of them may have an impact in any given season.

Sure, there are freshman that come in and start for their teams, but if you think you are going to walk in and start and possibly even be a star, the odds say you won’t.

What Should You Do if You Want to Play Next Year

That doesn’t mean you can’t find somewhere to play in year one, but it does mean you may have to temper your expectations. If you are a division I player, start looking at lower division I schools or even DII schools. If you are a DIII or NAIA player then spend time looking at teams’ rosters to see if they have multiple upperclassmen playing your position that are set to graduate when you enter college.

Junior college is another option for athletes looking to play right away. (If you are a qualifier then you can play for one year and transfer; partial and non-qualifiers may have to play for two years and earn their associates degree.) Would you rather red shirt your freshman year, or spend it at a junior college? Be careful when considering this option though, because playing time isn’t the only thing that makes underclassmen better at their sport. Athletes greatly improve their skills during the college offseason by working with strength and training coaches, as well as with their head and assistant coaches to review film and playbooks.

Take some time to evaluate what you truly want out of your college experience. Sometimes playing 4 years at a smaller school is better than only having one or two seasons to play.

What do you think? Do you want to play right away, or sit on the bench for a few years before you see the field? Let us know in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!


Georgia Coach Mark Richt Shows Junior College Can Get You Recruited

Georgia Coach Mark Richt Shows Junior College Can Get You Recruited

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Junior college can help athletes in all sports get a little more experience prior to attending a four-year school. For some athletes in certain sports, like football and to some extent basketball, junior college can be a necessary stepping stone to playing in the NCAA.

Some Coaches Really Like Junior College Athletes

Georgia football coach Mark Richt recently went on record discussing his proclivity for recruiting junior college athletes.Georgia’s recruiting class this year consists of 28 athletes, four of them being junior college transfers. Junior college transfers can help a program out in several ways; according to Richt, it gives depth to your recruiting class by breaking up the ages of incoming athletes. It also allows coaches to upgrade positions immediately by bringing in athletes that are ready to play much sooner than incoming freshmen. Obviously there are still plenty of freshman athletes that come in and help programs win immediately, but junior college transfers are usually more mature.

Junior College Shouldn’t be Everyone’s First Option

However, junior college shouldn’t necessarily be an athlete’s first choice when thinking about recruiting in high school; there are some negatives to trying to get recruited out of junior college. In fact, Richt has a clause in his contract that states he must keep his recruiting of junior college players to a minimum- meaning some coaches are restricted in actually recruiting junior college athletes. Schools don’t want to get stuck in cycles of recruiting only junior college athletes because they usually only have two years of eligibility left, sometimes three. If it comes down to two athletes with equal athletic ability, one a junior college athlete and the other a high school senior, the college coach will likely choose the high school senior over the junior college transfer, because the senior has more eligibility left.

What You Need to Know to Transfer

If you are a junior college student, or a high school athlete considering junior college, you should look at our Junior College Transfer page. Getting recruited from a junior college is not always easy, but the same goes for recruiting in general. Knowing the landscape of junior college recruiting before you decide to attend a junior college will help you find the best opportunity possible to continue your athletic and academic career.

Do you have any questions about what it takes to attend junior college or to transfer to a four year school? Let us know in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!


Lacrosse Proves to Help One Football Recruit Get Better

Serious athletes take all aspects of their training into consideration; they are always looking for ways to improve and Lacrosse Proves to Help One Football Recruit Get Betterbe the best. You may think that because you are a two-sport athlete that you are doing all the work you need because you are always working out, getting stronger and training. No doubt, being a multi-sport athlete will keep you in good shape, but if you want to improve on the skills you need most for your main sport, then you will want to hear how a multi-sport high school football player found a new way to be exceptional in his sport.

