Freshman Year: Laying the Groundwork

by Scott Britton

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Ivy League Football Recruiting.

Chapter Highlights:
  • The Four Year Plan to the Ivy League
  • Start Early, Study Hard, and Focus on your Sport
  • The Importance of Studying Film to refine your technique
  • How relationships with your high school coaches can help you in the future
It never hurts to plan early and to plan well. Four years may seem like a long time for a high school freshman, but if your sights are set on the Ivy League, you need to develop your game plan early.

What I hope to impart is that there are things you can be doing each year to improve your chances of playing at an Ivy League institution. Although during your freshman and sophomore year it may seem like you’re preparing for a distant future, it’s a great time to start laying the groundwork for a successful academic and athletic future.

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Chapter Highlights:
  • The Four Year Plan to the Ivy League
  • Start Early, Study Hard, and Focus on your Sport
  • The Importance of Studying Film to refine your technique
  • How relationships with your high school coaches can help you in the future
It never hurts to plan early and to plan well. Four years may seem like a long time for a high school freshman, but if your sights are set on the Ivy League, you need to develop your game plan early.

What I hope to impart is that there are things you can be doing each year to improve your chances of playing at an Ivy League institution. Although during your freshman and sophomore year it may seem like you’re preparing for a distant future, it’s a great time to start laying the groundwork for a successful academic and athletic future.

The early days of high school can be a daunting experience. This can be especially true in terms of balancing academic, athletic, and extracurricular commitments. It’s important that you manage expectations and focus on doing the best you can.

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get a lot of playing time on your varsity football team. I didn’t and spent the entire season on the 9th grade team. Just focus on doing your best in the classroom and on the field.

Pick the Right Classes: Work Hard and Play Hard



Regardless if you’re an athlete or not, the classes you take and grades you receive are important for getting into an Ivy League University, even early on in high school. Depending on what system your school follows, GPA and Class Ranking are key determinants for admissions offices. Bottom line: the better your grades are and the more challenging your coursework is, the higher your chances are of getting into your dream school.

Jeff Ward, the Bowdoin College Director of Athletics, has some good advice: “When you’re picking classes, do it thoughtfully. You should make sure that your class selection is challenging without being overwhelming. If you take five AP classes and get C’s in all of them, that’s not going to help. The flip side is being mindful of what the NCAA requirements are for the core curriculum for your classes.”

Ward is talking about the academic eligibility requirements that you must fulfill if want to play Division I or II sports. The NCAA requires that you complete 16 core classes in order to be eligible to participate in D1 athletics (14 for D2) or receive an athletic scholarship during your first college year.

You need to know that the Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships, but schools are often able to offer equivalent financial-aid packages on an as-needed basis. This varies case to case depending upon your household income.

More information can be found here: http://rise.espn.go.com/all-sports/articles/Recruiting/gameplan-freshman-recruiting-guide.aspx
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