Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Summer camps

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Posted at 6:00am — 6/7/2010

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Summer camps

Lately, GBMWolverine has received a few e-mails from readers wanting to know more about summer camps, combines, and the influence of coaches at these events.

The combines, organized by different recruiting sites, networks, and other organizers, are held all over the country. Attendance and good performance at such events has become a way for recruits to get their names on recruiting sites and test their skills against other very good athletes. Many of you have watched highlights of the NFL Network combines for college players that are entering the NFL draft. It is a measuring stick, albeit far from perfect, for teams to compare, head to head, potential draft day picks.

Currently, college coaches are for the most part not permitted to be present at such combine events and cannot be present when the events are held on their campus or practice facilities, but they have ways of finding out who did well and come away with an idea of players to keep an eye on in the future.

The summer camps held at universities all over the country are different than a sponsored recruiting site combine and serve three major purposes.

1) The camps allow coaching staffs to get a first hand look at prospects and not rely on game film, word of mouth from a high school coach, alumni, friends, etc.

Staffs are basically giving potential recruits a try-out. This type of evaluation is priceless. Recruits can go to school camps and get evaluated by the college coaches, a process that sometimes leads to an offer (some participants already have offers). Camps can be three or four days long, enough time for coaches to secure first-hand a good feel about camp participants.

2) The summer camps allow under-the-radar type recruits from small schools (that frequently do not get much notice from recruiting services or college coaches) a chance to impress schools.

3) Camps allow schools to get a head start on underclassmen by getting kids on campus early in their football career. With so many camps and clinics, a majority of seniors are already on lists and known to coaches. Remember back when Marvin Robinson was a freshman he attended the Michigan summer camp and was told an offer would be available to him when the time was right. This is a clear and common example of the benefit of paying attention to recruits very early on and getting them on campus. A summer visit by an elite level player that every program is looking at is a special treat. The old philosophy of get ‘em on campus and we have a shot still applies in recruiting circles.

Recruiting in a few short years has turned from a senior dominated process to having freshmen and sophomores getting their names known and letting programs gain an early evaluation. Coaches can easily determine the underclassmen that show skills well above the norm and the participation by underclassmen in summer camps also shows a recruit is very serious about football and the future.

Anytime a coaching staff can get a future recruit on campus this is a very positive opportunity, especially if the parents come along so they (the parents) can look at what the university can offer academically and athletically. Getting to know the area, the school, and just walking around campus will most likely benefit the school and provides families with good information useful for deciding on the right school.

This is one reason why large football universities like Michigan are now having camps for middle school kids, so that a university can attract them to the campus while teaching valuable fundamentals, techniques, and a basic understanding of the game most youth level coaches cannot provide.

Also, having 7 on 7 tournaments can get elite players from across the country and their teammates to visit a campus. Familiarity leads to comfort for a recruit, so getting a future recruit on campus for multiple visits increases the chance of landing a future commitment. As a side-benefit the more times a recruit is on campus for this type of activity, the greater the chance coaches have for accurate assessment.

In short, university camps have proven to be very valuable to recruits and coaches alike.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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