COVID-19 Leaves Capital Region Seniors Struggling To Get Recruited
The transition from high school to college sports is never easy. In a normal year, only about 7% of kids who played football in high school end up playing in college. As we all know, 2020 is anything but normal. So what happens in a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down many high school athletic programs? How do you get the attention of coaches and recruiters?
This is a real problem for many high school athletes right here in the Capital Region.
According to NCAA.org, only about 73,000 out of an estimated 1,006,013 high school football players achieve their dream of competing at the college level. For many high school students, the improvement not only in skill but in size from junior to senior year could be the difference between playing at the next level and maybe missing college altogether. I reached out to two high school seniors who were counting on this season to make their presence known and hopefully get recruited.
Jack Thayer, a senior from Shaker High School is feeling the stress of knowing each state has different rules when it comes to high school sports.
"For me at least, the barrier has been the fact that New York postponed the season," Thayer said. "It has been really difficult because, at least for me, my film doesn't show a lot of how I play and my combined numbers weren't the best last year but that is what the coach has to look at me."
An unfortunate circumstance of the pandemic is that coaches have not been able to come out and actually watch him play, seeing that he's a different player from last year. To help, Thayer has been using social media to get the word out about himself and it might just be working.
"I have been posting workout videos on Twitter (#operationgetjackrecruited2021) which have gained some interest and that has been helpful during these times. I have learned during this time that you need to keep positivity and you have to keep working because other players are playing and the coaches are not going to stop looking just for you," he said. "What I believe has helped me the most during these times is the fact that if you keep putting out material for the coach to see you, the coach will see it. I have even been lucky enough to have coaches find me through my workout videos."
Trey Vente is a senior from Columbia High School whose focus is on getting better every day by training and testing his skills against other athletes that have been recruited.
"Basically, my offseason has consisted of working out every single day, practicing covering guys that had gotten offers from good schools when they were in high school, and emailing coaches of different schools," he said. "I’ve gone to a camp with a combine that some coaches were at, and I’ve started to go to a speed/athletic trainer. I’ve reached out for advice from my athletic trainer and others who have both helped better my abilities and given me advice as to how to go about the process."
What advice does the man these guys would love to get the attention of give? University of Albany Head Football Coach Greg Gattuso suggests prep school or community college. Prep school would give players a chance to be noticed and retain all their eligibility while walking on somewhere like Hudson Valley Community College would use up some eligibility but give you the college experience while playing competitive football.
It's obvious this isn't an ideal situation for seniors in the Capital Region hoping to make it on a college roster but there's still hope. Listen to Coach Gattuso's full interview to get his insight below.