John Adams: Football camps are no game for college prospects

If you're a high school football senior hopeful of a college scholarship, mid-July is halftime.

Football season is more than a month away. But summer football camps have come and gone.

You can't ignore the rise to prominence of summer camps in the evaluation process. They are as obvious as all the scholarship offers that often follow posthaste.

There is football life after a bad camp, though.

"We've all made mistakes by getting too excited about a guy at camp and also getting too down on them," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Friday.

"Amen to the latter," most high school football coaches would say. So would Farragut High School's Jonathan King.

King was one of the local players who joined area coaches at Three Ridges Golf Course on Friday for the Knoxville Football Officials Association high school media day. He candidly assessed his less-than-dazzling performance at UT's summer camp.

"I just didn't perform at a level a school like UT is looking for," said King, who, on most days, excels as both a placekicker and punter. "That's why I was disappointed."

He rarely has disappointed on Friday nights, which might explain why he feels so relaxed in a game environment. Camps are drastically different.

"There are guys who are great at drills," Hardin Valley coach Wes Jones said. "They can train for drills. They can do all that stuff (at camp).

"But the biggest indicator of what a player can do is the game on Friday night."

Catholic High School coach Scott Meadows remembers a player whom he described as "a great camp quarterback."

"He got some scholarship offers (out of his camp performances), but I didn't see it — because I saw what he did in a game," Meadows said. "If I were a college coach, I would want to evaluate them in camp, but I would want to see game film."

Meadows doesn't confuse game tape with highlight videos, pointing out that "anybody can look good in a highlight package."

Just to make sure he doesn't mislead anyone, Meadows doesn't send out

only highlight packages of his players to colleges. He also includes full game tapes.

Jones said he might send out highlight tapes to generate interest in a player. If that gets a college program's attention, he follows up with more telling tape.

"If I'm evaluating kids, I want to see what they do in the fourth quarter when the play is away from them," Jones said. "I don't want to see what happens on a highlight tape."

Dooley appreciates the total picture, which begins to take focus with the accurate measurements — height, weight and speed — that a summer camp can provide.

"It also helps you determine a guy's makeup," Dooley said. "How does he handle tough coaching? What's his work ethic like? You can see that when you train a guy."

But you can see it even better on Friday nights in the fall.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 9

tovolny writes:

John, go brush your 19 teeth and go to bed. Tomorrow will bring you a chance to finally mow your shaggy lawn. Remember, no golf until you do your shores.

Huttdawg100 writes:

These camps feel like they're turning college football into AAU basketball.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

well. I actually liked this little story of how kids are evaluated properly. It sounds like they get more than one shot or one angle. Tho' highlights are usually highlights for a reason and may even save a lot of trouble ...I can see how a total picture would be for the best evaluation. I hope UT coaches have the time to do that or rather take the time.

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to tovolny:

John, go brush your 19 teeth and go to bed. Tomorrow will bring you a chance to finally mow your shaggy lawn. Remember, no golf until you do your shores.

Really, you had to take the time to hurl a nonsensical insult just because you could? You're an example of what's wrong with the human race. And that's no insult -- just a fact.

BolivrBob writes:

And?.................

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I excelled at camp back in the 70's and that didn't equate to scholarship offers..I'm sure it's different these days with recruiters using these camps to scout talent(much like the NFL rookie camps).

webgent writes:

Camps and game films. What a waste. Just check the stars and see who offers and reel them in and save the money and time.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Not a bad article at all. Some idiots just live to bash someone else. We have plenty of them on this site (tovolny, sevenT, etc.)

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

well. I actually liked this little story of how kids are evaluated properly. It sounds like they get more than one shot or one angle. Tho' highlights are usually highlights for a reason and may even save a lot of trouble ...I can see how a total picture would be for the best evaluation. I hope UT coaches have the time to do that or rather take the time.

Stokes...

CDD was the recruiting coordinator under nick saTan at LSU when they won the National Championship and he's proven he's a really good recruiter.

The plan for recruiting that CDD put in place for our Vols is detailed and uses several coaches in the evaluation process.

Before a kid is offered a scholarship their position coach from UT evaluates tape and talks to the kid several times and in person.

The kids high school coaches, teachers and others that know the kid well are interviewed to find out for certain what type of kid he is.

If the position coach is really interested in a kid then it goes to a staff evaluation of the position coach, the O or the D coordinator the kid will play under and CDD evaluates every kid personally.

If several coaches and CDD all agree that the kid is 1 they want to coach up to play at UT then most times CDD will try and visit with the kid in person either at his home, school or when the kid makes a visit to UT.

Then after all of that the kid will get a offer of a scholarship to play for our Vols.

UT also spends tons of $$$ to recruiting companies that also evaluate high school kids.

Recruiting is taken very seriously at Tennessee because we don't have many really good high school players across the state of Tennessee so we have to focus on a national recruiting program to try and get SEC type players at every position alot more than most SEC schools have to do because the other schools have lots more good talent in their states.

VFL.l..GBO!!!

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