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#13 Recruiting Corner: 7-on-7 Football Recruiting and Character in Recruiting

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Joshua: Hey guys, welcome back, another of The Recruiting Corner here. Joshua Zimmerman, David Frank, as always, bringing you the latest and greatest in recruiting news. What’s new?

David: Oh, not too much. Glad you survived the skydiving. How did that go last week?

Joshua: Skydiving was awesome, so I definitely encourage you guys. Shout out to Skydive Surf City. If you are in California’s Bay Area, definitely check it out. I got to do some flips, which was awesome. First time students are not supposed to do that, and my skydive instructor, an electrical engineer during the week, skydiver on the weekends.

David: A lot cooler than my second job.

Joshua: Definitely a nice little hobby.

David: So we’ll break down the articles we’re covering this week. Going to start off with a summit on 7-on-7 football at USC.

Joshua: We’re going to get Rich Rod’s opinions on some recruiting.

David: Prime Time Junior decides to hold out and find a better college to play his football.

Joshua: We’re going to find out from a volleyball coach how important character really is.

David: And Ole Miss trying to land the number one recruit in the nation through his best friend.

Joshua: And Twittergate. So stay tuned.

David: Yeah. All right. So we’ll go back to this USC story, so 7-on-7 football is becoming really popular for the skill positions like we talk about, and USC held a summit. They wanted to discuss how can 7-on-7 be cleaned up so it doesn’t end up like the AAU of college football?

Joshua: Number one, I love that USC is trying to clean up college sports. They’ve never cheated before. All right. So check this out. 7-on-7 is becoming interesting. It’s a hot topic because is 7-on-7 the next AAU, and is it causing the same problems that AAU did for basketball? There’s a big yes that goes along with that. So the NCAA intervened earlier this year, decided to go ahead and axe any 7-on-7 tournaments from college campuses as well as banning college coaches from attending any 7-on-7 tournaments. So what were great recruiting areas for students are no longer.

The interesting thing with 7-on-7 is it does offer a lot of benefits, and this article, written by Ted Miller, does highlight a lot of those. It does help highlight your receivers and your quarterbacks, especially if you do run a run-oriented offense. It helps get them much needed exposure. At the same time, it causes issues with agents, and basically, these street runners that are pushing kids towards moving high schools. I think one of the parts that was interesting was talking about the two coaches, and you’re basically creating a two-headed monster there. It’s hard enough for one athlete to pay attention to one coach, but when you have two coaches pulling you in two completely different directions and basically talking to college coaches on your behalf, it causes some issues.

David: Yeah, I think the long story short is that the NCAA is doing the same that led to the problems with AAU. They’re restricting coaches’ access in these recruiting opportunities. They’re great opportunities to get recruited. You need to let coaches and programs be there, or else you get the third party people involved.

Joshua: Definitely. So next on the list, we’ve got Rich Rodriguez, and he gave his opinion on some recruiting visits. Ivan Maisel, from ESPN, covered a little bit.

David: Yeah, so it was just in support of my rule, the NCAA rule change that I wanted and I brought it up a couple of weeks ago and he just says, “Look, it’s simple. We need to give recruits a chance to come on official visits, starting at least in May of their junior year.” I say great, if not earlier, and he also says we should have the right to bring in the families to these visits and pay for that visit as well, and I couldn’t agree more. You can’t ask these kids to make huge decisions that are going to impact the rest of their life and not let their families come along and ask them to make these commitments to schools before they even get to see them. So I think Rich Rod is right on that one. Now maybe he can get back to focusing on his athletes punching up people at parties down there in Tucson.

Joshua: Definitely. Yeah, I definitely agree with you on that. I do believe, especially the family aspect, I one hundred percent agree that the athletes should be able to come earlier, get better decisions, a longer period of time to make those decisions, less pressure, but the families are huge. A lot of these kids come from low economic backgrounds, and their families may not be able to afford to travel with their student athlete. So it’s definitely important.

David: Yeah. All right, Prime Time Junior, Deion Sanders, Jr.

Joshua: Neon Deion.

David: His son wants to play big-time college football. Of course, it’s the Sanders’ ego, that’s what they’re going to do. But he chose an interesting path. He decided, “I didn’t get the offers from the schools that I wanted.” He said he got a lot of offers from schools in Texas, and he has decided to hold out, play a year of prep school at a great school in Alabama, and see what offers come next year. So why don’t you explain kind of what that means for a normal recruit.

