Due to the rise in athletic scholarship need and the increase of available information for college coaches, the recruiting process is starting earlier than ever before. According to the NCAA, college coaches are starting to identify 7th and 8th graders as recruits and are offering scholarships to prospects before their freshman year. Seventh and eighth graders were too young to participate on the Rio Rancho High School football field Saturday, but the field was filled with close to 200 high school freshmen, juniors and seniors showing off their athletic abilities in the 4th Annual NMPreps.com 100 Elite Combine.
The event, which is patterned after collegiate combines featuring college athletes performing for NFL scouts; included a 185 pound bench press, a vertical jump, the 40 yard dash and the 20 yard shuttle run. Players were required to lift 185 pounds for as many bench press repetitions as they could. Albuquerque Academy Charger Nash Phillips ran a 4.63 in the 40 yard dash, best time of the day. Eric Galindo was close behind in the dash with a time of 4.66. The players also performed the skills required for their individual positions such as quarterback, lineman, runningback, defensiveback etc. Quarterback Michael Walsh of La Cueva High School was one of the participants. In an interview with Kyle Henderson of NMPreps.com, Walsh said, “I’m here to compete with the best guys. It’s fun to see guys from all over the state. Walsh said La Cueva will have a new playbook, new head coach and a new runningback to replace Ronnie Daniels this season. Daniels will be doing his running this fall for Texas Tech.
Reggie Mack of Hobbs High School loves to compete and see the best players in the state. Mack completed 29 repetitions in the bench press. His goals were to run a 4.6 in the 40 yard dash and a 37 inch vertical jump. “I was blessed to be able to workout for the college coach,” he said about his earlier workout in front of the UNM head football coach. “He said he liked me, and I’m looking forward to being a lobo.”
The National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) and similar organizations help high school athletes and their parents connect with college coaches. The NCSA uses its trusted relationships with ESPN, NFL Players Association, Under Armor, and the U.S. Army All American Bowl to connect the community of college coaches, high school athletes and their parents and high school coaches. NCSA representatives attended the combine Saturday because it was an event high school athletes can use to showcase their abilities to college coaches. The NCSA is led by former collegiate coaches and athletes who help high school students build profiles containing their academic and ahletic resumes.
College coaches do a majority of their initial evaluation by looking at video. After watching video, a coach may decide to have a member of his/her staff make an in-person evaluation of an athlete. The NCSA encourages high school athletes to have their edited highlight video and full game footage online in a format that can be easily distributed to college coaches.