What One Football Player Discovered

Alex Collins, a high school running back and 3-sport athlete, always thought he was on the right track. He played basketball to keep in shape, and he ran track to get quicker. Both sports, he thought, were giving him the ultimate training advantage. He thought he was set for the rest of high school; he was going to continue his routine and then hopefully get recruited to play football, or so he thought…

Collins and Lacrosse

Collins was definitely a stand-out football player, making his way to compete in college. He had never considered the benefits of lacrosse until one of his football coaches who also coached the lacrosse team asked him to try-out. His coach told him playing lacrosse during the off-season could definitely help with footwork and coordination. So Collins, being an all-around athlete, took on the challenge with no hesitation, “You just want to be able to show that any sport is possible as long as you put your mind to it.” This attitude is what makes good athletes great, they are willing to do what is needed to put themselves in a better position for the sake of their sport, even if it puts them in a vulnerable position by trying something new.

Having an Open Mind

Athletes who are willing to take the advice of coaches, even if it seems unconventional, will be in a better position to continually improve their character and athleticism. As an athlete it will be your job to do what is necessary to continue to improve your game at all costs necessary. Just like Collins, take the challenge with an open mind. Like he said, “Every normal athlete does football and then track as their off-season sport, but this was something new.” Lacrosse is something that gave him more skills that he could later use to capitalize during football.

An Athlete with a Purpose

Collins first took on lacrosse as a challenge, and then found he had a love for the game. He convinced his other football teammates to try-out for lacrosse and learn the game too. He worked diligently on improving his footwork, awareness and visions, all skills which will help him when football season approaches. He now acts as an ambassador for lacrosse teaching other football players how they can train better in their off-season while still having fun and competing.

Collins’ transition to learning a new sport is inspirational. If you have questions about improving your skills or finding better ways to train in the off-season, then leave your comments below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+!


What an Early Scholarship Offer Really Means

Getting offered a scholarship is one of the most exciting moments for a high school athlete. It means the validation of years of effort, it can be the start of an exciting, if confusing, journey through the recruiting process, and a relief for many athletes and families. When What an Early Scholarship Offer Really Meansthat offer comes as an eighth grader (especially in football), what it means is a little different.

Recruiting is Being Pushed up Earlier and Earlier

If schools and the NCAA could effectively regulate offers, no coach would be able to offer a scholarship or any athlete commit to a school until at least the athlete’s junior year in high school. Because there is no good rules to put in place, more commitments by sophomores, offers to freshmen in high school, and the occasional recruitment of seventh and eighth graders will continue to be the trend.

Prospects should keep in mind that prior to signing an athletic scholarship agreement, any offer is not binding for the school and can be revoked. Prospects should also remember that until they sign a National Letter of Intent, their commitment is not binding, even if they sign an athletic scholarship agreement. An eighth grader accepting a school’s scholarship offer and committing is based only on the word of everyone involved for four or five years.

A lot Can Happen in Four Years

Ideally, an athlete wants to stay at one school and play for one head coach for their entire career. So committing before high school means hoping that the situation with the school does not change for eight years or more. Eight years is a long tenure for even successful head coaches in many sports, not to mention a long time for things like the style of play, playing time, academic interests, desire to stay close to home and more to all stay the same.

When receiving an early scholarship offer, prospects should simply treat it as a high degree of interest from the school. It is flattering to know that a school is so interested so soon, but it can also mean additional pressure. Coaches make additional efforts to keep tabs on prospects they have offered, which means more games with coaches in the stands. If you commit early, the recruiting process might change, but it is not over at that point.

Before Making Any Commitment, Make Sure You Have Done Your Research

That means visiting the school, speaking with coaches multiple times, making sure the coaches have had a chance to evaluate you, and digging into academics and the campus. For most middle schoolers or high school underclassmen, only a dream school they grew up near will normally fit the criteria. For other schools, early scholarship offers should be a sign to start researching the team and school in depth.

