The importance of recruiting

style="font-size: 10pt;">Over the years coach Jared VanAker
at Freedom High School has been among the more active coaches in the
state when it comes to communicating with both college coaches and about his prospects.
style="font-size: 10pt;">We sat down with the Eagles leader
to talk about the importance of his role in recruiting and the aspects
of it that are important to him.
style="font-size: 10pt; font-weight: bold;">What is your
role as a coach to help these kids get

style="font-size: 10pt;">JVA: "One of our major roles as a
football coach is to provide the exposure and guidance to young men to
their education. If those individuals are able to obtain athletic
then we also need to provide that exposure and guidance to these young
men as
well. Some of these athletic scholarships can provide a young man an
opportunity to not only pay for their college education but set them up
future success in life as well."   

style="font-size: 10pt; font-weight: bold;">Do you have
connections that help? If so, what are
some examples? 

style="font-size: 10pt;">JVA: "I have developed a bunch of
connections and
relationships with coaches all across the United States. After 12 years
coaching with 8 as a head football coach, I have been able to develop
relationships and connections with a ton of football coaches. The
coaching profession is a fraternity that helps support one another and
opportunities to build solid relationships with one another. I also
college football myself and also had three siblings who played
athletics so there is a lot of experience in the recruiting world. I
have sent
numerous kids to JUCO, D-III, NAIA, D-II, FCS, etc in my coaching
career and
thus have developed connections with college level coaches. I also
became the clinic director of the Mid-Atlantic NIKE Coach of the Year
where I personally come in contact with some of the best coaches in the
This past year I got to personally network with Todd Graham (ASU), Dana
Holgorsen (WVU), Brett Bielema (ARK), Rich Rodriguez (AZ), Al Golden
(MIA), and
Ruffin McNeill( ECU) and a host of other great college and high school

style="font-size: 10pt; font-weight: bold;">We see a lot of
coaches who talk up their recruits.
How do you try and stay fair in assessing?
style="font-size: 10pt;"> 

style="font-size: 10pt;">"As coaches we have to be able to
assess and
promote the kids to the correct level that their ability correlates to.
If you
lie to recruiters about a prospect they may not trust your evaluation
and unfortunately may not look at future kids that you may have in your
program.  As coaches there always comes a little bias, but in
my opinion,
if the kid can play and he shows it on the field and thus on film then
he will
get the attention of the proper recruiters as well." 

style="font-size: 10pt; font-weight: bold;">What is the most
overrated trait of a recruit,
regardless of position? 

style="font-size: 10pt;">"I may be committing a sin by
saying this but I
think linear speed (40-yard dash) is the most overrated aspect of the
recruiting business. I mean how many times will an athlete get an
straight line sprint, not to mention with no pads and practically down
to your
boxers, in the game of football? Never…However, so much stock is put
into this
data that I have seen average/below average "football players" get
because of their blazing speed. I would rather like to see the kid play
game at the speed they actually play. I break kids down into three
kids that are fast and play fast, kids that are fast that play slow,
and kids
that are a step slow but play very fast. Alll can be good or bad
players. How do they play the game? 

style="font-size: 10pt; font-weight: bold;">What is the most
underrated trait for a
recruit/prospect, regardless of position?
style="font-size: 10pt;"> 

style="font-size: 10pt;">"I would say the most underrated
trait is the
level of desire, heart, and level of competition a recruit may possess.
Does the
kid really love the game of football? Because after all the glitz and
of the recruiting process, the star rating system, combine invites, and
multiple offers, etc., it all fades away when they step foot on their
campus. How will they be? You are going to be on a team that is full of
that were the stars on their team, state, region, etc…You now have to
for a position that wasn't just handed to you because you were the
have to put a ton of time, hard work, and commitment that doubles what
currently do at the high school level. Are they really ready for what
it takes
to play college football? I have seen so many examples of
highly-recruited kids
who fizzle out under the pressure for them to perform Meanwhile I have
seen a
ton of examples of not-so-highly recruited guys perform to the highest
and excel and make it to the NFL. What was the difference? Hard work
ethic and
desire to compete."