Like we have done in the past we are breaking down the game. Not the game of football but the recruiting game and we thought it was time to reconnect with some of the best Collegiate Coaches out there and hear first hand from them on issues relevant to collegiate recruitment. In the next few days we will bring you another series of stories on recruiting and we are calling it “5 On 5”. We are asking 5 college football Coaches the same 5 questions with the hope of pulling back the veil on how this game within the game works and what you athletes and parents can do to get from High School football to the collegiate ranks. This applies to full ride and partial scholarships as well as walk on and preferred walk on candidates.
Regardless of where you are at in the process or what level of football might be perfect for you we feel this is all applicable. So let’s get started.
Coach #1 – Jay Locey – Oregon State University – There is a lot I can say about this guy. But it would take a long time. The former Corvallis High Star graduated from OSU where he played and was an All Pac 12 and All Academic player and he went on to get his masters at U of O. He coached in High School and went on to Linfield University where he became one of the most influential Coaches in the history of small college football and was a National Championship Coach going 84-18 in 10 seasons. He is in his 8th season as a crucial part of the OSU Beavers success. Read More about Jay here.
Now on to the Questions
1: Coach the High School Season is over and most of the kids and parents are all nervous about where and if they are going to move on to play college ball. Is there anything a Senior can do to stand out or maybe get a late look from OSU or any Pac 12 school?
Jay was clear that his comments to my questions were general responses to his beliefs and not per se the position of OSU.
If a school like OSU is going to recruit a Senior by now, “we probably already know about them. It is a fair assessment to say it is probably to late for scholarships to be earned with a few exceptions.”
Coach also advises that kids and parents better have a “broad base and be thinking about all the levels from 1AA to Division 2 and Division 3 as well.” He did indicate that athletes who truly believe they have what it takes, and who have some third party input from a Coach or an analyst telling them that they are skilled enough, should make sure their film is into the football office and contact the school directly or through their website.
Coach Locey stated, “If a kid really wants to play for a school (like OSU) make that clear right up front. Let them know that. There might be a way to make it work but there are clearly no guarantees.”
Seniors at the highest level would be wise to consider a walk on. Locey says there are plenty of examples like big Mike Remmers who walked on after the season started his freshmen year and earned starting time and then scholarship and then made it to the NFL. “Anybody that is planning to walk on better believe he can be a starter and plan to work to become one. That is the guys we want; Viable true Division 1 players. Really not just anybody can walk on,” added the Coach saying the program truly has room for 110 or 115 players from starters to practice squad guys. The term Preferred Walk on really held no meaning to Coach Jay as he stated that when a school like OSU accepts and makes room for a walk on player they are all preferred in his view; all are top tier talent who can play the game, pass their classes, and be a values asset.
Question 2: Coach what can Juniors and Sophomores do right now that the season has ended to have the best chance to play for Oregon State or a school of that caliber?
Coach was clear, ” There is thing called HUDL (smiley face) . Everyone should have it or something like it. #1 we want that film. It needs to be submitted to the football staff in whatever way. Email or DVD or better yet by a High School Coach or a personal contact with the school.”
That film should not be 10 minutes. Three or Maybe 4 minutes. And all the best plays better be right up front. All film will be reviewed by Graduate Assistants and positional staff. The best film is brought to the attention of the positional coaches and recruiting staff and is the first crucial step in deciding who moves on to the next steps.
Other film of the athlete playing other sports is important. Coach indicated that he and most college coaches want to see the athlete in more then one sport. Film of the prospect wrestling or in basketball will make a big impression in terms of seeing athletic ability, movement, footwork, and explosiveness.
3: What can underclassmen do as we move through Winter, Spring, and Summer to get on your Radar?
“As I said try and play more then one sport. That is still really important to most of us coaches. Get the film and your transcripts and probably start thinking about taking that SAT or ACT so you have that to talk about as that Junior Year ends and Senior year gets going,” said Locey. “Do more then the average guy. Excel at all you do and COMPETE! Play Baseball and or Track and if Football is your first love that’s great to know. But Specialization is leading to issues of sports specific injury and other things. We want guys who are great athletes and well rounded!”
