Well, the NFL is about start, and many of you are going into your senior year. Your college career has gone by really fast, which is normal. Well I thought I would compile a list of draft notes for kids coming out to keep in mind, and to remember especially if you are going into your senior season. I just want you to be better prepared for this opportunity of a lifetime.
I go into rants at least 5 times a year because I see something new every year that upsets me. Listen as most of you know, I have been assisting with small school football players for years now, and have built an empire around trying to bless small school football players with knowledge and getting them more exposure.
While anyone can talk up a starting quarterback from USC or Clemson, how many can talk up a quarterback from Henderson State? So if you are a small school football player, these are a few things you have to keep in the back of your mind because this is your life.
ENTERING THE NFL DRAFT FOR SMALL SCHOOL ATHLETES
You are in your final year, you have had a very successful junior year and are preparing for the NFL, what do you do now though? First off, be patient!
If you are a good enough player to play in the NFL you will know, scouts will be calling you, agents will be blowing up your facebook, and twitter accounts and your phone might not stop ringing during the season. But there are some things you need to understand first, before talking to them.
1. How many players from Stony Brook, Saginaw Valley State, or Jackson State went in the first round? Not many, so when you hear someone (Family or an Agent) saying this, they are blowing smoke up your butt. Don’t listen to people from the outside that don’t even know who Joe Montana is . Use common sense, it will get you through this process very stress free.
2. When agents hit you up, and tell you they have BLANK amount of players in the NFL, your first question should not be who do you have?, but rather are you NFLPA certified? That is the most important question, because as of June 1st, 2012, the NFLPA put a rule in place (with the exception of JAY-Z), that says you have to speak with the NFL certified agent first. If a person that is not certified is contacting you, is the NFL certified agent really serious about you? Does he know who Joe Montana is? Ask yourself these questions….
Highlight Tapes – I will put that here because if you have highlight films, that is awesome. If you don’t get them. If you can get your hands on film early it will benefit you. I am not talking about a game or two, I am talking about every game and full length videos. That is what scouts want, they want running time videos, not just your best plays. Even though that helps, running film is better.
3. YOUR COACH- Listen while I love some coaches, sometimes they do not have your best interest. I have watched coaches not allow players to participate in their Pro Days, and force players to accept an agent who they might have dealt with before or are signed by. Listen it is your life, pick who you believe is the best option, don’t listen to others. GO WITH YOUR HEART.
The agent process is sometimes harder than playing football. You need to pay attention to the little things. If you have a child or a niece/nephew, would you leave your family member with that Agent for an hour? If you question yourself, how can you expect that person to help you with your process? You obviously do not trust him or her too much, just saying.
4. If your intentions in the NFL Draft are to make money, and not play football, go ahead and hang up your cleats now. This is a job and just like any job, you have to work to be great at what you do. If you think because you transferred from another school or you were an All-American that means nothing to some. So remember money is nothing, a career is what it comes down to, are you interested in making a lump sum or a lifetime of assets?
Many prospects will select an agent based on where they are sending them to train or how much money (Stipend) they are going to receive. Well that is not always going to get you the best results. There are 900 plus NFLPA certified agents and many of them do not have clients (This is not bad), but you might want to find out if they have connects in the industry. What did you do before you were an agent? These are important questions.
5. Many agents will promise you the world, saying they will pay for training, give you money in lump sums and whatever promises they can come up with. My answer to you again, is use your common sense. If I come up to you and give you 15,000 dollars, and you sign with me, but eventually you feel I am not doing my job and you feel you made a wrong decision, guess what? You have to pay me back my 15,000 dollars when you sign with a new agent, it is about morals. If you take something you give it back. So my advice is don’t take money, because in a few months you will have it in weekly installments which are all yours (NFL CHECKS). LONGEVITY PEOPLE, LONGEVITY.
6. If you have questions about the NFL Draft or NFL Draft Process, there is an amazing video on the Draft Process. It is called “The Late Rounders”. I recommend it to every football player. If you want to see the NFL Draft Process, it is right there, it is a story about 5 NFL Players on their path to the NFL. You will be amazed from what you can learn by watching it. Here is the trailer:
7. When picking an agent, you might be confused. You might be lost, but guess what, don’t let your family make your decision because they are not the ones that deal with the agent on a daily basis, YOU ARE. You are a grown man by now, you graduated college or damn near graduated college. So I recommend you let it play out, and find three guys you like the best. Sit down with them three then remember this important fact.
Hypothetically speaking, If you were to go into a club or bar with those three guys you met with, which one would stick up for you? Let’s say a massive lumberjack guy comes up to you and picks a fight with you, which of those three are going to stand up and blast him in the head with a beer bottle? I know this is a horrible story, but let’s be real, if they are not willing to fight for their investment, are they going to fight for yours? You are their investment, they better if they want it to work.
8. When meeting with your NFL teams, maybe a scout comes to your school. What do you do? Well first off act yourself, don’t try to be something your not. Just be yourself because your true colors will come out eventually and could potentially hurt you. So when the conversation is over, ask the scout if you can have his contact information. Ask him for his business card, because you might not be drafted. If you don’t get drafted and fire your agent, what do you do? Well if you have those business cards, reach out to them yourself. You will find out if your agent is really working or not. If you get an invite to a camp because you picked up the phone, 99 percent of the time your agent was not working.
