When I was a head football coach back in the seventies/eighties, I filled out every college reference card during March. I did not have too many top D-1 prospects. Mostly, D-III level players. Some years, I would just print "no prospects." Those prospects were for the coming high school season. They were juniors going into their senior seasons.
Times have changed. My directory for the coming 2012 football season is mailed in late January or early February. In some cases that is already old news. I ask Ohio High School coaches to get their information to me during December. By then, my directory is 50% done. I would have been four months.
This morning, my list for the Ohio Class of 2014 numbers 367 prospects. Names, schools, measurements, GPA's, phone numbers, and some cases, emails are included. Probably the most difficult part is getting a true evaluation of each prospect. To give the colleges an idea about each prospect's potential, I rate players. In some way, I have seen most of the prospects personally. Of course, this is just a starting level. I do not rank players. One recruiting site ranks prospects, but not all of the recruiting reporters see each prospect. How can one rate players who they do not see?
01A - National recruit
1 - Definite Divsion I
2 - Possible Division I
3 - Marginal Division I
4 - Definite Division 2
5 - High academics
6 - Too early to predict
College coaches are now asking for my top 25 prospects in the Class of 2014. Doing an honest list of the top 25 is hard right now. Just too early to list 25 top prospects. However, no brainers on that list would be Dante Booker-Akron St Vincent- St Marys, Derek Kief-Cincinnati LaSalle, Jim Byrne-St Ignatius, Alonzo Saxton-Columbus Hartley, Marcus Whitfield-Massillon, DeShone Kizer-Toledo Central Catholic, and Doran Hendricks-Dayton Wayne. Maybe I could list a top 25, but I will let the experts do it.
With the success of the MSROHIO combines and high school coaches, there are roughly 142 prospects from the Class of 2015 on that list.
High school coaches, you just have to find a way to get the information on your players to the college programs as early as you can. If you are not getting the correct information out to the college coaches, somebody else will. Many times that information is not always correct. If you are not getting the player information out there, somebody else will.
Since I work closely with the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, I have to be as exact as possible. Not always easy, but the fewer mistakes the better. The combines help, watching parts of 79 games last fall helps, and working closely with the high school coaches is huge.
Times have changed over the last 30 years. For the most part, the changes have been good. I question how thorough the colleges can evaluate prospects in the shorter time. But the promoting our high school football players is extremely important. Coach get the player information out as early as possible, before someone else does.