February 4, 2023

Football – Senior – December

How To Benefit From Official Visits

Hopefully, you are receiving calls from coaches asking you to come for official visits early in December.  They will want you to come during the first two weeks while their campuses are still alive with faculty and students.  These official visits are paid for by the college and you should incur little out of pocket expense.

Here are some GREAT ways to get the most out of official visits:

  Go into the visit knowing that the coach and athletic program are putting their best foot forward.  Do not allow yourself to be pressured into anything that feels uncomfortable.

  Take your recruiting notebook or just a spiral notebook and jot down impressions of the coaches, training staff, team members, housing and just anything about the school you would like to remember.  If you are making numerous official visits, it is easy to get confused when trying to remember as recruiting comes to a close.

  Eat at the cafeteria where you will be eating as a football player.  Sometimes it is the same one where all the students eat, but some programs have specific eating facilities for the football team.

  Inspect the dorms and off campus housing where you will be staying.  Decide if you will need transportation between the housing the campus and the practice fields.

Visit the library and the area where you will be studying.  Find out if the football program provides tutoring for its athletes.  If they do, it indicates that while football is important, academics are important too.

  Make time to meet the training staff. These people are essential to the overall success of the team.  If they seem contented and professional, you can be sure that the program has good management.

Visit a class in what you think your major might be. While academics may be the last thing on your mind on an exciting visit like this, sitting in on a class will give you a better idea of what to expect as far as academics go.

  Meet with one of the academic advisers. You should meet with an academic adviser during your campus visit to see if you will be able to complete your major and play football too.  Your education should be your first priority regardless of how exciting it might be to play football there.

  Hang out with the team members to see what campus life is really like.  Also meet athletes from some of the other teams besides football.  This will give you a better overall view of how athletes live and are treated on campus.

What To If You Have No Official Visits

If you aren’t receiving calls to come for official visits this month, don’t panic here are some actions for you to take:

  Call the coaches where you have had some recruiting interest and ask them if an official visit in January is being planned.  While this may not be your favorite thing to do, it will give you an opportunity to see where the coach stands.   Could be he just doesn’t bring athletes in until January.

  Greatly expand your search for colleges where you would be a fit academically and athletically.  If you’ve been trying to stay close to home, expand out of state and 3 to 4 states away if you have to.  Realistically evaluate your talent, you may need to lower your expectations a Division or even two.  Remember, the important thing is to get a college education and to get it paid for.

  Think about how the recruiting process works, what happens when coaches leave a program after the season ends?  New coaches are hustling to recruit the new class of players.  The football program is somewhat in disarray until the dust settles and this may be a good time for you to get in contact with these new coaches.  Committed recruits may change their minds and some  top athletes may have lost interest in signing since there has been a coaching change.

Contact these coaches and send everything you’ve got including your recruiting profile and highlight film.  You just may be the lucky athlete that benefits from a coaching change situation.

  Don’t Give Up! Due to the  holidays and the dead period, there won’t be much recruiting activity from Dec. 20th to early January.  This means that if you didn’t get calls from coaches in December, there may still be time to get calls in January.

Keep in mind that coaches may have  up to 5 or 6 recruits on their recruiting boards for the same position.  They are hoping to get their top choice, but this is not always possible.  They will go down the list until they get someone signed and this process takes time.  If you are near the bottom of the list, you may still be in the running, however, don’t sit around waiting for the call, get busy contacting other schools.


Division I-A Recruits And Bowl Practices

If you are a Division I-A BCS recruit, December affords you a terrific opportunity to attend the practices of the team where you are signing or where you think you may sign, or if you are being recruited by several top level programs, try to attend practice sessions from all of them.

These bowl practices can benefit you in a couple of ways:

   You can compare your skills and talents to the all the current players, but especially to the player at your position.  This will give you a good idea of how you stack up and what is expected of you.

   It will give you a great way  to assess the coaching style of your future position coach.  This actually could be the deciding factor in whether you sign with the school or not.

