Recruiting landscape in football has changed – a lot

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

If I wrote about everything that needed to be said to today’s readers, recruits and parents about the Recruiting World in 2022, it would take a book, so we’ll just hit the surface today.

I want parents to know how to handle the recruiting process, educate them on how it really works behind the scenes.

As the son of a coach, I started following recruiting in 1986 as a teenager.

In 1990 I started making highlight tapes for recruits all over Louisiana, and by 1996, I had to make it a business because too many players wanted free highlight tapes. I sent tapes for recruits to colleges all around the country.

Wow, I have seen it change so much in 30 years.

When I started, I was sending out VHS tapes (just to let you know how long I’ve been in the business), and then DVDs, then MINI DVs, and now videos in emails.

If I can give one big-time piece of advice to a parent going through the recruiting process, it would be that the two most important things still exist: have the GPA and ACT for your college of choice, and have good film in full pads.

Colleges back in the day and today like social media and highlight tapes, but once they like what they see, they will request usually two or three full-game tapes to see the player’s strengths and weaknesses.

Usually this is what the bigger schools like Alabama, LSU and Florida will do.

Smaller schools might offer from a play they see on social media or a two-minute highlight tape.

When I got in the business, offers were made later and some right before signing day in February.

Today kids are offered as early as their eighth-grade year, which I think is way too early to offer a player, but it does happen. I think five years out is a long time to keep a commitment on both sides.

I get asked all the time, “How many camps do I need my son to go to?” I always say if your son is FCS-level, then go to FCS schools for camp, and if he’s FBS-level, go to FBS camps. Make smart use of your time because if you don’t have a polished resume, then colleges will go to the transfer portal now to take an older, more polished player.

If you just want to send him to a big school camp for the experience, to say he went, go ahead if it’s your boy’s dream to be there. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I am not a big fan of the transfer portal because it takes scholarships from high school kids. For every Joe Burrow or Baker Mayfield in the transfer portal, there are many that are not as advanced; I’d like to see colleges investing in a 4- or 5-year guy out of high school.

Also, try to visit some colleges your son likes during the college football season. Go as a family and check out the campus; go to a home football game to see if you like it. That way if you’re offered, you’ll have an idea whether or not it’s a good fit.

Colleges have tickets allotted for this, available to families and recruits for home games. Obviously if it’s an LSU or another program that fills the stadium, get your request in early.

Also don’t get down or upset if your son doesn’t have an offer before the summer before his senior season.

Coaches are offering high school players later and later because they have the portal and also they need to see who is coming back to their roster once the previous season is over. They need to see who and what position they can take, and often they won’t know as late as after spring practice the following season. The new May 1 deadline to enter the transfer portal helps everybody.

Every college has a “war room” for recruiting with a board filled with hundreds of names of recruits they like, and it changes on a daily basis. The key is to get on the board and don’t worry about where your son stands on it.

Colleges call me all the time with the same questions — What are his grades? What’s his work ethic? Is he polished? Can he play for us?

Best advice I have for a parent and recruit is to work quietly, work on your game, be a leader, and always work on your grades. Take the ACT test as many times as you can to get the best score. Treat every college with the same respect, and never ignore an offer. Always thank these schools.

I will close with this. I see more kids getting offered a month after signing day more than ever before. When you send a highlight film, make sure it’s really the best of that player, and it is sent no later than March before his senior year to get him in the mix before he gets lost in the shuffle.

I’ve seen Division I schools put a kid on their board, never tell anyone, and offer a full scholarship one month after signing day — or even longer.

Never give up. If you want your son to play college ball, it will work out with a program somewhere that will give him a chance. Let your high school coach know your son has interest in playing because of his love for the sport. Coach probably knows – but he needs to hear that so he won’t fail to promote your favorite football player.

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