byDirk Knudsen| Originally Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Editors Note: This is a re-run of a story we wrote last year and it hit home. Again this year we are tracking hundreds of recruits. They are all struggling in some way expect a few top recruits. So if your stressing and your Folks are scrambling Read This! It’s never too late- Take the Pressure off and think about your options.
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 favoriteCollegegains in the way of Human Capital.
The battle for Star Ratings and Top players will come to a head beginning at midnight in 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 yearcommitment by the athlete to not play football for anyone else and for the school an agreement to cover the costs oftuitionand otherallowable expenses for one year.
Not 4 years as most people think.
All the pressure, meetings, phone calls, texts, facebook posts, visits, and trips… all of it comes to an end on this night.
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 99.9% 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 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. There as they celebrated I and many recruits and families found themselves at the virtual crossroads of jubilation and happiness and yet sadness too.
For as I tweeted and posted and enjoyed running pictures, film and stories on those three the bottom of my screen was filled with calls and chats for help from the 99.9%. 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. 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 unlimitedpossibilities,” I said.”This is a just a day on the calender 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 99.9% 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”!
Get with Mom and Dad and your coaches. Get your best 3 minutes of film, get a good copy of a transcript, maybe get a copy ofcollegecoachesonline.netfor $29.95 giving you contact info for every coach in America, and maybe get to work!
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 now 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 somecoachingfriends. About 25 of them at various programs. So did John Charles who heads upAir 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 donotdespair. 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 fromreachingmy goals.”
No. No it won’t Khari.
As always our phones are always on and we stand ready to help by trying tohelpyou get your story told. Call Dirk at 503-799-8383.
Here is the Khari Hannah Clips we shot and his Video that we did with him this past weekend.
Editors Note 2013:
Khari Hannah was featured in our story on signing Day last season. He made it and you can too!
Khari Hannah is now at West Hills College in Coalinga, California where he played last season. He is working hard in school and producing on the field. He certainly has what it takes to move on after his JC school experience is over. He overcame many obstacles and is making it.
And you can Make it too!
Go for it Class of 2013. You got this!
Call our editor Dirk Knudsen at anytime at 503-799-8383
About the AuthorDirk Knudsen
Dirk is a lifelong resident of the Pacific NW; athlete and Merit scholar. He runs camps, clinics, and has been a sports writer and analyst for nearly a decade now; mostly with Rivals.com as the editor of OregonPreps and WashingtonPreps.com. Dirk is the founder of NWPR & BrainChampions.org; a charity for injured athletes suffering from Brain Trauma / Concussion. He is a father of three and married.
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