Never bow to pressure to commit, especially this early in your career. Coaches are recruiting well into the future and are trying to finish classes as soon as possible, but remember that both their offer and your commitment are nonbinding. There is no way to get real assurance that your scholarship will be honored if you get injured or do not continue to improve on the field. If a coach truly wants you, and not just to fill a recruiting spot, they will wait for your decision.

Do you want to know more about early and verbal commitments? Just leave us a comment in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!


NCAA Rules Limit Scholarship Package Deals

The story of Robert Nkemdiche’s recruitment began with his commitment to Clemson and has now centered around the number of friends and teammates Clemson has offered scholarships to in order to secure and keep Nkemdiche’s commitment. It has lead to broader questions about whether package deals should be allowed by the NCAA and whether coaches should take recruits who ask for scholarships for the friends or jobs for their parents and coaches. NCAA Rules Limit Scholarship Package Deal

As coverage of recruiting becomes more mainstream, the thought is that either more package deals that are already happening will come to light or the attention focused on big-time prospects will cause more to try and grab a share of the limelight and help a friend at the same time.

Scholarship Limits Will Curb Package Deals

There’s little to fear about package deals becoming commonplace throughout college recruiting because of NCAA scholarship limits. Package deals will almost always be limited to football and men’s or women’s basketball, and even then to only the very top Division I recruits (and the other prospects in the package).

There can never be significant package deals in equivalency sports because of how coaches in those sports approach their scholarship limits. Rather than handing out scholarships in full grant-in-aid chunks, equivalency coaches are more likely to think of the dollars being given. Plus, if the request is for a large scholarship for a friend, the trade off for a coach might include losing multiple prospects to land an elite athlete.

In other headcount sports that offer only full scholarships, there are too few scholarships to give one to an athlete the coach might not otherwise recruit. While football and basketball can more than fill a full roster of starters and backups with scholarship players, women’s volleyball, women’s gymnastics, and tennis cannot.

In most sports, any package deal is more likely to include athletes who were already both considering a school who decide to go together rather than one athlete asking a coach to give a friend a scholarship even though the coach was not recruiting the other athlete. Most of the time recruits pick a school together, a college coach has little or no involvement in the decision-making process.

The Other, More Threatening, Package Deal

The other type of package deal, one which the NCAA is keeping a very close eye on, is schools hiring a parent or coach to get a commitment from the athlete. In men’s basketball, the NCAA tried to set limits on this practice by restricting these hires to coaching positions only. The rule operates on the same theory that prevents package deals in many sports. A head men’s basketball coach is limited to three assistant positions, and using one to get one athlete is too big of a trade off. Expect a similar rule to come to football soon, then possibly spread to other sports.

Package deals are not something most recruits will have to worry about. Only a tiny fraction will ever be involved in this kind of recruiting and only slightly more will ever be impacted by a coach having to give a scholarship at the request of another athlete. Even as recruiting becomes part of the mainstream, package deals will stay on the fringe.

Do you have any questions about scholarships or the recruiting process?  Just ask us in the comment section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!


Get a Football Scholarship- Snoop Doggy-Style

Many of you may have heard that the UCLA Bruins signed P. Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, to a football scholarship for the 2012-2013 season. Well, the Bruins have continued down the hip-hop road by offering Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell Broadus a full-ride (perhaps trying to spark a friendly inter-squad east coast-west coast rivalry?). There is a chance that the two hip-hop icons’ sons could play on the same team, but 2012-13 will only be Broadus’ sophomore year in high school.

One of the biggest questions is whether these moves were made based on the two young athletes’ skills, or for other means. UCLA is a state school, and California has been making budget cuts to state schools. The move to sign both Combs and Broadus could very easily be a move to bring two very rich boosters to the football program. UCLA is overshadowed in Southern California by its rival USC (Snoop Dogg says he is a big USC fan- so it could be a big steal for UCLA), and bringing in two parents with a combined net worth of over half a billion dollars (not to mention their A-List status) can go a long way in changing the balance of power in Southern California football.