Joshua: Definitely. So I like two things about this story. Number one, Deion Sanders, Jr. played his junior year of high school as a quarterback and decided that he wasn’t going to play quarterback. He understood that. “I’m not going to play quarterback in college. I need to play a position that I’m going to play in college.” So he decided, he switched over to wide receiver and cornerback, much more position friendly for him, and he plays a little wildcat quarterback, automatically positions he will likely play in college. Then he recognized that, “Listen, I still have to develop. I’m still a raw corner. It’s a brand new position to me, I need another year.” As a recruit, you guys, use that to your advantage. Understand where you fit in the system, understand if your skills are in tune with what you want. If you really want to play D-1 ball, and maybe right now you’re a Division 3 player that has potential, maybe junior college or prep school will help you out, and I think that’s sort of what he recognized. Although he had D-1 offers, he said, “You know what? They’re not the schools I want at this point. I know if I develop, I can get there.”

David: Yeah, and I think an important thing to remember is this isn’t what you get to do when . . . the scholarship isn’t the most important thing. If you have the money to go to a really expensive prep school, or you have the opportunity to maybe spend a year walking on without that scholarship right away, this is a great way to utilize that flexibility and get the development that you need.

Joshua: I definitely, 100 percent agree. So next, The Volleyball Coach, which is a great blog to follow, and the coach, as the author, wrote an answer to a parent whose daughter has a bit of an attitude problem while playing. She’s a great athlete, but apparently she has some character issues.

David: Right. So the story goes that she’s a very talented recruit, and she’s got terrible body language. She just beats herself up. She’s really negative on the floor, and the parents want to know how’s that going to impact recruiting and what should be we be able to tell her to kind of get her to pick up her attitude and clean it up a little bit? So why don’t you explain. How important is your attitude in recruiting?

Joshua: Listen guys, you can be a great athlete, and unfortunately, great athletes can cause themselves recruiting problems with their attitudes and their character. We’ve talked about it several different times. It’s littered all over our blogs. Character is everything. So basically, you want to make sure that you’re projecting that you’re a great person at all points in time, and you have to understand, coaches are constantly evaluating you as an athlete. They’re not just looking at your film and saying, “Oh wow, great athlete. Here’s a scholarship.” No, they want to see how you interact with your fellow teammates, with your coaching staff, with them as coaching staff. That’s why they bring you on visits. It’s not only to sell you on their campus, but it’s also to see you in person and how you react in certain situations. Always know you’re being watched, and I love the fact that the coach told the mom to film her.

David: Yeah, I think he did a really good job of summarizing the article when he said at the end, from a coach’s perspective, he says, “An attitude creates problems and problems create job loss.” So that’s what a coach looks at when they look at a person with a bad attitude. That’s going to be a problem, and they can’t afford to bring that on their program.

Joshua: Nobody likes drama.

David: No, not at all. All right, next part, coming from Ole Miss, they’re going after the number one football recruit in the country. He’s considered an all everything recruit, once in a lifetime type of talent. He might be, he might not be, but what they decided to do at Ole Miss is go ahead and offer his best friend a scholarship in an effort to try and lure in this number one recruit. As you said, probably not the first time this has happened in recruiting, but go ahead and give us some of the ramifications.

Joshua: So, what I see here is a chain reaction. Number one, love the strategy. If you’re going after a kid you really want, why not invite his buddies, his family, his cousin, his cousin’s cousin, whatever it takes to get that kid? That really is the mentality in Division 1-A football, whatever it takes. So they’re doing this. Now, notable, let’s not forget that his best friend is also a D-1 talent corner. He has already gotten offers from D-1 schools. So it’s not like Ole Miss is taking the water boy, but they are choosing to bring on a kid that they may not have recruited otherwise, if they weren’t going after his best friend. Other schools are going to jump on the bandwagon because Ole Miss has now set a precedent, and every school either has to meet and/or exceed that precedent to be able to lure this athlete in.

He’s taken a visit to Clemson. Clemson is mildly interested in this kid’s best friend. Well now, they had better become really interested if they want the other kid to commit. Georgia’s going to do the same thing. I’m sure Alabama is going to jump on it, and those are his top four schools.

David: Right, and see, you’ve got to understand, at these top levels and these programs, scholarships are used like money. They’re used in exchange for getting the athletes that they want, and sometimes a star recruit is worth two or maybe even three scholarships, if you can get that one kid on your team. It’s really, really big business. It’s really, really impersonal sometimes, and just be prepared. If that’s where you want to play and that’s what you want to do, you have to understand the business of it.

