Monday, January 28, 2013

College "Junior Days" at a Glance

With the official national signing date just over a week away, the Ohio Class of 2014 will become the main focus of college coaches throughout the country. Granted that college coaches have already been in the high schools and have an idea of who they are "liking" and "looking at," the really serious evaluations will be beginning. You will soon be hearing and reading about "Junior Days."

"Junior Days" are another way to get recruits on campus. College coaches can visit with recruits and parents. Usually, just one day is spent on campus and usually on a Saturday. For many high school players they will be  part of large group of recruits. Recently, some college football programs have started bringing in smaller groups. Of course, you get more "one on one" contact in a smaller group. In the past, some recruits have felt slighted by the college coaches. Smaller groups, hopefully, eliminate, some of those feelings.

Presentations to the group are varied, but all contain the same basic information. An academic representative will go over all aspects of what is needed and expected from the players. Much emphasis is put on the academic policies. Groups also tour the football facility and, with weather permitting, players will get a chance to visit the stadium. Most schools also give a strength training presentation, including a tour of the weight room. More and more schools talk about proper nutrition.

Position coaches spend time with individual position players. Also at this time, a player may also get a chance to meet with the coach recruting his area. Some head football coaches will spend time with an individual and his parents. Usually a ten minute visit. Of course, a recruit should feel really good about meeting with the head coach.

Food and drink are provided, BUT the player and parents have to pay for  any food or drink. Colleges cannot give food or drink as a benefit. They can provide the food, but a player and his family must buy it.

Sometime during the day, colleges are going to push their football summer camps and any other times that players can get on campus. Getting the athletes on campus as often as possible, is really important. I forget, but a player may get a free camp poster.

To get a really good feel for the campus and the sports atmosphere, Junior Days are often held during a home basketball game. Sometimes some of the football players may "bump" into a recruit. That in itself, can be exciting. The seats are good and watching 15,000 fans is fun.

Personally, I think that "Junior Days" can be a good thing. Even if you are not a top BCS level recruit, you can learn alot about the school and the process. You can meet new friends who will be recruited just like you. You meet some college coaches. Plus, the social media football recruiting writers know that you are in attendance and may give you free exposure. Overall, you will learn about what to do and what not to do in the world of football recruiting.

Please remember that just because you attend a "Junior Day," does not mean that a Michigan or an Ohio State or a Nebraska is going to recruit you hard. Two of the most used phrases in the recruiting process - We "like" him. We are "looking at him." Not to dampen your spirit, but always remember that football recruiting is a "business," and, at times, a very "ugly business."

Most of all, have fun and, for the most part, everything is free. And mom and dad can tell their friends about "Junior Day." If they get lucky, they can boast about meeting the head football coach. By the end of the day, you will have had a really enjoyable time.

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