When Combs was signed, many people said since he is Diddy’s son he doesn’t deserve a scholarship because of his father’s net worth (around $500 million); however, athletic scholarships are not given out based on financial need. Athletic scholarships are paid for by revenue from athletics, such as ticket sales and TV rights/media contracts. They are also supplemented by boosters and private donors. Football at the NCAA Division I level is a head-count sport, meaning all scholarships are full-ride scholarships, so there is no way that UCLA can offer Broadus or Combs anything less than the full scholarship- currently valued at $54,000.

So What Does All This Mean for the Average High School Athlete out There Getting Recruited?

Football recruiting is extremely competitive. There is an important lesson to remember from these two recruiting stories: you are not Snoop Dogg or P. Diddy’s kid. That means that you don’t have resources and the media that they do to help you get recruited. You will have to take college recruiting into your own hands if you want to earn a scholarship.

It also brings up an important question- what do you bring to an athletic program? Broadus, while young and inexperienced, is a 6’2” 185lb sophomore with great upside. Combs, while undersized, looks like a good athlete; and, both of them have very rich fathers who can support the football program with donations. It is obvious what these two bring to the table, so you have to ask yourself: how can I show a coach what I can bring to the program? The answer is put together a great highlight film and resume, reach out to coaches, go to camps to display your skills, and continue to develop relationships with those coaches!

Need help figuring out what aspects of yourself you should market to college coaches? Ask us in the comment section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!


4 Tips to Becoming a College Tight End Recruit

The tight end position can be of extreme value or limited importance, depending on the type of offense your coach has implemented. Professional teams such as the New England Patriots and the Peyton Manning- era Indianapolis colts made the tight end position vital to their success as Super Bowl champions.

Following in the NFL’s footsteps, many college teams are now moving in the direction of recruiting and using versatile tight ends. The University of Florida recruited Aaron Hernandez, whose talents helped win a national championship and first team All-American honors. His versatility got him drafted by the New England Patriots, helping them earn a 2012 Super Bowl berth. Similarly, the University of Miami has built a great reputation of developing strong, mobile tight ends; NFL All-Pros Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, and Greg Olsen all hail from the “U.”

Playing tight end requires an athlete to run, block, and catch well. Today’s tight end needs to accomplish the same tasks the position demanded twenty years ago, but be far more skilled in each category. Here are some tips to help you become a better tight end and football recruit.

You’re a Mismatch

The tight end is one of the few areas of the football field where true mismatches can be made. Tight ends are usually taller and faster than most linebackers and more powerful than most defensive backs. Accordingly, tight ends should have the ability to out maneuver and outrun most linebackers ,while being able to overpower most defensive backs for the ball or position on the field. These situations are called designed mismatches.

One of your responsibilities is to understand where your mismatches lie on the field and exploit them. This knowledge comes from working with your coaches, quarterbacks, and watching film of your opponent. Understanding your opponent’s situational defenses and where they consistently leave holes, paired with your ability to recognize possible mismatches and using those mismatches to your advantage, creates value for football recruits.

Understand the Position Requirements

The tight end position combines the skills and size of an offensive lineman with the skills and speed of a wide receiver. It’s because of this dual need that good tight ends are hard to come by, and are valuable. As a potential recruit, it’s your job to understand the importance of each position and pull double-duty to become equally talented in both areas. The offensive scheme you play under might favor blocking versus receiving or vice versa, but it’s imperative that you be well-rounded if you desire to be recruited by multiple schools with multiple offensive looks.

Becoming skilled in two separate positions and having to somehow coexist can be challenging. Finding success means dedicating yourself to maintaining the right diet, workout, and exercise routines to bulk up to the proper size, while maintaining the necessary speed and agility. College tight ends range in size depending on the level played; most weigh in around or over the 220 pound mark.

