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How to Get Noticed by College Football Programs
By Doug Brien

The 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.

My 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.

Even 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.

First, 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.

Cal 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!

Even 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.



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