to Get Noticed by College Football Programs
By Doug Brien
world of college football recruiting has gotten
very competitive. It is competitive both from
a player's perspective and from the school's
perspective. There are numerous combines, camps
and services available that all claim to be
the one that can help you "get noticed."
Football programs also struggle in this environment.
With coaches jobs becoming less secure there
is a need to find the best talent available
so that teams can "win now." Therefore,
college programs compete aggressively for the
top recruits. Colleges send out hundreds of
recruiting letters. They are also bombarded
with letters and video tapes from high school
player's. All of this makes it tough for a specialist
to get noticed. The question is: as a specialist,
how do you get noticed by these programs? The
purpose of this manual is to help you navigate
the process of finding a college football program
that fits your needs as a student-athlete.
Story: My name is Doug Brien and I kicked in
the NFL for the past twelve years. Before that
I kicked at U.C. Berkeley. I started for three
of those years. I spent the first two as a walk-on
waiting for my turn to compete for the job.
I had to walk-on because I only played high
school football for one year. I played soccer
growing up and didn't kick until my dad finally
convinced me to try it my senior year; that
turned out to be some good advice.
though I ended up playing for a long time in
the NFL, I started out in the same position
as many of you. When I finished high school
I was not widely recruited and I was trying
to figure out the best way to play in college.
I got two offers to walk-on and play both football
and soccer. However, these offers came from
smaller schools which did not have Division
I football programs or great academic programs.
My goal was to get into a university that I
would not have been able to get into without
sports. I also wanted to play at the Division
I level. Even though I knew it was unlikely
I would find a school with both of those criteria,
I was going to try.
I asked my high school coach to talk to college
coaches. This was an uphill battle; I had kicked
for only one year and made 4-6 attempts with
a long field goal of twenty eight yards - not
exactly exciting statistics. However, I did
play for a very good high school program (De
La Salle High School) in Concord, CA and I had
done a very good job of kicking off. Fortunately
the coach from Cal noticed my kick-offs in the
North Coast Section finals. He recommended me
for the North All-Star team in the North vs.
South Shrine All-Star game. That was huge for
me! After that I asked my high school coach
to talk to Cal about me playing for them. Cal
is a Division I program in the PAC 10 and (more
importantly) one of the top universities in
the country. Thirteen students with a 4.0 at
my high school did not get in to Cal, so if
I could get in with a 3.7 G.P.A. and strong
kicking leg, I would do it.
already had an All-American kicker/punter that
was going into his junior year. That was not
good news. However, Cal said they would take
me as a walk-on, I could learn for two years,
and then I would compete for the starting job
when Robbie Keen graduated. They told me if
I won the job, they would give me a full-ride
athletic scholarship! I immediately said "yes"
and told the other coaches I had been in contact
with that I no longer was looking for a school.
I was set to be a California Golden Bear!
though it was very hard to be a walk-on, it
turned out to be the best thing for me. By spending
two years under Robbie Keen, I learned a tremendous
amount about what it took to succeed at the
Division I level. If I had played right out
of high school I would probably have done a
horrible job and probably would not have received
a scholarship. Patience paid off for me.