Recruiting is Big Business "How do we Know?"

In the state of Indiana, we fight and claw for every player we promote as capable and able to play at the BCS level. Indiana fights the constant stereotype that it is not a football state. We know different and can prove it. Indiana is unique when it comes to high school football.

Most liberal Summer Rules

The day after school is officially out for the summer, football teams in Indiana can put on helmets and shoulder pads and have camp every day of the week with the exception of Sunday. Also, the Indiana High School Athletic Association has designated 1 week as a dead week (no contact with coaches or campus athletic activity). But any football coach knows much can be accomplished in pro pads, and Indiana has at least 10 weeks of allowable workouts under these conditions during the summer. During the summer, high school teams put in a new offense, go through drills with shields and dummies, and have contact practices that focus on just about anything that doesn't involve contact below the waist.

The largest football camp in America has its home base in Indiana. The Bishop and Dullaghan Camp not only serve Indiana, but have camps in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and New York. Teams from all across Indiana send multiple skilled players to this camp for 4 days of intensive fundamentals and drills with pro pads. The linemen go to "Down and Dirty" camps which are tied to Bishop and Dullaghan. Thousands of Indiana high school football players in the last few years have gone through this experience. Stating my case is simple. There is no state that allows for more continued improvement of high school football than Indiana. Several coaches would love full contact spring practice. Very few would trade it for what they can accomplish during the 10 weeks of summer in pro pads.

Indiana's Secret Athletic Database's

Ask any recruiting analyst how important the Scout database is and you will find out it is the backbone of all our information. One of the best kept secrets is that for several years coaches have had access to the strength records of over 2,000 Indiana high school football players annually. This is due to the hard work of Carmel's offensive line coach, Brian Spilbeler. Coach Spilbeler, with the help of a multitude of coaches, puts the maxes of Indiana H.S. football players in a database sent to him by coaches over a period of a few weeks. Those numbers are crunched and provide a fairly solid picture of what programs are getting stronger and which players excel in the weight room.

I believe that one of the best predictors of football success is the numbers generated by a football player in the weight room. There are football players with so much raw talent that they don't work. But, watch an athlete and crunch his weight room numbers. You can get a clear picture of a player's work ethic. College recruiters who find athletes willing to pay the price in the weight room find players who have a tendency to stick with it in college. In Indiana, we have a statewide measurement.

The second database that is kept is Indiana's multiple sport database. This one is absolutely fascinating because its keeper has turned it into a cottage industry. Mark Branstad has created a broad base study of every NFL athlete drafted since 2002, and every Indiana football player who signed a D1 letter of intent since 2002 as well as the other varsity sports in which they participated in high school. He has arrived at some significant correlations regarding successful college and pro athlete. Branstad has foot printed the steps to success and discovered a correlation between those athletes who participated in multiple sports. Most NFL players and successful college players were track athletes. Their posted times and distances (throwing) correlate with success in football at the college and pro level.

What Branstad has done is take multiple sport athletes at the high school level and parlayed that information. With amazing accuracy he shows why these athletes succeed in the upper level (College/NFL) in football. I have access to that study and it is absolutely fascinating. My general statement is simplistic. College coaches want multiple sport athletes. Branstad says he can show you from College to the NFL why athletes are successful and how (specifically multiple sports) contribute to that success, specifically track.

Indiana Varsity Scout Analysis

This is not a claim to any secret or expert knowledge regarding who is destined to be a successful football player. But, experience and looking at the database information gives a better start in the evaluation process. Watching film is always the coach's tool of choice. I have been provided with many films of Indiana football players to watch and analyze. There are summer opportunities provided for watching players in pro pad drills and multitudes of camps for viewing the wealth of talent coming up in Indiana. Armed with film, two databases filled with players' strength statistics and correlations of multiple sport athletes, and players to watch at camp, there is plenty of information available on football talent. Add in combine statistics and the picture becomes even clearer. Of course, there is academic success, and that is even a bigger topic.

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