Coach’s Corner: If You’re A Freshman, Start Now

Weekly Recruiting Thoughts from Legendary Recruiting Coordinator Bob Chmiel

LSU and Alabama recently offered an eighth-grade football player a scholarship. An EIGHTH grader! In the not too-distant past, this would have been unheard of. And whether we agree with the process as it now stands or not is irrelevant. The fact is, it is the culture of recruiting that now exist, and it’s going to affect you.

How did this come about? Technology and social media have changed the process dramatically. Everything is now accelerated because information is more readily available to college coaches than ever before.

Here’s a bit of a history lesson: back in the day, high school game film was taken with a 16MM projector. The film was taken to a photo lab and developed after each game, and a typical game usually filled up two canisters of film. After going through the film for coaching reasons, high school coaches usually put the film aside until college coaches visited during the May evaluation period. To make copies of the film was financially prohibitive, as it was just too expensive, and high school coaches were reluctant to send the film out to colleges. Why? If the film was sent out and a coach from another college stopped by, coaches didn’t have backup versions of the film to share with the visiting coach. That old process basically led to college coaches getting their first look at a prospect in May of a young man’s junior year.

Enter VHS and the portability of the game tape immediately enhanced the recruiting process. High school coaches could now make multiple copies of games and send them to colleges, which allowed colleges to get their first look at prospects at a younger age. Still, though, this system was not as fast as todays.

Today, the internet is the key. Because of sites like Hudl and YouTube, coaches can now access film for most prospects around the nation with the click of a button. Now, eighth graders are actually relevant to recruiters, as no prospect must wait until May of his junior year to be evaluated. The recruiting lens of college coaches has expanded dramatically.

How does this affect you? You now have the ability to showcase your talents from the very first day you set foot on a high school football field. And from the other side of the desk, a college coach can begin to evaluate you on day one. You must have a recruiting strategy beginning at a young age – younger than you think.

No one ever told me they began an active role in the recruiting process “too early.” If you are a freshman, start NOW. For those of you who are beyond that point, you have no time to lose. Get started, and we can help. – Coach Bob Chmiel

About Coach Chmiel

Bob Chmiel is one of the most respected Recruiting Coordinators in the history of college football, having held the position at Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame. During his illustrious career, his teams appeared in fourteen college bowl games (including six Rose Bowls). He has over twenty-five years of experience working with football recruiting, and now, he serves as Dark Horse Sports Recruiting’s Director of Football Recruiting. For more information on Coach Chmiel, visit darkhorserecruits.com.