TAMPA, Fla. — Does a high school football prospect need to use a recruiting service?
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, Penn State coach James Franklin and Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton answered that question along with many others parents had at the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy on Sunday.
“Do not pay for any recruiting service,” Franklin said. “I’m about to piss somebody off in the room. The only recruiting services that I’ve ever used is the ones we pay for, you guys should not be paying.
“Do we get them, yes, but they go right in the trash.”
Bielema, who introduced himself as a “laid-back dude” who wears flip flops and likes reggae music, was in agreement with Franklin.
“I would echo everything James said times 1,000, even as an assistant coach I’ve never used any service that has been sent to me,” Bielema said at the Tampa camp. “I’ve only used the ones that I’ve bought, and I still don’t use those a lot. You can send Hudl film to a coach, and I guarantee somebody’s eyes are on it.
“I was a walk-on, I had nobody offer me a scholarship, had an opportunity to walk on at the University of Iowa, chase my dream and everything else kind of … had a wonderful NFL career for six days.”
Creighton said parents can rest assured their sons are being watched.
“I guarantee we are all watching film, and everybody has got film, so you don’t have to go through an outside agency for us to see the film,” he said. “They don’t do stars for what kind of teammate he is, they don’t do stars for what’s two inches under the left side of his chest.
“Play football, be a great teammate and you’re gonna have film.”
Bielema also criticized so-called “star rankings.”
“The part I’d like to make about the star system, I recruited and coached a young man by the name of Russell Wilson, everybody heard of him? Two-star,” Bielema said, referencing the Super Bowl-winning NFL quarterback. “Had another young man that played for me that was a 0-star, his name was J.J. Watt.
“That should tell you right here, that the star system, for most coaches, it is what it is … stars a lot of times are biased, so don’t worry about that too much.”