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I have had a chance to look at hundreds and possibly thousands of highlight recruiting videos over the last decade. During that time, I have seen a great deal of outstanding highlight videos as well as some terrible videos that would not get the top player in the country a scholarship.

Like other articles that I write, I want to help those that are currently going through the recruiting process and am happy to share my advice about what to do and not to do when putting a recruiting highlight video together. While these are not sure fire ways to get a scholarship from USC and Texas, it is advice that will help you showcase your ability in front of college coaches. You obviously have to be able to play but these should help in the long run.

DO highlight where you are on the field – The last thing you want is a college coach guessing where you are on the field.

DO NOT include every highlight from the past season – Coaches do not want to see the five yards you gained on a dive or the power layup you made. Do not have your highlight video more than five minutes.

DO put your best plays early in the video – The coach won’t be watching the highlight tape for long so try to impress them early.

DO NOT include film that has lighting or quality issues – It is a waste of time if the video quality is bad to put together a highlight video.

DO have your parents film the games if the tape that the school produces is bad – This is not a great situation for your parents, but it could help you get a scholarship.

DO NOT include the same play from different angles – Unless you did something amazing once or twice on a tape, do not include a different angle or a replay. Again, don’t waste the time of a coach.

DO put the time and/or money into producing a quality highlight video – If you can play, it is worth putting your time and/or money into either doing it yourself or having it professionally made.

DO NOT write your name on the DVD with a sharpie marker – If you were looking for a job, you wouldn’t write the cover letter of your resume with a sharpie mark. Think about being professional at all times.

DO put the DVD in a quality package – Again, just think about being professional. I recently was sent a highlight DVD in a Chex Christmas CD wrapper. That was one I will never forget.

DO NOT forget to let the coaches know what number you are – While highlighting yourself on the video is what you want, make sure they know what number you are when watching the video.

DO make sure all of the DVDs work before sending them out – I recently got a DVD that didn’t work. I wasn’t surprised when I received the second copy that the quality was terrible.

DO NOT spend thousands of dollars to have your highlight video produced – It is a waste of money to get a movie quality DVD made. Coaches may think it is too good.

DO consider your highlight video part of your professional resume to the schools you send it to – As mentioned above, you need to be professional.

DO NOT rely on a coach or a friend to put together a quality highlight video – They may make big promises but sometimes they don’t come through. Always have back up options available.

*This article was originally posted on

Recently when talking to a parent regarding putting together a highlight tape, one of the things that was mentioned was the thirty second rule. While this may or may not be true, it would not surprise me one second if this really does happen. And considering this rule came from an Ivy League school, I can only imagine what SEC coaches do.

What this rule involves is when a coach watches a highlight tape of a player. The rule is that within thirty seconds, if the coach is not overly impressed with the highlights, then he moves on. The coach feels that if he is stretching to find a great play that the player made, than chances are solid that they are not going to recruit him. That means the coach can move onto the next tape and give that prospect the same time as well.


With regards to this, I am under the assumption that these schools were sent these tapes randomly and were not ones that they requested. For requested tape, my assumption is that these coaches will give them a bit longer than thirty seconds. But if the players does not have any offers by his name, don’t expect much longer.

This goes back to the point that I made saying that you need to put your very best plays at the start of the video. If you returned a kick and juked five guys on the way to the end zone, make sure to include that as one of your best plays early on. Again, there is no reason to save your top plays for the end of the tape. Unless you are extremely impressive, chances are high that few coaches will actually go through the entire tape.

When putting your top plays together, definitely keep that rule in mind. It can really help you with the recruiting process. I also have seen a few more things that I will nitpick regarding highlight videos that I recommend avoiding if you can.

*Do not show plays that are not impressive. I wish this was a joke but I recently saw a highlight video that some of the first plays were the athlete handing the ball off at quarterback. I realize some tapes decide to split the footage between the position that an athlete plays, but if I were a coach and saw film of him handing the ball off, I would shut the tape off and move on.

*Unless you made a Barry Sanders type move, do not show a replay from a different angle. I have seen a few decent plays recently where they showed a different angle. And the result was that the play was alright but not enough to get a scholarship offer. The funny thing about this was also that they changed the angles plays down the line. I don’t know if they were trying to trick the people watching the tape with a different angle but it was same boring play. Don’t waste your time there.

*If there was an obvious clip or hold on the tape and you can see the ref throwing the flag, do not include it. I just saw a running back pull off a nice run but I guarantee that it would have been much less if there was not a hold on the play. If I am smart enough to see it, than a college coach definitely would be.

*Try to avoid big chunks of down time during the video. By this I mean that once the play is over, move on to the next one. I hate it when the person making the highlight tapes allow for five seconds before the play starts and after the play ends. College coaches would be more impatient than I would when watching film so get rid of it. It wastes their time.

*This article was originally posted on

I have had a number of users asking about what they need to do to get their highlight videos in front of college coaches and be able to be seen.  In order to get that dream scholarship, these coaches need to see your highlights and your ability on the tape.