Add these tips to your Financial Aid Tips file.  Remember, there’s plenty of money out there that has to go to someone.  Let’s make sure that some of it goes to you.

Financial Aid Tips:

 If you have applied to any early decision schools, you will begin hearing from those schools this month.  When you decide which school you want to attend, you will need to notify that school by a letter of your commitment.  With your letter of commitment, submit any deposit check. NOTE: Many schools require this commitment notification letter to be postmarked by mid-January for early decision.

 You should be completing all college admittance applications this month.  Take time to fill them out carefully.  Make your essays set you apart from the crowd.  Be sure to have your essays read and double checked by at least two other people.

 Obtain all financial aid and college admission forms that may be required by your chosen colleges.

As a reminder, make sure that your official SAT and ACT test scores are being sent to the schools to which you are applying.

 Remember to schedule any required interviews with prospective colleges.

 Request a Federal Student Aid PIN.  Just do an online search for “Federal Student Aid PIN” and select “Apply for a PIN”.  You will need this PIN to electronically sign the FAFSA.

 Make a note on your calendar to obtain a FAFSA form.  These should be available next month.

 Continue filling out and sending in scholarship applications.  Many applications have spring deadlines.  Check back regularly if you have signed up for access to The Scholarship and Grant Guide to find even more awards during the spring and summer.  You should take time to update your profile each month to access new, customized award  lists.


How are your GRADES holding up?  Don’t let your grades slide.  It’s so easy to get distracted from your regular schoolwork when you’re trying to get everything together for your college applications.  “Senior Slump” can wreck havoc on your admissions chances.

 No resource is as helpful and irreplaceable as your high school counselor.  If you’re stuck or have questions about anything regarding your college applications or career choices, make an appointment and talk your concerns over with your guidance counselor.  There are no dumb questions where your counselor is concerned.  While they are in a great place to help you, there are actually very few student-athletes who take full advantage of their help.

 We’re here to help you reach your goal of playing your sport in college.  You are an athlete and your dream is to continue playing your sport after high school.  No doubt, it is very flattering for you and your parents that you are at the top of the athletic heap in your community, especially if it is driven by athletics.

However, name, if you can, any local kids now playing in the NFL, NHL or NBA.  We’re not in any way trying to discourage you from participation or from working hard to excel but do keep your athletics in perspective.

 Academic achievement must come first, since by overwhelming odds, this is the area which will most help you have a successful life.  Compare the time you spend practicing your sport to the number of hours you spend studying.  Just as it takes an enormous amount of time to achieve athletic success, it also takes comparable time to achieve academic success.

 Statistically speaking – you will more than likely be making your living doing something besides playing sports.

Things to do this month.

 Try to wrap up college applications for regular admissions before your Winter break.  Make copies of each application before you send it.

 Make sure that you have submitted all components of your applications if you are applying to colleges with November deadlines for early decision and preferred application.

 Contact the colleges and confirm that they have received all of your application materials.

Most Applications Will Request The Following Components:

  •   School Report – A letter of recommendation from your high school counselor.
  •   Transcript – An official transcript of your high school record to date.
  •   Mid-Year Report – Your counselor should complete this form.
  • Two Teacher Evaluations – These forms should be submitted by teachers who have instructed you in solid academic areas (English, Math, Language, Science or Social Studies).  Additional recommendations may be submitted if you wish.
  • SAT or ACT Scores – NOTE: Only official test reports from the appropriate testing agency will be accepted.  If submitting the ACT,  please also submit the ACT Writing TEST.
  • SAT Subject Test Scores – Same rules as the SAT or ACT.
  • Application Fee – Usually a processing fee to be submitted at the time of the application.

NOTE: This list does not list all the possible components for the different college applications.  Be sure to find out exactly what each college on your wish list requires.

 This is the last month that you can take the SAT.  If you have put if off, this is your last chance to take the test if you want to enroll for college next fall.