“As far as contacting schools be active. Email of course, submit your film, and if your struggling to get through you can share your film and your information with other coaches and influential people and look for that personal connection too. Someone like your Coach or a top analyst (like us) that might be connected to a Coach or a member of the staff at the college you want to play for can help make that introduction,” said Locey who warned that this stuff always takes a while but to stay after it.
Other factors sited by Coach in general again and not specific to Oregon State are getting down to Spring Practices at the College you like the most. For OSU Spring Practice will spread out over 4 or 5 weeks and will be 3 to 4 days a week in April; a total of 15 practices. It is something kids need to call ahead for and usually is wrapped into a Campus Visit as well which is all allowed by NCAA rules as the kids are evaluating their future home potentially.
As the Spring goes along and Summer comes there are Junior Days and Summer Camps at the colleges and Locey gave those events as a Hallmark of any major recruit getting elevated to a position of prominence and becoming a stand out recruit.
Coach Locey and I spoke about Joe Halahuni who in 2007 sprung up from tiny Orting High School in Washington to become a hot prospect after his film was released. Locey remembers himself and Head Coach Mike Riley being near the point of an offer after reviewing film but needing to see how he did live against tougher kids then he had played against in college. So Coach Locey had a chance to work big oe out at the OSU Summer Football camp live in pads and that sealed the deal.
“His Camp performances made the difference for us,” remembers the Coach.
Joe Halahuni struggled with grades but made it to OSU eventually and went on to be one of the best H-Backs the Beavers had in the recent past and flirted with the NFL.
“Balance the contacts your making and do not overdue it. Stay focused on education and success. Also remember that football in the end is a game and what your getting most out of the game in High School or College is life skills. Employers are going to see on your resume that your able to take on things and finish them and overcome incredible odds. “
4: Coach this is a hot button question maybe but what is your position on Recruiting Services and people acting as “Agents” for kids?
The issue was one Coach tip-toed around cautiously and we know that college coaches have relationships and contacts that they need to utilize to gain the edge on a big recruit.
“In my opinion it is nice to hear from credible sources what they think about the kid because they see them a lot sometimes and have good information. But their has to be Validity to what information is being put out and it is certainly not great to have someone pushing a kid too much,” said Locey.
His take was that many kids have no business hiring anyone because they #1 can not afford it and #2 need to very careful about not putting the limited financial resources they do have into someone elses hands when they really need to be focusing on the things he outlined above in Questions 1 through 3. All of which they can do for Free or low costs and little travel expense.
The bottom line was he is somewhat ok with these services, is concerned about who they are and what they are saying to kids and parents, and does not feel this should command very much money. Let’s face it we produce a bigger list then anyone and Rivals.com, Scout, 247 sports, MaxPreps, ESPN, and a host of other big National organizations make sure that no one is left behind that has the true talent to go all the way. And all of them are credible non-biased sources who do not charge a fee and can not be paid to put a kid on a list.
5: The last question is regarding Combines and what value he puts in them and their results?
Much like the recruiting service issue he was luke warm. He stated that he and the staff like to know what a kids 40 is if it is from a credible source. Knowing things like the standing broad jump, vertical, and anything that tests agility and movement are a help but not really high on the list of things needed to be recruited. Coach Locey mentioned just attending a local credible event like the SPARQ/Nike event that is free and ended by saying that was enough for him.
We can not thank Coach Jay Locey enough for spending time with us on the phone. In the past Decade we have met Coach many times and have always been a fan of his positions, demeanor towards kids and the game, and his dedication to helping OSU put out a quality product every year for the kids and fans to enjoy! That’s why he is a big part of Beaver Nation! The even cooler part is that he played at Corvallis High School, Coaches at Lakeridge and Corvallis, and went on to Linfield and OSU as well as being a student at the U of O! Now that is an Oregon Football Insider we are excited to talk to anytime we can!