So in order to help recruited athletes get this tape in front of college coaches, I have come up with a few suggestions that could help move the process along.  For this, there is no magic formula because it depends a great deal on if your recruiting profile would be impressive enough for college coaches to want to learn more about you.  In some cases they will and others they won’t.  But anyways, here are a few ways to give your highlights the best opportunity to be seen by the eyes of college coaches.

Before I get started, I may seem like a broken record in saying this, but make sure to check out The Five Steps to a Scholarship Offer.  Many of these same steps are talked about in that article.  Checking out both articles and thinking long and hard about what you can do during the recruiting process will really help you.

Put together a solid Recruiting Profile
The more awards and impressive stats that you have, the more likely a college coach will put you into their recruiting database.  As I have said before, do not inflate your stats or even round them up.  The last thing you want to be caught in is a lie so don’t fib on this recruiting profile.  It is your resume and the college coaches are the ones that will be interviewing you.  Keep it professional and up to date.

Market yourself to College Coaches
You need to take the time to find the college coaches that match your interests as far as academics and athletics.  Once you find those schools, email them with your recruiting profile and tell them all about why they should take a look at you.  Be persistent in this but also try not to be annoying.  There is a thin line between the two.

Put together a quality highlight video
I have seen some poor highlight tapes as of late so you really have to realize that putting together a quality highlight tape is something that is important.  If you want this final product to be watched by college coaches, you want this to be as solid as possible.  Try to find someone with experience to know what college coaches are looking for in the recruiting process.  Check for more on producing a video package.

Make your video highlights available online
One great addition you can make to the recruiting profile is a link to your highlight videos.  This can be done at YouTube, BeRecruited, or any number of websites that allow you to post video footage.  There are a number of free sites that allow this.  As I have mentioned previously, I know a Division I assistant coach who told me that they are much more prone to click on video highlights on the computer rather than watch a tape.  Clicking the link is a much quicker process than dealing with an actual highlight video.

Try to get yourself listed with Rivals, 247Sports Scout, and ESPN
I know for a fact that the majority of college coaches throughout the country use these sites to find prospects and watch video.  If you can get yourself listed and possibly get them to add video highlights of you that is a great step in the recruiting process.  It doesn’t mean that a scholarship is on the way but it does mean that coaches can possibly find you through those means.

Have your high school coach follow up with college coaches
A high school coach is key in the recruiting process because this coach will not have the bias that a parent.  College coaches also will be more willing to work with a high school coach because the college may recruit an athlete at their school down the road.  They don’t want to burn any bridges.  So having your high school coach follow up with college coaches is a great way to get them to look at your video and possibly get an honest evaluation.

Excel at summer camps
Before your junior year of football, let’s say that you decide to attend State University’s summer football camp.  This is a great recruiting tool for the coaching staff and something that allows them to get in early with recruits.  If you perform extremely well, there is no doubt that they will put you on their recruiting list.

Have All State seasons on the football field
Some college coaches will at least send questionnaires to those that had All State seasons.  This doesn’t mean you are really being recruited but it does mean that you are at least on the radar.  The better season that you have, the better chance that the college coach will at least look at your highlight video.

*This article was originally posted on

Recruiting-101 talks constantly regarding the importance of putting together a highlight tape, especially during the football recruiting process.  And since every reader follows this advice (right?), you are working on figuring out the best way to showcase the skills of an athlete to be evaluated by a college coach.

But for those that go through seasons and seasons of tape for one highlight video, one question that obviously you will come up with is how many plays should be included on this video?  Should it be the more the merrier or short and sweet?

Before picking what I feel is the magic number to be evaluated/get a scholarship offer from college coaches, I must preface this by saying all situations are unique.  If you played one varsity game and were hurt, were you really that good on tape to get a lot of plays?  I would say on average, you need at least two game tapes to put together a solid highlight tape, if not more.

I have heard from a variety of sources differing opinion.  Some really feel that if you include every play, what it is going to hurt outside of wasting watching your five yard dive up the middle?  Other “experts” have said as low as twelve to fifteen plays.  If that was the case, I would think you may be cutting out some great highlights.

I feel the magic number of your highlights to be included on this recruiting video is thirty (which ends up meaning your highlight video should be somewhere around three to five minutes in length).  The reason I say thirty is that if a college coach wants to turn it off at fifteen, he can.  If they want to keep watching, then they can keep doing that.  It really is up to them with thirty plays included.

Again, this doesn’t mean that your highlight video has to include thirty plays to get a scholarship offer.  What you should do is round up all your top highlights and then end up somewhere between twenty five and thirty five.  If you hit thirty on the dot for highlights, great.  If not, try to keep that number somewhere near the magical thirty.

As I have said before, I really, really, really dislike the recruiting highlight video where an athlete puts every single play that they made during the season.  College coaches are not going to waste their time watching every rush or pass that you did during the season (that means you quarterbacks and running backs).  And if you are anywhere near single digits, it could be hard for the college coach to get a good feel for you.

One last thing that I must mention in regards to a highlight video.  For each play, think about this long and hard.  Is this a scholarship worthy play?  Does it showcase my potential to play my sport at the scholarship level and help me pay for my college education?

