Editor Note- Flash Back a Year Ago and we posted this- we post this every year and this season I wanted to post it ahead of time. Signing Period is coming the first week of February. Most of our very best kids and College Football hopefuls will in fact not sign. Those special kids, the Top Prospects, who all of us Media types herald a lot will in fact lock down a college. But they are a small percentage. So many of you will still have a shot and in some ways your lucky. Because when the reality sets in your still looking.. in that moment.. you will be freed up to really look hard.
In this story below we were at the Air One Football Camp- 3 years ago right at this time of year. This is a story about why you want to be out there working – understand NLI Day is the start of the Signing Period for 2017. You have until April 1 to sign. The NWStarsCamp Feb 18th in Seattle will be the best shot for all you still looking.
Here is that story. The message? If Your looking keep doing it. Nothing changes if you do not sign. Your still a prospect so act like one and get after it!
The biggest day of the year is here for football players. Years of hard work and giving up their time, their body and their health comes down to this. In the public perception National Letter of Intent Day is more about what their favorite College gains in the way of Human Capital.
The battle for Star Ratings and Top players will come to a head beginning at midnight before signing day. That is when the premier players across the Nation will begin to send in their binding National Letters of Intent.
Contractually they will bind them selves to their new school and the courtship will become a union. At least for a year.
Most think this is a 4 year deal. It is not. It is a One year commitment by the athlete to not play football for anyone else and for the school an agreement to cover the costs of some or all tuition and other allowable expenses for one year. Not 4 years as most people think.
All the pressure, meetings, phone calls, texts, Facebook posts, Tweets, visits, and trips… all of it comes to an end at midnight.
This time of year is great in one way because we do celebrate our best as they move on. But the sad facts are that 98.4% of all the kids who gave all they had will be left out on this party. Only a lucky few will make it through and cash in on what is perhaps America’s biggest game.
As I watched Super Recruits Zach Banner (Lakes HS), Joshua Garnett (Puyallup HS), and Cedric Dozier (Lakes HS), all hold major press events and announce their decisions I was both happy and sad. At the virtual crossroads of jubilation and happiness and yet sadness too.
For as I tweeted and posted and enjoyed posting up pictures, film and stories on those three the bottom of my screen was filled with calls and chats for help from the 98.4%. The guys who worked just as hard but who have not been able to break through.
And in that space you can feel the agony and despair and the regrets too. It is not easy to prop up a kid who was an All League and an All State player when the moment comes that the phone has stopped ringing. The moment when they have a private thought or two where they know they were not quite good enough.
Maybe even the moment of pity and or even rage as they watch the informational stream of celebratory accolades and well wishes being hailed down upon the elite few. And for many these elite few are guys they bested on the field in more then one game.
That only makes it harder.
Life is not always fair and it is not always about who works the hardest; even if it should be.
But hope springs eternal as they say and for those that truly love the game they move ahead. They ask questions, make phone calls, and work harder.
“What should I do? I don’t have anyone to sign with,” one top recruit asked me last night.
The answer was simple.
“Don’t sign. Keep working and look at the good side of this,” I replied.
“Good side,” he queried back.
“Yes! Your not bound to anyone and yet your available to everyone. Your a free agent, ready to play, and able to work to find a home. You have unlimited possibilities,” I said. ”This is a just a day on the calendar for a lucky few. Your not one of them.”
A moment or two of silence follows.
Then he says, “You mean I can still sign later on?”
“Sure if you want to. Happens all the time,” I replied as the pressure left his face.
“Really? Man I better get back to work and hit the phones. And I will look at anyone who will give me a shot. I just want the chance to show what I can do,” he concluded.
“That’s the right attitude. You will find a home if you want to. But it won’t be easy,” I said.
“Thank you so much. I feel a lot better!”
Now the truth is the big D-1 schools are pretty much done. But it happens that we will get calls all the way through June. Last Summer Washington State called looking for three guys who were top talent who had not signed with anyone. They had three top recruits who did not make it due to grades. So you can bet that was a busy day for us.
Now for you 98.4% guys listen.
The sky did not fall right? You are probably bigger, faster, stronger, and more healthy then you were during the season.
Are you telling me you went through 5 -10 years of taking a beating on the field just to give up off the field because of a small little road block? Man if that is the case you probably better hang them up! Your done for sure.
But for many of you ready to plunge ahead we say “Regroup”!
Work the phones, return calls to schools who liked you before signing day came, and be proactive. Look into walking on to a school? Did you finish your FAFSA? Maybe you can get enough financial aide and no or low interest loans to make your collegiate dreams come true. You can follow several paths to get their but the point is you can get there!
In one example I met Khari Hannah last Sunday at the Air One Football Academy. I remembered Hannah from a couple years back. A tremendous athlete back then he shared his vision and dream of breaking League and State rushing records. That never happened and he has limited options. At least right now he does. But the 5’11″, 198 Pound pure athlete was there on a Sunday working and getting better. Looking for a chance.
Since we met we produced a 1:15 second Video and sent it to some coaching friends. About 25 of them at various programs. So did John Charles who heads up Air One Football.
“He is typical of the kids I see getting overlooked. That does not mean the guys signing tomorrow are better players by any means,” said Charles who himself went the JC route to Foothill JC before going on the Portland State where he was a First Team All American QB. “Looking at that film you shot I can not imagine he will not find a home if he keeps trying.”
So if your feeling a little down as a player or as a Mom or Dad do not despair. There is hope. And your going to be able to find a home if you really want to and have a good story to tell. But like Khari you have to get after it.
“I am not signing with anyone this week,” said Hannah. ”So what? That will not stop me from reaching my goals.”
No. No it won’t Khari.
As always our phones are always on and we stand ready to help by trying to help you get your story told.