Joshua: Definitely. So next guys, I like to call it Twittergate. We talk about social media all the time. Listen, so the AP wrote a story about some Michigan recruits who got in trouble for tweeting a prospective student athlete. Notre Dame got in trouble for tweeting prospective student athletes, and then Kevin DeShazo, from the Fieldhouse Media, also wrote an article on tweeting. Why don’t you go ahead and talk about that.

David: It feels like every single week we’re getting more and more articles about Twitter and recruiting, Twitter in this, and Twitter in the NCAA. From the Michigan story, these guys got in trouble because after a kid made a commitment to the University of Michigan, some guys who play football for them tweeted out to him and said congratulations. I don’t see that as a problem necessarily. I think that this guy has made a commitment. These guys are recognizing that and they want to say kudos, looking forward to having you on the team.

At Notre Dame, it’s a little bit different story. Those guys were tweeting out to a recruit who was making an official visit. That guy had not committed to this school. He had not done anything of the sort, and these guys were trying to influence him before he had made a commitment to the school. I see that the NCAA could have a problem with that, but again, you’re starting to split hairs and I wish the NCAA would just say, “Listen, if kids want to talk to kids and other recruits, let them go at it.”

I think that’s the point that Fieldhouse Media tries to make. Fieldhouse Media is a company that wants to teach athletic programs and recruits the positive benefits of Twitter and social media. All the time we’re reporting on the negative things that happen, the bad things that happen with Twitter or Facebook, people getting in trouble. What they don’t understand is that it’s a huge benefit. You get to reach your audience, reach your recruits a lot more, and that’s what Fieldhouse Media is focused on. I think Kevin’s got the right idea. Twitter’s not going anywhere. The NCAA can make a million rules one way or the other, but the fact is it’s here to stay, and we’re going to need to find a positive use for Twitter.

Joshua: Definitely, yeah, and it’s pretty interesting to see how things play out. Granted, the NCAA has put rules in place that say, “You know what? If you represent the school in any way, you can’t contact a prospective student athlete in a public forum.” But I do think that done in the proper ways, it can help programs out, especially smaller programs that may not have the media coverage that some of your larger programs have.

David: Yeah. I still think, for all of you recruits out there, if you guys are interested in a particular school, friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter. You get a great idea of learning about the coaches, the staff, the team environment. It’ll really, really help you find a program that’s a right fit. Social media is a great, great tool for doing that. So I highly encourage you guys to friend and follow the teams that you want to play for.

Joshua: Again, I one hundred percent agree.

David: Right on. All right. So social media, going to our Facebook question of the week coming from St. Clair Soccer Association. They work with youth soccer players and they asked: “At what age should kids begin thinking about their recruiting?”

Joshua: Definitely a great question, popular question. We love when the big club teams are asking us questions. So check this out. I know that you guys work with kids from 3 to 18. Usually, that 3 to about 13 is a little young to really start thinking about recruiting. But once you hit that 13 to 14 mark, entering your freshman year in high school, it’s really important to start, especially with soccer, because soccer recruiting starts early. So usually freshman year, check it out. You want to make sure you’re giving coaches all the right information, and you want to make sure that you’re creating good videos, so as a club, try helping and providing kids with video services.

David: Yeah, I agree. The other thing, when we talk about getting started your freshman year, it’s as simple as creating a wish list of schools. Look at schools at the D-1 level, look at some D-2 and NAI schools, and as a family, you guys can sit down with your families and say, all right, these are the camps that your kid should probably be going to, if these are the schools that he’s going to want to go to. That’s how you get started your freshman year. The scholarship offers will come if you are attending camps and in contact with those schools.

Joshua: Definitely, and take unofficial visits as often as possible. You can take them as a freshman, you can take them as a sophomore, and that’s where the camps become involved as well guys.

Well, I think that’s all for us today. Any big plans?

David: Not too big of plans on the weekend. I’ve got a golf tournament coming up, first tournament in two or three years, so I need to get out and hit the links.

Joshua: He’s a handicap 103. Average score.

David: Yeah. So I’ve got to get some practice. How about you? What are you doing this weekend?

Joshua: I think I’m going to chill out, man. Last weekend was pretty adrenaline-filled, so I think this weekend I’m just going to hang out and see what happens.

Guys, you know the drill. @JZimmy67, @DavidRFrank, @Athnet. If you have questions, we encourage you to contact us. Have a great one.

David: Thanks, guys.

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