We have written an awful lot on this topic of High School football turning into a year around sport. There are the obvious reasons why parents and kids do it. To man up and not ever miss an opportunity to get better or to be seen is prime among the reasons we hear given for dropping all other sports and pursuits. At this point kids can travel locally and nationally and compete every day and every week to be trained or compete in 7 on 7 events.
Quarterbacks are at the center of it all. But as the sport becomes year around the outcry from college coaches and others seems to be one of caution. We hear it time and again that what coaches want seems to be the very opposite of what athletes and their families are doing. In a couple of recent articles we have seen the call for high school QB’s and other positional athletes to play 2 or 3 sports and present themselves as “athletes” and not football specialists.
ESPN covered Lake Stevens phenom Jacob Eason, the #1 ranked QB in the Nation, for the the fact he does play 3 sports and does shut it down in the off season as far as the QB stuff goes. This does not mean athletes should not have a trainer to help them perfect a specific skill. No. But it does mean there is reason to be cautious and to not go all in all the time for one sport or one position.
Read Up on Eason at ESPN: College Coaches See Days Of QB Specialization Ending
Now as to 7 on 7.
It has become a National phenomena and we get it. It is fun, highly competitive, and expected. Having said that I will tell you that there is no correlation between being a good 7 on 7 athlete and being a college recruit. The guys who are great athletes in 7 on 7 are typically already being recruited. Then there are athletes who look great in 7 on 7 but when the pads go on disappear.
The reason in part is that the equipment used in football, especially the helmet, changes the vision and complexity of the game. Having someone coming down on you to clean your clock is another matter and reason why the correlation is so far apart. Also QB’s have no pressure and all day to throw sitting back there in 7 on 7 and it is just not a real simulation of what is happening on Friday Nights.
Is it worthless? No. It has benefits. But my God the amount of money that is spent by parents and sponsors sending the kids all over the country is growing to epic levels and to what end? Is football becoming a non-padded sport with no linemen? In that world one can say that it is and the proof is in the dollars and in the numbers. The sport (7 on 7) is growing into a category in and of itself.
Now as to college and High School coaches and 7 on 7 the chasm between them is growing. High School coaches will agree that it has benefits if they are running the events or if their teams are together working on passing and receiving skills and reads. But take the All Star and Elite teams that are the main stay of the sport into consideration and we see the negatives. Too often athletes on these elite teams seem to be treated as a privileged group and often seem to drift away from the team concept. Take a 15 to 18 year old kid and put him with elite athletes and sponsored shoes and clothes and problems will arise.
We also see athletes transfer from their home school to other schools for football and many feel this is a result of their affiliations in the off season. Injuries have been a real problem too and more then one top NW Talent has been injured in 7 on 7 to the point of effecting their high school years and college as well.
For College coaches like David Shaw at Stanford 7 on 7 will have no bearing at all on what he does from a recruiting standpoint.
He goes on to say he will never watch 7 on 7 film nor pay attention to what players are doing out there.
He is not alone. NWPR has several coaches on record saying these same things and echoing concerns about injuries and other off season influences brought on by 7 on 7.
So as the new week dawns and off season rolls along reconsider 7 on 7 and sports specialization. If you are a recruit understand you will be judged by the body of work you are doing in the classroom and in sports. One sport and one position may mean you are at a serious disadvantage. So compete in other sports and work different muscle groups as well as rest your football body. Coaches have so many athletes to pick from and your ability to stand out will be more on the variety of things you can do and not the one position your good at. This is applicable to QB’s and all positions equally in our view.
As to 7 on 7 please understand it is not worthless- no one here is saying that. But it will not get you to college. College coaches are not watching and if you really read the serious football analysts who cover football players you will find they are not watching or covering it either. Only film in pads and your test scores and 1 on 1 conversations with colleges can improve your chances.
Be smart guys and understand what your doing and you can all succeed. Just make sure your preparing for the real game.