Do You Know Who Cody Paul Is?
If you like watching football highlight tapes on YouTube, then you should know Cody Paul. His highlight video from 2007 in Pop Warner football has almost 9 million views. If anyone was going to be next for being a major college football running back, surely he was. If you want to find out exactly what happened to Cody in his recruiting process, I suggest you read Bob Cook’s article “Cody Paul: All Grown Up, and No Major College Football Place to Go.”
For me, this is a perfect example of why you need to stay flexible in the recruiting process and never assume anything based on how many YouTube views you have or whom you get your recruiting letters from. Cody did an excellent job of getting his name out there and working hard on and off the field. But for too many coaches, recruiting is becoming a numbers game; and for every Darren Sproles or Danny Woodhead, there are a 100 6-feet 190-pound sub-4.540 kids at major colleges.
If You Want to Play Major College Football, There’s One Opinion that Matters and One Only—the College Coaches’
Don’t assume because your video is viewed a lot or you are dominating your high school games or even that you are receiving letters from big-name programs that recruiting is all taken care of. This is especially true if you are undersized.
Coaches don’t recruit you because you can throw around a bunch of high school kids or because you can outrun a high secondary; they recruit on your potential to grow and get stronger and faster. If you have a small frame and you don’t hold the same potential in size and strength, you are going to have to become an expert in using your lack of size to an advantage. If you can’t show that to a coach through video or in camps, you’re facing an uphill battle to get taken seriously.
The best part about the Cody Paul story is that this kid who was sure to have a red carpet rolled out for him straight to a major D1 program is scrapping to find a roster to play on at the next level. By all accounts, he has an unparalleled work ethic among his peers and is humble enough to know that at his size, he will need to take whatever opportunity comes his way. I don’t doubt he’s going to be next—just maybe the next Darren Woodhead, and that’s probably okay with him.