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How do athletes get discovered at football prospect camps?

ByScotty Jenkins

Published on Wed Apr 27 2022

|

5 min read

How do athletes get discovered at football prospect camps?

Athletes get discovered in a variety of ways that don’t always have to do with their stats in the regular season.Through camps and offseason showcases, high school football athletes can earn interest from colleges by drawing attention to their intangibles, their competitiveness, or even just showing off their speed and strength in a verified setting.

Here are a few examples of how a football recruit can go from being under the radar to earning multiple stars in one offseason.


Word of Mouth Is The Key To Recruiting

When you’re competing in a high school football season in your hometown, sometimes it can be difficult to get your name out there. Unless you’re playing big name opponents in the top division or putting up stats that make your school rewrite the record books, gaining exposure and interest from college coaches can be difficult. Tens of thousands of athletes are sharing their weekly film with coaches on social media and it’s hard for everybody to keep up.

The offseason camp circuit, though, puts you in the center of the spotlight, without pads or a helmet, to showcase your talent and personality for coaches and scouts.

At a camp, a high school football athlete will meet a dozen coaches who will have a different opinion of what that recruit might be able to do. If you are putting your best foot forward at a camp, your name will be elevated by those coaches and you will be accomplishing the first task every major recruit has to do… become part of the conversation.


Coaches And Scouts Want To Find You

Within a football camp, it can seem like chaos. At each corner of the football field, there are hundreds of athletes that look just like you, each doing a different set of drills in front of a handful of accomplished coaches, scouts, and college recruiters. It can seem like a huge hurdle to be seen, let alone be given the attention you think your talent deserves.

But, don’t get discouraged. The coaches and scouts at these major football camps know just what they are doing. They know how to organize and evaluate each athlete who performs a drill or competes in a head-to-head matchup. They’ve been in your shoes and they’ve worked through the ranks as a football recruit themselves.

Furthermore, these coaches are at these camps because they want to find the next great athletes. It’s their job to recognize the great talent and share those opinions with college football coaches. These football camps are a major part of any college football programs recruiting process and the coaches and scouts standing on the turf with you are an essential part of that.

When you are at a camp, compete as hard as you can. When a coach is teaching you, listen and remember that they are judging your coachability as much as your talent. When you are networking with scouts and other players, be yourself and show that you are a good person who deserves a chance to shine at the next level. From the moment you show up to a camp, you need to be on mentally and physically because out there on the field are the movers and shakers that could lead you to your next step in the recruiting journey.


Distinguish Yourself From Others At Your Position

It’s no secret that each camp you attend is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. While coaches and scouts are doing their best to honestly evaluate every player on the field, you need to help yourself be seen to. Football camps and recruiting showcases are about raw talent, but at the same time, who doesn’t love the highlights and excitement that comes with them. These camps are as much a place to celebrate everything that makes being a football so exciting as they are to earn a star on your recruiting profile.

If you are a quiet kid, when you attend a camp you need to push yourself to be louder. Whether it is how hard you compete or speaking up to demonstrate your leadership abilities, you need to adapt to the situation in order to be noticed.

On the other hand, if you are a flashy player who loves getting in the face of everybody who lines up against you,camps may not be the best place to show that side of yourself. Yes, coaches love a competitor, but don’t let that come ahead of this opportunity to listen and learn from the camp coaches and even the other athletes.

All in all, football camps and exposure events should be a fun and an exciting way to network with coaches and scouts while seeing where you stack up to the other position players in your class. Just be sure you’re letting your game do a majority of the talking, because a negative reputation among these needle movers who are evaluating you can be a difficult thing to shake before your recruitment ends.


Shoot For Awards and Recognition at the Camp

The easiest way to distinguish yourself at a camp is to try to win camp awards or gain recognition for a particular drill or talent. If you can head home with an award for your defensive abilities or Camp MVP honors for your performance throughout the weekend, that is something coaches and scouts won’t forget. These awards and recognition show that the camp coaches discussed you and decided you deserved to be shouted out.

Better yet, earning this kind of recognition is a certain way to earning an invite to the next camp this group is hosting. Better than taking home a trophy or plaque, knowing that your talent earned you a spot at another exposure camp down the road is a huge momentum builder for you and your reputation. And many of the coaches who decided to honor you will be at the next camp, checking in on your progress and telling a new group of scouts and college coaches about how much potential you have.


Make Sure To Use Social Media After The Camp

Whether you left the camp with MVP honors or only caught a few passes, the most important part of the camp might be happening after the lights are turned out.

After the camp, it is so important to keep the momentum going for yourself and connect on social media with the coaches and scouts you met while at the camp. If you had a great showing, tell them you’d love to be a part of the next exposure event they have on their schedule. If you didn’t have a great showing, message them and say how much you appreciated the coaching and the insight they offered you. No matter how you performed in the weekend you were with a coach or scout in-person, a thoughtful message following up with them can make a big impression.

Along with that, reach out to anyone who might have been filming at the camp and ask if they have footage of you. Posting videos on GMTM and Twitter of how you battled with a big-name recruit or how well you ran routes can help you reach a ton of new coaches who may not have been able to attend the camp. Through social media, you can find new opportunities and maintain relationships with the coaches and scouts you meshed with while attending the camp.


When it comes to being discovered or gaining exposure, it is important to understand the process. Not even the best NFL players were able to gain interest from colleges without putting in the work and representing themselves.

Attending a camp is just one step in the process, but if you learn and understand how high school recruits are talked about and evaluated, it will make the journey less intimidating. Most of the work it takes to be recruited as a high school football player happens away from the field without your pads or helmet on. Embrace the process and you will undoubtedly have more opportunities at bigger programs that reveal themselves to you.

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