Build Lean Muscle

Traditional tight ends have been very bulky, but today’s game calls for leaner bodied athletes. This stature takes time and effort to develop; it takes the right eating habits and, more importantly, the right workout. Building the right body requires full-body workouts while still incorporating traditional isolations such as the bench press and squats. Newly popular CrossFit exercises are great full body workouts, and other routines can be built on the foundation of circuit drills. Both exercise regimens force the heart rate to stay up, therefore burning more calories and building lean muscle.

Chemistry

All skills aside, quality recruits need to put adequate time into building chemistry with their teammates, especially their quarterback. Note the relationship Dallas Clark built with Peyton Manning or the sparks that flew this year between Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady; these duos were built on relationships, practice, and chemistry. It’s really hard to impress a coach on film if you are never on the same page with your quarterback or your other offensive teammates. Chemistry is built off the field just as much as it is on, become close friends with those that play around you and notice the difference it makes on the gridiron.

Do you want to know how to get recruited to play college football? Ask us in the comments section below or find us on FacebookTwitter or Google+!


5 Steps to Becoming a Recruitable Defensive Lineman

College Football Defensive LinemanDominant defenses are usually led by dominant defensive lines. Let’s reflect on this year’s Super Bowl-winning New York Giants and their tenacious pass rush led by Justin Tuck. It was Tuck and his team of “Giants” that struck fear into the normally ice-cold Tom Brady, causing a safety on the first play of the Patriots’ first drive. You know what they say: offense wins games, but defense wins championships! This is largely in part to the play of the defensive line, both with stopping the run and disrupting the pass.

Understand the Size Needed For Success

Like an offensive lineman, defensive linemen make a name for themselves by having big, strong bodies. Generally, defensive linemen are slightly smaller than their offensive counterparts, which allow them to be quicker and more agile. Many exterior defensive linemen, both stand-up and three-point stance defensive ends, tend to be tall, lean, and slender while also being extremely powerful. The interior defensive lineman, called defensive tackles, are much larger in body mass and capable of taking on multiple linemen and plugging the running lanes.

Due to lack of proper options, many high school coaching staffs place student- athletes at defensive line positions even though they don’t have the size to play that position at the college level. If this describes you, look at our graphic that explains how big you need to be to play your position at the college level.

Explosion, Leverage, and Power

Defensive linemen are very explosive athletes. You aren’t expected to be the fastest guy on the team. But when you factor in size, strength, and speed, defensive linemen are some of the best all-around athletes on the field. Technique is the key to getting leverage; staying low and using leverage to get under the pads of often- larger offensive line players show coaches you are developed as a player. Being able to fire off the ball quickly is a mixture of anticipation and power. Although anticipation is somewhat natural, it can be practiced and learned; snap counts can be studied through watching film.

Build the Right Body

An athlete’s power is built in the weight room, and as a defensive lineman, the weight room needs to be a major part of your training. You must work hard to keep a well-balanced muscular body. This means proportionate upper- and lower- body strength. Focusing too much on one aspect of your body will hinder your development as an all- around athlete.

Make sure you are working with your coach to create a position- specific workout regimen. Many times, this is an area where the coaches fall short. Don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of strength and conditioning experts.

Understand Your Role

It is very easy to watch a defensive lineman on film and see if he understands his position and how to play it. An unseasoned defensive end will get sucked inside early, lose containment, and forget to stay home often. Just the same, inexperienced defensive tackles can get washed down the line or cut very easily. No matter the type of defensive scheme, a defensive lineman needs to be able to either hold his ground or penetrate the backfield.

Keep Your Speed

The hardest aspect of being a “big” guy is maintaining the speed of a smaller more agile athlete. Elite defensive linemen are supposed to be bigger than linebackers but have similar speed; this is especially true for defensive ends. More recently, with the up-tempo style of college programs, defensive linemen are expected to have good endurance as well. The best way to gain speed and endurance is to run sprints and distance throughout summer workouts.

Do you have questions about playing college football? Leave them in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!