The summer may seem like something in the far off distance but for junior and sophomore athletes out there ready this, the rest of the winter and the spring will fly by. Before you know it, the summer season will be upon you. So with that in mind, it may be important to at least have a strategy for your summer football camp schedule.
The single most important role when signing up for a football camp is by NOT picking a camp based on one camp invite that you received from the school. Let me stress this again (and I should just repeat this about twenty more times). If you are a junior and the only “recruiting” that a college does is send you a camp invite, do not go. They are not interested in you as a player. They are interested in you to make money during the summer months. These coaches can really improve their income by bringing in as many athletes as they can. So with money on the line, they are going to mass invite athletes from all over their area.
All schools send out these camps invites to pad their camp numbers as well as their wallets. These invites are being sent out while you read this and football recruits across the country may really think that this program is interested in them. Again, if you have received little to nothing else from the school outside of a camp invite, save your money (or the cash of your parents) because this is a waste of time. There is one school in the Midwest known for sending out camp invites to anyone. My guess is that if they know you started on the football team, you are good enough for a camp invite. Keep that in mind before getting excited and quickly signing up.
If you are a sophomore, then picking camps are much different. Until the first day of your junior year of school, all college coaches can send you is questionnaires and camp invites. The problem is because it is so early, it is really tough to tell if the school sending the camp invite is really interested. That is why I would not take these camp invites all that serious, even this early in the football recruiting process.
As a sophomore, you should dictate what schools you decide to attend camps at. Yes, it would be great to get a scholarship while at the camp but the odds are very slim so don’t count on it. Go in thinking that the reason you are going to the camps are to get better as a player and hopefully show the coaches enough that they will evaluate you later on in the recruiting process.
For picking camps as a sophomore, I honestly wouldn’t do all that many. Just pick somewhere between two and four that you feel can help you. You may decide that you want to go to two in-state schools and another dream program that you have followed for years. Again, getting yourself exposed to different coaches should help you become a better football player if you listen and work hard.
Signing up for a summer football camp as a junior is completely different. Because college coaches can send you all the mail that they want and eventually call you in May, I would strongly advise to not sign up until May. I would say in 98% of the situations that unless a school calls you in the month of May, then they are not going to offer you a scholarship while at the camp (there are exceptions but I am stressing that the mass majority do not come out of nowhere for a scholarship offer. The athlete is at least someone they know to watch coming in). So the question is why pay a school hundreds of dollars when the reason you are going is to be recruited and they are not going to take you all that serious as a potential player at their level?
As a junior, your goal for camps is to get evaluated and either get a scholarship or show enough ability that they will be looking at you down the road. With this in my, there is no reason why you should have to attend more than one day at the camp. I have talked about this before but when speaking with the coaches that call in May, ask them about how you can attend one day at camp and what the process is to sign up for that.
The reason to only attend one day of the camp is simple. First, it saves you a great deal of money. That is going to be a huge benefit in the long term scheme of things. The second is that as a college coach, they have the ability to evaluate an athlete very quickly. If they know you can’t play, why stay there hoping to impress them? You are not suddenly going to turn into Tim Tebow from the second to third night.
Anyways, going back to the original question, signing up for camps does differ. As a sophomore, pick a few camps that you are interested and go to those. As a junior, find out what schools are really interested in you (and that means by calling you in May, which is more than a college coach visiting your high school) and then talk to them about attending one day at their camp. Then it will save you money and give you more flexibility to get to different camps around your area.