There is one thing that I have always been adamant about when talking about the football recruiting process. That is dealing with football recruiting combines. These combines are held throughout the country and give athletes a chance to compete with some of the best athletes in your area. There are some that are great and others that are not.
So with the combine season just around the corner, it is time to talk once again about these events. There are some that you should take the time to go to and others that I would try to avoid like the plague. The difference, in my opinion, involves around the money that is being charged.
I feel strongly that there is no reason you should be paying more than $25 to attend a combine anywhere in the country. Because of NCAA rule changes in the last few years, college coaches cannot attend these combines. What that means is all the colleges may (let me stress may) get is a sheet of paper that talks about the performance of the athletes and their testing numbers. I feel that like recruiting lists that are sent by recruiting agencies, these college coaches don’t have the time to deal with it and will likely throw it away.
So why I am so against the combines that charge money? It is because the only reason that these combines are run is to put cash into the pocket of the people holding them. Chances are very, very, very slim that paying a $100 and excelling will help you in the recruiting process. I spoke with a parent recently who said she had her son attend one in his area (he ended up signing at the Division I-AA level, FCS). Her son dominated the camp and received no more recruiting interest than he had before the event. In the end, it still cost them a good chunk of money as well as travel expenses.
I spoke with someone who ran a big camp in their state and they send out postcard invites to athletes. How they get the names of these athletes is something to think about before signing up for them. The person who runs the camp hires high schoolers to scan sites like MaxPreps with roster and pulls the names of everyone who is on the varsity roster of each high school in the State that is a junior or lower. Let me stress that to you again. Every single player who is on the roster of a high school team receives an invite. They are smart enough to make them look personal but they are not.
The combines that I do support are the ones that are either free or very low in cost and are close to your area. If college coaches could attend these spring combines, I would have a difference stance on the situation. But because that is no longer legal, cost is a factor as well as location of the combine. You will not be helping yourself all that much in the recruiting process if you drive five hours each way to attend a free combine.
The two combines that are free and worth looking into are the Nike Camps and the camps run by Rivals.com. These are your two best free options. You can search online for more information about both but if there is one in your area, you should try and figure out how to get invited. This would be a great way to showcase your skills, learn new technique, and deal with new coaches for a very low cost with minimal travel.
Again, if a combine sends you an invite, they don’t think you are a top player in your area. The only reason they are sending you that information is that they know they may be able to make money off of you down the road. It is the exact same situation as getting a camp invite from a college coach but at least you would be getting college coaching there. Put the camp invite and the combine invite that charges big bucks in the same place; the trash.