A long long time ago I was recruited to the university of Iowa to play fullback for the Iowa Hawkeye football team from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I had no clue who the coaches were, where the school was, what Iowa was famous for, and the list goes on baby. Even with all of that going for me, I decided to play for coach Hayden Fry who had a legendary 20 year run as Iowa’s Head Hawk. When I say this happened back in 1994 most peoples jaws drop through the floor. They don’t understand how a kid from Canada could be recruited without tweets, grams, vines or hudls. Even then, resourceful coaches were working in the background collecting information from sources all across the world to find the next “Diaper Dandy” as Dick Vitale endearingly referred to great freshmen players.
Today, for Tyler Schamel a 5’10” wide receiver at 3A state runner up Norwalk high school in Norwalk, IA who has a profile on the web showing his picture, 4.65. 40 time and brainy GPA, the world is even smaller and the competition for the attention of coaches is even bigger. Think about the changes in just finding out about a school. In 94 there were no websites listing the coaching staff. There were no email addresses and the fastest way to send a message across the wire that was not a phone call was this old dusty technology called a FAX. In my chat with Tyler, he shared that he is smarter than your average high school kid. Why, because Tyler uses the same type of email marketing tools that big companies use to analyze the effectiveness of a message to buyers to assess the interest of a coaching staff. “I can see if they open the message and if I get a response”. He excitedly noted that it was not challenging to find the email of a coach by using the recruiting service. He said the recruiting services have really helped him reach out to coaches. So what role does that leave for your friendly neighbor hood high school coach.
When I asked if all of the services and film have diminished the role of the high school coach. Tyler laid it out there, “our coach is amazing and even more important today than ever!” He shared that, his coaching staff have supported his goal to continue playing football after high school. Tyler is primarily a D2 to D3 prospect so it’s not like he does not have to compete for the interest of coaches. His high school coaches help him and his teammates with visits, collecting assignments, and coaching him on how to connect with perspective schools. He couldn’t say enough about the support he has received from the staff. The big difference today, is that the film, if you want to watch it is online and available with a simple search for Tyler Schamel.
There is something to be said for having a strong team that believes and achieves. Norwalk is that school and Tyler is one of the keys to their success. There is nothing like winning to make people listen and Tyler found that out right away. “Before getting to the state championship game you have a few coaches that will talk to you. When we hit the championship game there were many other coaches contacting me and asking about my film”. The Warriors, like other teams to finish in the state finals, has a few kids that are being watched and offered by Power 5 conferences. What coaches know is that the talent on the team does just stop at those players. With any team to get to the finals they need horses in the stables that can catch 5 touchdowns. Coaches are always on the lookout for that kid that might have not had the biggest stats or all of the data from testing combines but show up on the big day in a big way.
Intangibles are factors like speed, strength, agility, height that although measurable beat out most other factors when looking to recruit a player. Talking to a recruiter from the Green Bay Packers last year made that absolutely clear. The intangibles for a player are the first things looked at. You can’t beat those with training. You can’t train 7 feet tall, stamina that doesn’t quit, leadership, or a fastball that is effortless. Whatever those traits are, the recruit must highlight their intangibles before anything else even your team or individual record.
At the end of the day some how years ago with no technology this world was huge and coaches still found me in the frozen tundra of Edmonton, Alberta. Today with some smarts and tools that are out there it is easier to communicate who you are to coaches, and recruiting coordinators. Tyler’s advice to all the juniors and sophomores out there that are getting started in their quest to continue playing the game that they love is “Get to camps where people can see you live, it makes a big difference”. Just remember that the opportunity you have is available to kids all around the world. The communication is easier now but the competition is a whole lot harder. Someone is working, don’t guess as to who it is, KNOW it is you.
Best of luck to 14 Tyler Schamel and thank you for taking the time to enlighten us.
Next in the series, I talk to several high school coaches about how their role has been adjusted in this ultra connected world. After that an interview with a good friend of mine who’s daughter just finished her senior season of volley ball and son is a top high school football prospect.
Hot Feet Make Plays so keep em hot and be a play maker.