Former pro football player tells athletes to get online to get recruited
October 19, 2010
BAMBERG, Germany — Earning a college athletic scholarship is a combination of being good on the playing field and being smart on the computer.
That was the message Derrick Mayes, a member of the 1996 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and a standout football player at Notre Dame, delivered at Bamberg High School recently while explaining to student-athletes and their parents how they can get noticed by colleges in the States even when they are an ocean away.
DODDS athletes don’t have the same exposure opportunities as their counterparts in the States, but that does not mean that “getting a quality education while playing the sport you love is not possible,” Mayes said during his seminar, “College Recruiting Simplified.”
Mayes, representing the National Collegiate Scouting Association, a commercial recruiting service, spoke at Bamberg midway through a three-day trip this month to various Department of Defense Dependents Schools high schools in Europe.
“Let’s face it, Bamberg, you guys right here don’t get that same exposure that you get in the States, do you?” asked Mayes. “It is not about working hard, it is about working smarter.”
Mayes told the athletes there were options available to get the needed exposure even if they were attending smaller schools overseas through the Internet, which “makes the landscape totally flat.”
Mayes said the first step in the NCSA process is to create a profile page, which he compared to a Facebook page for athletes. The program then provides an evaluation of the profile, and an analysis of the athletes’ described skills by a professional scout and coaches working with NCSA to let them know how realistic their chances are of getting a scholarship. There is no charge for establishing the page or the evaluation, he said.
“We have free memberships that include educational talks, recruiting analysis, recruiting profiles and inclusion into our college coach network,” said Tiffany Menzione a spokesperson for NCSA in Illinois. She said the organization is able to provide the service through partnerships with organizations such as ESPN, the National Football League’s Players Association and IMG Academies, a training and education program for coaches and athletes.
Those who qualify and desire extra services, such as video editing and analysis, coaching and college-matching assistance and tracking viewership, can arrange for it for a fee that would range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on what they need, she said.
But Mayes emphasized the first step is up to the athletes. “We can’t want it for our kids, they got to want it for themselves…” he said. “Wanting to be [at a university] is 60 percent of the challenge.”
Students and school officials at the Bamberg presentation were very responsive to Mayes message.
Senior Dante Gibson, a Bamberg High football player, was one of several students, from freshmen to seniors, who said they found the information useful. He said he planned on getting to work on his future now.
“I’m going to start being more aggressive with the recruiting process,” he said. “Start putting stuff online and getting my parents involved.”
Bamberg football coach Jim Davis said one teacher told him that Mayes’ messages of starting early to get into the right college could benefit all students, not just the athletes at the seminar. He said he would recommend the seminar to all schools.
“Like [Mayes] says, he is not saying anything new that parents, teachers and coaches already say, but hearing it from him sometimes sticks,” Davis said. “I have kids coming up to me to talk about college, kids that before this seminar might not have thought this early about their education.”
More information on NCSA is available at the organization’s website, www.ncsasports.org.
Recruiting tips, factsFrom Derrick Mayes’ seminar, “College Recruiting Simplified”
• The recruiting process started yesterday;
• Develop your game plan and get evaluated;
• Create a winning highlight/skills video;
• Post your academic and athletic resumes online;
• Recruiting starts with verified third-party information;
• Contact 50-100 (or more) realistic programs;
• Be realistic: Less than 1 percent get Division-I full rides.
• The top prospects can receive 50 offers by Jan. 1 of their junior year. Most major Division-I prospects will receive offers by the end of their junior year.
• An invitation for an official visit is a strong precursor to a scholarship offer. One rule of thumb in recruiting is that if an athlete is not offered an official visit, that athlete likely will not be offered a scholarship.