Some “Do’s and Don’t’s” regarding Combine/Camp season…

Here’s an article KPGFootball should have published a few weeks ago; however, it really is never too late. For many of you out there working toward getting offered, this evaluation period is very important to your college playing career and where it is most likely to be spent. We have been covering the camp/combine circuit for years now and wish to give you some of our insight. You determine how valuable you believe it to be and follow the advice should you choose.

Do attend camps a school’s football staff has expressly invited you to attend. We have heard football parents exclaim, Hell no! We’re not coming to your camp! If you want to offer my boy, offer him! Seriously, where do you guys get off thinking your too good to camp?

Look, there is nothing wrong with showing up and giving the staff attempting to evaluate you visual proof you’re everything their initial evaluation led them to believe. Coaches want to see players who will compete as much as what you clock on some physical task. Work for your dinner! Prove to them you belong on the roster! Don’t ever be afraid to demonstrate your ability especially when called upon by someone willing to pay you (tuition, books, board) for you to employ that ability on their behalf.

Do understand the difference between an instructional camp and a prospect camp. An instructional camp is one generally put on by a band of former college and/or NFL players where there are no colleges in attendance which give players opportunities to work on the craft of football to get better. These are very important to a young player’s development. There won’t be any colleges attending these camps unless they have some staff members invited to assist in the instruction.

Prospect camp is for college staffs to evaluate the skills and traits you already have to determine whether you are a fit for their program. That fit is more than a physical fit, it is a total fit. While there is individual technique instruction at a prospect camp, and honing the craft of playing the game can be achieved there, what the programs are looking for are players who have a great deal of skill refinement already which they can make better. They are there to find players to fit their schemes, period.

Do look the staffs recruiting you in the back of the eye and give them a firm, I am serious business, hand-shake. KPGFootball talks to coaches out on the road recruiting every day. You would not believe how many times these coaches make specific comment about a prospect’s looking them in the eye and firmly shaking their hands.

It really comes down to being assertive and an alpha-male. You are embarking on a sport which caters to alpha-males, perhaps, more than any other in the athletic world. It is coached by them, it is played by them. Be one of them.

Do have a firm knowledge of things like your GPA, Class-rank, standardized test score, and academic interests at the next level. College staffs would like to have a roster full of players whose remaining eligible, once reaching college, isn’t a source of constant worry. Work hard in school and use that hard work as a selling point for why you should play wherever you are camping.

Do camp at various levels of competition. What we mean by this is don’t just confine your camp attendance to the level of football you believe you should play. Some of the best football instruction in the industry can be had at D-II, D-III, or NAIA.

Besides that, we know you believe you are D-I, FBS-Power 5 but what if you’re wrong? Are you going to throw away an opportunity to get a quality education largely paid for because you made a poor self-evaluation?

You should also be aware coaches from off those levels of play get hired on D-I staffs. It happens ALL THE TIME. Even the coaches who remain, long-term, lower level of college ball are guys who played D-I football, in most cases, and have friends and former teammates coaching at “Big-time” schools right now.

These coaches really care about you and your journey. If they honestly believe your are too good to play at their level, they will pick up the phone and call their old teammate and say, Hey, we just had a guy camp here y’all need to see. That, too, happens all the time.

DON’T ever disrespect a level of college football or, particularly a member of that school’s football staff who is recruiting you but you believe not worthy of your attention. For this particular one, we wish to site two anecdotes to you.

First, we were at a combine put on by a conference of high school coaches for the purpose of highlighting its players to next level scouts. There were NAIA, D-III, D-II, and FCS, D-I scouts all in attendance.

KPGFootball was standing with a FCS college scout from a very highly thought of FCS-level program who was telling us they were about to offer a certain corner. The target-corner was at the combine and the school was asking KPGFootball’s impression of the player.

Just so happens, the guy we were discussing was talking crap with another prospect who had just been offered within ear-shot of where we were standing. The target-corner said words to the effect of if the school which wanted to talk with him wasn’t a Power-5, FBS school, they were wasting their time. We have cleaned up his terminology employed to communicate this significantly.

The coach looked at me and said, Hell will freeze over before I offer that kid. Before he plays at my school, they will have to fire me. The kid we are referencing is walking-on. It’s preferred, but it’s walking-on, nevertheless.

In the second case, a kid who is a 2020 got on a social media platform and burned a letter-invite to camp at a D-II school which is one of the best programs at that level in the Country. His reason was along the lines of he was D-I all the way and D-II need not apply for his talents.

We went shortly after that episode to Kentucky Wesleyan’s prospect camp. KWC is a D-II school which is killing the recruiting trail right now. May have been the most talent laden camp we have attended this summer, to this point, and we have been to both FCS and FBS camps.

This particular social media episode was the talk of the event and the talk was not positive. KPGFootball really hopes this kid overcomes this video. It has been taken down, but lives on in many memories.

Don’t dog it through the dynamic stretching period, the agilities, or the individual drills. Look guys, we see you at camp milling about in the back, going low-energy through the parts of camp you don’t believe to be important. Everyone assumes the only important parts of camp are the combine testing and the one on ones. Guess what? You couldn’t be more in error.

College coaches evaluate everything you do at a prospect camp from your hand-shake, to your vibe, to how you stretch, to your agility, to how you compete, to how you take to coaching, even to how well or poorly your body language indicates you take a butt-chewing. KPGFootball has seen coaches at prospect camps really appear to lose their cool with a prospect for reasons which appear greatly exaggerated just to see what kind of body language they get in response.

Don’t bad mouth your parents or your present coaching staff at a prospect camp. There’s an old saying which goes…If he will bad-mouth someone to you, he will also bad-mouth you to someone. If you are talking derisively about the authority figures in your life presently, what do you believe that tells the staff you will be doing in the future when it’s an on-campus visit week-end and you’re hosting targets? Don’t do it.

Okay, guys this list is far from exhaustive but it is a start. Remember, their is fantastic football played by fantastic football players at all levels of college competition.

A very minuscule number of high school players will ever play a single snap of college football at any level. It is a very selective and prestigious fraternity you have an opportunity of joining. For God’s sake, don’t lose the race before you get out of the starter’s gate.

This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!

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