 Be sure to have your test scores sent to each one of the colleges on your list.  Also, have your scores sent to the NCAA eligibility center (use code 9999).

 Confirm that your letters of recommendation have been sent.

Happy holidays!

Do You Leave Your Self-Confidence to Chance?

Self-confidence is crucial to any football player and it is also the mark of all the truly great players.  It’s the internal, intangible characteristic of a champion that keeps him striving toward his goal no matter how many obstacles he has to overcome.

Self-confidence can give you the motivation to attempt and accomplish the impossible and it can give you the ability, focus and courage to overcome a stronger opponent even in the face of a seemingly sure defeat.

Conversely, those football players who consistently lack self-confidence will perform below their potential time after time.

Low Self-Confidence Makes You:

 The slippery slope of low self-confidence makes you question your abilities and doubt yourself.  You’re easily psyched out, your timing is off, you feel physically weak and less energetic and you’re easily intimidated by coaches, teammates, the fans and your opponents.

 Additionally, your worry about the possibility of failing and making mistakes breaks your focus on your immediate play.

 Many athletes feel confident only if they have made a few strong plays at the beginning of the game; however, if they start the game with errors they tend to lose their focus and fall apart.  This is leaving your self-confidence to chance.

Here are proven steps you can take to begin building a solid foundation of self-confidence:

1. Self-confidence comes from knowing that you’ve paid your physical dues.  If you’ve consistently worked hard in your training, then you’ve earned the right to feel confident. On the other hand, if you’ve been a slacker, you know it, and it will undermine your self-confidence.

2. Before the game, make it a habit to remind yourself that you’ve done everything in your power to physically prepare for the competition.  Do this before the game – the thick of the competition is not the time to try to calm your nerves.

3. Just focus on yourself and avoid comparing yourself to your teammates and the players on the other team.  Play your own game.  Realize that is really doesn’t matter if someone is bigger, stronger or faster than you.  As we’ve seen in countless competitions, the athlete that can keep his focus on the game at hand is usually the one who wins the game.

4. Stay focused on the aspects of the game that are within your control.  Avoid focusing on the weather, the officiating, your past mistakes, the field conditions and other things that are beyond your control.  Focusing on things that are directly out of your control drains your self-confidence.

5. Develop the ability to turn the negatives into positives.  For example, if it start to rain or snow, think how it is bothering the other team more than it is yours.  If your competition has a better record and is expected to win, think how much pressure is on them to win.

Make it a habit to think positively about yourself and your team.  A positive attitude will not only cause you to feel better about yourself, but it will raise your level of play.

6. Focus on the little things you do right in training and practice and during the game.  If you ran faster, pushed yourself to a new training limit, excelled in any way, write it down.  By keeping a running record of your small daily personal victories, you’ll gradually increase your self-confidence.

7. Be kind to yourself.  Mistakes and errors are how we learn.  If you hadn’t tried and failed countless times, you wouldn’t be the football player you are today.  Self-doubts come from dwelling on past mistakes.  Leave them where they belong, in the past.

NCAA Passes Sweeping Reforms

The NCAA is attempting to show the world that it really cares about academics and the futures of college athletes.  It has recently passed several meaningful measures to that end.

 To be eligible for college play, high school football players must have a 2.3 GPA in their 16 core courses.  This is up from 2.0.  JUCO athletes must have a GPA of 2.5.

 New rules allow schools to offer multi-year athletic scholarships.  This will be a big chip in the recruiting process.  Previously, schools were only allowed to handout scholarships one year at a time.  This left many athletes without a means of finishing their education if they were injured during the season.

 The different NCAA conferences may elect to allow adding $2,000 awards to the athletic scholarships.

 Previously,  the cutline for the academic progress rate was 900.  It has been raised to 930.  This means that now approximately 50% of the athletes playing on college athletic teams must graduate.  As this trickles down, it means that college football coaches will be even more careful about recruiting risky or questionable academic recruits.

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