A New Era in Football Recruiting

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By Jamie Uyeyama

It all used to be so simple. You used to play your senior season, hopefully get a chance to play in a post season all-star game, and hope to get noticed by a college football coach.

How times have changed.

Just as the college football game makes major advancements, there has also been a huge leap forward in the way athletes are recruited. It was good enough in the past to send out your highlight film after completing your senior season, but the same method today leaves your chances of earning a scholarship to an NCAA school are slim to none.

In today's world of recruiting, NCAA football programs are targeting their top prospects earlier and earlier. They often have the majority of their target list set before the athlete's grade 11 year is over.

That means scholarships are offered and often accepted much earlier than ever before. So what does it mean for Canadian high school football players? It means they have to prepare even sooner if they want to get a scholarship.

Here are a few tips that they can follow to help them in this advanced recruiting age.

1. Have your transcripts in order

First and foremost, no matter what your abilities are, you need to get your grades in order. Academics should always be emphasized at any age but unfortunately too many students wait until the last minute to start focusing on their studies.

You need to be working hard and taking courses that will help you get into university as soon as possible. Choose wisely when you select your courses for grade 10 and 11. If you don't, then it could hurt your chances of getting a scholarship offer.

2. Take the SAT during your grade 11 year

Universities want to get these scores as soon as possible. They want, and sometimes need, to know that you have a qualifying test score to be eligible for the NCAA.

Taking the standardized test early also gives students an opportunity to retake the test later if they need a better score.

3. Use the internet

Registering for SportsList is the perfect example of this. There is no easier way for university coaches to find your profile than on the web.

4. Get your grade 11 film out as soon as possible

As I mentioned before, coaches evaluate prospects much earlier than they did in previous years, which means highlight tapes and game film need to be out that much sooner as well.

Even if it does not lead to an early scholarship offer, you will be able to be on a coaching staff's radar as someone to watch out for or evaluate later.

These are only a few of the steps prospective football players can use to aid in their pursuit of a scholarship in the NCAA. Following these same steps in regards to attending Canadian universities on an athletic scholarship would also be a very smart option.

Canadian universities don't have the same recruiting style as American schools, but staying one step ahead as a potential college football player is never a bad idea.