Character First

On Saturday May 31, 2008 Charles Smith will host a combine at McCallie High School in Chattanooga, TN. It is his hope to give some kids from the Chattanooga area a chance to get some exposure and learn more about the recruiting process. Find out what Smith feels is vital for today's player and parent to know.

Smith said of his group CES, "CES is called Character, Education, and Sports. What we are doing is telling the student athlete and parent of student athlete about the recruiting process."

He went on to explain, "We talk exclusively about the NCAA clearinghouse. We talk exclusively about the sliding scale, about grades, just the whole process and we break it down piece by piece."

Smith, a former college football player from 1980 – 1983 at the University of Georgia, commented, "I was pretty much recruited by schools in the south, so I didn't get the national attention. I did get involved in a lot and learned a lot about it."

He went on to add how things have changed since those days. He said, "However, when I became a parent of a student athlete who was a national recruit, I really gained a lot of experience and traveled all over the country going to the various schools and various universities."

In all of his travels Smith said, "I talked with the recruiting coordinators and parents all over the country about this process. Through that process I realized a lot of parents and athletes didn't understand this process at all."

As far as his group is concerned about the process he explained, "I think we put it in the order of Character first."

Smith commented about character by saying, "Now character is to a point with student athletes that recruiters are not taking bad character kids. That's one of the initial plans we talk about. We talk about the five pillars of character and break that down."

In the discussion about character Smith added, "We explain to them how important it is and mainly making the kids understand that character has got to come first and then we talk about the education part of it which comes second."

Don't let the ranking fool you because Smith acknowledges the importance of education. He said, "We talk to them about preparing for the SAT and ACT. We talk to them about in their own school making sure they take care of business in the classroom because of that sliding scale, the higher your GPA, the lower your test scores can be."

Smith was steadfast of his belief in the classroom, he said, "If you take care of business in the classroom, then it takes a lot of pressure off of you on that test."

In regards to the combine on May 31 Smith commented, "The combine is going to be linked with a media day where we will have them come in and take pictures, do stories; we are going to test them on the 40, cone drills, the shuttle, bench press, vertical and do height and weight."

One of the new aspects of the combine will be coverage by Smith said of the media coverage, "The media day will make it big because kids can get a lot of exposure. We are actually inviting all of our kids who have been to the past combines to the media day because it's something that can give them a lot more attention in another state."

The recruiting process has started to begin sooner and sooner. Smith said of when the process starts, "According to the NCAA as soon as you get in the ninth grade you are considered a prospect. With recruiting being backed up and recruiting kids pretty much in their junior year that means that only gives you a couple of year to prepare yourself academically as well as athletically."

If you know of a rising sophomore, junior, or senior that may be interested in attending the combine/media day please email for more information. There will be updates from the combine starting June 1, so make sure to check back to for the latest with the combine results.

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