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Sophomore Year – The “So Much to Do” Year

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I have said that the junior year for a high school football player desiring to play college football is really important, maybe the most important. But the sophomore year is important as the “get it together” year. Seems to be so much to do, not only before the season, but after the season.

If you are a sophomore, think about the following questions to get an idea of just where you are as far as playing field.

  1. Did you start or play important times on the varsity?
  2. Did you get called up to play on the sophomore or junior varsity, if you did not get serious varsity playing time?
  3. Will you be a projected starter on the varsity as a sophomore?

I really believe a sophomore wanting to play college football should be able answer “yes” to these questions, if he is thinking about playing on the college level. To me, on any college level. Of course, there are exceptions.

An unusual situation, but an interesting one. According to one social recruiting media site, St Xavier’s offensive tackle is the top offensive lineman recruit in the 2020 Class. I believe nationally. He played the first part of the season on the junior varsity. He did get more varsity time in the back half of the schedule.

July 10. Time to think like a varsity senior and work hard. For most high schools  the unofficial football season has begun. No more – “just a sophomore.” I use that phrase sometimes, when talking with college coaches, but a sophomore has to grow up fast. Sophomores will make mistakes, but you can not be “just a sophomore.”

Be sure that your grades are solid coming out of your freshman year. Be sure that you are taking the proper classes and are on the NCAA required track. Understand core classes, GPA, and the ACT/SAT tests. Sometime later in your sophomore year, understand the NCAA sliding scale.

Probably not good advice from me, BUT I tell 9th and 10th graders to study like crazy their first two years. Get the GPA up there! Make the commitment to the books and get into good study habits. Then going into the 11th grade, getting the GPA, or maintaining it, is a lot less stressful. Going into your senior year, you will not be so stressed. Qualifying will not be as difficult or stressful.

Be careful with the social media. Don’t be “stupid,”for a lack of a better word. Every college football program has someone who reads all social media comments that a recruit posts. At many colleges that is all that a support staff member does. Keep in mind that that just one bad incident, or inappropriate social media post could damage your chances for a scholarship.

Sometime early in your sophomore year, become familiar with many of the NCAA rules. Be sure to have the resource available to look up rules and terminology. Along with academic rules, become familiar with terms like contact period, quiet period, dead period, and evaluation period. Because you get invited to a game, know what an unofficial visit is, as opposed to an official visit. Not necessary in July and August, but will be after the season is over.

As a 10th grader, be sure to make your guidance counselor aware of your desire to play college football. Talk with you building principal. The counselor can keep you aware 0f your academic status. Maybe the counselor can help with ACT/SAT preparation. Definitely the PSAT. The principal — about being a good citizen.

I really believe that your head football coach needs to be aware of every move that you make – beginning NOW. He is a huge part of the recruiting process. If this is totally not possible, get an assistant football coach involved with your process. College coaches and support staff sometimes raise a red flag, if the parents are the lead team.

It is just me and for what it means, I make a communication with the head coach on 85% of the players that I write about. Especially the ones or names that I am not familiar with. I contact his high school coach. Of course, I know many of the coaches which makes it easier and more factual information.

I want the coach to know — 1. That I am interested in the true character and football ability in the coach’s eye. 2. that I do not over rate or under rate the player’s abilities. 3. that I am evaluating the player.

Actually, after the first scrimmage it is not too early to start putting together a HUDL Hi-lites video. Don’t worry or get stressed about “how to do it.” Just start putting together some of your best plays. No need to rush. I am sure help is available.

I have mixed emotions about getting your name out there as a sophomore. I believe that it is a coach’s responsibility to do that – especially as a sophomore. I question just how seriously a college staff takes your emails or texts, or calls, if you or your parents initiate everything.

Talking with one football recruiting coordinator: He gets calls all of the time. Of course, he can not initiate contact until September 1 of the recruit’s junior year. He does not get many from a sophomore. Believes that may be too early. Also he looks at HUDL video before he does anything. His advice – Run everything by the player’s head football coach. Get to a home game as a sophomore.

Recruiting services make a living promoting high school football players who are interested in playing college football. All sorts of ways to do it. Good friends of mine charge players a fee to be evaluated. Another friend exposes a recruit to the recruiting process and helps him gets the exposure. For a fee.

There are just so many services out there. Be careful of recruiting services. Do your homework. Most cost a high fee. Most start with freshmen and sophomores to build a relationship. The evaluators are more for juniors and some sophomores.

I guess that they help get your name out there and on the “radar,” but I have always been cautious of internet football recruiting reporters. They just ask too many questions and do not do a good job of evaluating players for the next level. Most reporters work with D1 prospects, especially if a sophomore is getting recruited by the Power Five schools. Be cautious of what you say. Don’t take their rankings serious. But, it is a way to get your name out there.

Bottom line. If you are a sophomore and going to get playing time, work your behind off. In the classroom and on the practice field. Be a good character. Most of all, play your hardest in games. Video does not lie. You need good video for the college coaches. Begin from day one and by season’s end, be playing your best football. Hi-lites video will be your start.

Last advice from McCallister. Do not compare yourself with other players who are being recruited. Do not compare yourself with players who are getting more publicity. Do not compare yourself with players who are receiving more local recognition. Do not compare yourself with other members of your team. Do not compare yourself with players that media recruiting reporters who cover Ohio State recruiting are writing about.

Compare yourself to yourself. How hard are you working? How are your grades? How much are your helping your team and individual teammates? How can you get better? How is your competitive maturity?

The best to you on your sophomore year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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