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
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+!