*This article was originally posted on

I think I might just be lightening up a little bit overall on recruiting services.  While they are not for everyone and can be expensive, there is no doubt that certain recruiting services can be helpful in situations where time is limited.  For that I owe an apology to the all of those that work for recruiting services throughout the country (and I know you are reading!).

Anyways, if money is tight and you can’t afford a recruiting service, than why exactly would I tell a family that they should get their highlight video professionally produced?  If you can learn more about the recruiting process, can you not learn more about what is needed to put together a recruiting highlight tape?


I am going to take a look at this question from both sides.  While I think getting your highlight video professionally done is a great thing that can help you in the recruiting process, it may also be something that you have the skills to do if you are willing to put in the time, effort, and a little money.

Why you should get a highlight video professionally made

  • They should be able to do it quicker and give you a timetable as to how soon it will be completed.
  • Their work should be better than what you are able to do.
  • They will hopefully package it in a very professional manner that draws attention from college coaches over other highlight tapes that they receive (the name written on a DVD with a sharpie is not the way to go).
  • Some people are intimidated by technology and don’t want to take the time to learn new software.
  • Time is limited (it seems that time is limited for everyone by the way).
  • Spending money on software and not using it/learning it is very costly overall.

Why would should do a highlight video yourself

  • It is another bonding tool that can bring your family closer while doing it together.
  • If you have more than one athlete who is going to be recruited, this is a great way to save a lot of money overtime.
  • It adds a skill to your resume and a possible way to make money with teammates of your child.
  • You are not relying on others to do the work and thus you are accountable.
  • It is your child and you may know exactly the way that you want to present their abilities (and hopefully have the technical skills to do so.

Each situation is unique.  One athlete may have a computer programmer for a parent who has the abilities to learn new software and make a highlight video.  Another may have a parent who is a CEO at a company who doesn’t have the time to spend learning new programs.  Take the time to think long and hard what you want to do before putting together that video because it will be a major factor in the chase for a scholarship offer.

*This article was originally posted on

*Note: This article was originally posted on

Last week I put together an article that talked about ways to save money throughout the athletic recruiting process and even specifically for the football recruiting process.  One of the ten that drew a lot of attention was related to this.  Do not send out tape unless a coach requests it:  It makes me sick when recruits tell me that they send out game tape and don’t get a response. The reason is because it is not a smart thing to do and it wastes time and money. College coaches have a hard enough time viewing all of the tape that they request. If you are sending tape without making prior contact, you might as well just get your tape, put it in a package, get postage for it, and then throw it away. That is likely what happens anyways when you do this.

I received some very interesting responses to this and some more questions.  If I don’t send out the game tape, then how exactly are college coaches going to watch my highlight video?  Let me tell you that sending out tape prior to hearing from the coaches will not get you a ton of interest.  One athlete emailed me about doing this and you would be surprised about the lack of responses:

I will keep the name of the athlete out of the picture but what he said was very important to this article.

“I’ve submitted film to over 40 schools over the summer. I got letters back from about eight or nine saying that they would review it and then get in touch with me. I haven’t heard directly back from any of those schools that replied with letters.

Let me first state that what this athlete did is the exact same thing that a lot of athletes do.  They think that the best way to draw interest from college coaches throughout the the country is by what I call “cold sending” a tape.  What I mean by this is that it is when you have zero contact with the coaches at the school and think that if your highlight tape is good enough, they will start being interested and hopefully extend a scholarship offer your way.

You may have a highlight tape as good as Reggie Bush but in the majority of cases, if you cold send the video, the highest person on the coaching staff that may watch it is a graduate assistant.  That is likely the very most.  Outside of that, most tapes that are cold sent end up in the garbage and that means you wasted a great deal of your time and money.

What I need athletes out there to think about is I am sure most players would love to get a scholarship offer from the likes of LSU or USC.  Lets say hypothetically that 1,000 kids in 25 different states have that same dream and try to send their highlight tapes to those schools.  Each of these top tier programs would have at least 25,000 highlight tapes/video links sent to them.  Do you really think they have the time to spend watching each and every highlight video?  Then ask yourself, why are you sending it out as well?

If you have a pipedream to play at one of those schools, instead of making a tape and sending it, why not email them and link them to your highlights online?  If they hate it, all that it took you was the ten minutes or so tracking down their email address and then writing why you would love to play for the Trojans or the Tigers.

Tomorrow I plan to talk about what are the best steps to get your video footage in front of college coaches.  I have said it before but it is not an easy process to do.  You need to have a good football resume (aka your recruiting profile), be persistent, and hope that these two attributes are enough.

But again, before going out after the season and mass sending out emails with your hudl video, think about what the recruit above said about what happened to him.  He sent out 40 tapes and let’s say nine schools contacted him back.  That is a 22.5% chance of even hearing from the schools that you sent the tape to.  These schools are likely the nicer ones with the time to actually consider reviewing them.  Since then, 0% of the schools have contacted him directly about the tape afterwards.  Is that really worth the time and effort to follow a similar path?

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