Rocky Mountains – Denver, Colorado
Every year many athletes hit the roads to fulfill their dreams of playing next level football. The common error some families make is only attending Division I camps or schools. The Rocky Mountain region has been favorable to Colorado athletes. However, the fact is there are 50 states that get recruited plus Canada and a handful outside of North America. So the competition is rigid and the recruiting goes beyond the X’s and O’s during a year long evaluation period in many instances for many college coaches.
Traditionally July has been a dead month as many Division I coaches take vacation time as August starts the year long grind. However, recent activity within the NCAA has an early signing period to coincide with the 3 day JUCO signing of December 20-22, 2017 aimed at the graduating class of 2018. So this means the traditional teams that sandbag until the 3rd week of January may have to really recruit in November and December. A spike in Division II camps has arisen in June that normally happen in late July and compete with IVY league camps. Traditionally IVY, D2, D3 coaches focus on academic driven individuals that play the sport of football. Meanwhile the NAIA has 3 showcase events and like the Division III schools they just try to identify athletes and direct target them to attend their campus. In essence many families need to spread the wealth when attending camps and visiting colleges and universities. The best advice is to target 5-8 D1, D2, D3, JUCO or NAIA schools. Usually your high school has a system in place, naviance, to identify these schools. Both athletes and parents are provided with valuable information and what it takes to qualify to the school you are interested in attending. The savvy families will try to identify 3-6 schools and attend their campus post sophomore year and again post junior year. Therefore when September of the senior year the high school will be able to assist families seeking guidance and councilor support. Remember the journey includes your high school councilor, head coach, teachers, parents and of course the student athlete. In addition to these individuals it is helpful to update your sports video profile, availability of school transcripts and college board exams namely SAT and ACT scoring. So the goal is to obtain an education. However, often the athlete is NOT a Division I athlete and dreams are shattered when August rolls around and schools have moved on to the next recruiting class. So if you have a mantra of “Division I or Bust” you might want to rethink and retool you travel plans for July and August.
In Colorado nearly 300 football players attend colleges to play next level. Usually 5-6% will obtain and maintain a Division I scholarship. So if you are not one of the Top 15 or 20 athletes post junior season it is time to shine in your final season of play. There are a few schools that only play athletes their senior year so film is limited. However, waiting until your senior season to be recruited probably means you are behind in the process unless you hit a tremendous growth spurt or are dominating the playing field each and every week. So athletes make the time to get your cleats on their turf as its NOT “D1 or Bust!” if you follow the process for success.