Junior Year: Bulking Up Your Highlight Tape

by Scott Britton

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

Junior Year. You’re more than halfway done with high school. As college becomes closer to a reality, there are two things that should be on the top of your list: academics and athletics...surprise, surprise.

If you haven’t taken the PSAT yet, make sure you sign up to take it in October. Focusing on your SATs (or ACTs) is definitely a must if you’re shooting for the Ivy Leagues. In my opinion, focusing on your class rank and GPA is just about as important as polishing your skills as a football player if you want to improve your chances of playing in the Ivy League.

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Junior Year. You’re more than halfway done with high school. As college becomes closer to a reality, there are two things that should be on the top of your list: academics and athletics...surprise, surprise.

If you haven’t taken the PSAT yet, make sure you sign up to take it in October. Focusing on your SATs (or ACTs) is definitely a must if you’re shooting for the Ivy Leagues. In my opinion, focusing on your class rank and GPA is just about as important as polishing your skills as a football player if you want to improve your chances of playing in the Ivy League.

In many cases, your class rank or GPA at the end of your junior year will be what coaches bring to the admissions offices. So it’s really important you do the best you can this year. Crunch time!

On the field, junior year is also the most important year to bulk up your resume. Your junior highlight tape will lay the foundation for your recruiting process. I’ll go into greater depth on the highlight tape later, but the best advice I can give is to make plays and when you do, make sure they’re on tape.

Once you’ve made your junior season tape, you need to make sure you get it in the hands of every coach you’d be potentially interested in playing for. In my personal experience, it was relatively easy for me to find the e-mail addresses, and work addresses of the coaches on the school’s website.

From there, I sent a package to each coach that included a highlight tape (or in your case, a highlight DVD) and a written profile with personal stats and academic information. Nowadays, I’ve heard many coaches prefer all of this via email with a YouTube link. Make sure to include the relevant information either way (especially academic information!).

It’s important to note that most D1 and D2 coaches don’t send recruiting materials until September 1st of your junior year. Don’t expect anything before that. Also, keep in mind that it may take some time for a coach to provide you feedback. They are bombarded by recruiting tapes and often won’t get to yours right away.

During the summer after junior year, it’s a good idea to attend college camps and combines just so that you can showcase some of your skills on the field. Coaches like getting a look at guys in person that they’ve watched on tape. Just make sure you’re in good shape when they see you.

Make sure you’re prepared to do basic tests like the 40 yard dash, short shuttle, the long jump, vertical jump and benchpress. Big universities and Ivy Leagues schools usually have camps and there are a ton of great combines out there. Many are invite-only such as Nike and Under Armor, but some combines anyone can attend.
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