9. You can fire your agent at any time, and look for another, but remember this. If you want to fire your agent there are time constraints. If you fire your agent before the draft you have to wait 5 days before hiring a new agent. If you owe that agent money, you might be forced to pay back that “JUST DEBT”. So some agents might not be interested especially if that debt is a lot. All you have to do is get in contact with the NFLPA office and send them a letter of termination. It is simple, you can put you feel they were not in your best interest and you felt they didn’t do a good job. That is it folks, simple. Sign your name and call it a day.
Now if you want to hire a new agent, YOU as a PLAYER have to contact another agent, if an agent contacts you while you are already signed by an agent that is a violation. But if YOU contact him, via text or phone call, it is ok. Because he didn’t reach out to you first, you contacted him.
10. If you are a player and want to find an agent that might fit your mold, think about who your dealing with. I know scouts, NFL agents, and NFL media that all are on twitter. So if you are on their and smoking a “J” or drinking a forty in your twitter AVI, it’s time for a new one. If your name is @IKillThaPu**y then you probably should change your name. Remember you are your brand, if you want to sell yourself as a dork and loser, then keep doing what your doing. Remember your back is against the wall already, because of your small school status, don’t help them bury you.
Also the same way media and agents are following you to see how you act, do the same to them. I mean follow the agent back, see what he is talking about. If he is talking reckless or you feel he doesn’t communicate well with others, you know what you are getting into. That is a good idea, because you can see his real self.
This is just part 1, I have so much more to enlighten you too, but please follow me on twitter and let’s talk more.I tell the truth at all times, I don’t hold back, and I will call out a snake when I see it, so make sure your following.
As you know, I came out with a part one in which I really wanted to focus on getting out the most important things you need to know. We came out with an article similar for last years draft class, and this is what I heard from agents and scouts that I respect:
If you are putting out an article about Agents lying you shouldn’t, I love them lying because it makes my case easier to fight. – Prestigious Agent
You need to explain a little bit more about guys like Drew Rosenhaus and the Jay Z’s of the world. – Another up and coming Agent
It is great that you are putting this article together for small schoolers, but you need to make it for every football player, because there are some great points. – AFC East Scout
If a kid doesn’t know that much by now, he is hurting. I thought that was the most obvious stuff ever. I guess you really need to look at what your dealing with though, Great Stuff – NFC North Scout
Dang, I see you dropping the Knowledge Leg Drop – A very good personal trainer for NFL clients
So as you can see, I had some feedback from people that I respect, but more importantly there is more information that needs to be dropped, so let’s begin.
1. Pro Days – Don’t lie about your times, it will all come out anyway. Last year I watched national media lie about a persons forty time saying he ran a 4.45 but when I talked to NFL Scouts the kid ran a 4.60 forty. That is no where near a 4.45. So if you have been timed you can state how fast you are that is fine, but don’t say your a 4.3 guy when you run a 4.5. That looks bad, actually worse than you think it does.
You also need to consider this. If you play college ball at let’s say Gardner Webb University. There is a rule in place where that school could let you participate in Wake Forest’s pro day since it is within a certain distance (ask an agent for exact distance). That does not mean they have to let you in, some will but some are scared you might out shine their player. Most agents know about this so bring it up to them. Remember will there be more scouts at the Wake Forest pro day or the Gardner Webb pro day?
2. All Star Games – Some of you small schoolers will be given a shot to play in an All Star Game, but if you don’t get invited don’t lose faith if you are not selected. You don’t always need a spot to play to get your name out there. If your film is good they will find you.
3. Regional Combines are your friend. If you are not invited to an All Star game, and you play at a small school, you need to get into a Regional Combine held by the NFL. Regional Combines are ran by former NFL scouts. They are the ones that chose you to go to the Super Regional. It helps, a couple years ago K.J. Stroud (Bethune-Cookman WR) made a name for himself after tearing it up at the Regionals. You can benefit from it, and it costs nickels and pennies to a dollar. If you have watched Undrafted on the NFL Network, that is what those kids did. It works if you believe you have talent.
4. What are the best All Star Games and Why?
I am bias, I am going to tell you the East/West Shrine is the best, because I was able to help them out but I will be a realist this time.
There are several good games that have assisted in putting players in the NFL, CFL and AFL. They are Senior Bowl, East/West Shrine Game, NFLPA Game, Tropic Bowl and then the rest are a crab shoot.
Any of these events can help you get your name out there, all will have scouts in attendance, so if invited it can definitely help your stock if you come out and shine.
One last thing, it is not about the GAME. NFL SCOUTS DO NOT STAY FOR THE GAME. They watch the practices, so ball out in the practices. If you do great there, they already know what you will do in the game.
5. Coaches, AGAIN – Remember I am not a hater of a coach, but they sometimes put their nose in places that don’t help the player. Coaches do not always have your best interest, I had a kid a few years ago, that was given a combine invite to the NFL Combine, he was never notified of the invitation. He was contacted later on to find out that the coaching staff never gave it to him. Trust me when I say this, some are not always your best friend. Would you be mad if you missed the underwear Olympics?
6. Get use to this saying “LEVEL OF COMPETITION”. You should hate this saying by now. If you don’t you will. I hate this saying because it doesn’t matter where you play if YOU CAN PLAY. I don’t care if you are a USC Trojan or a Lane College Dragon, it’s about heart. If you want it more you will make a roster.
7. HBCU players – You guys have a huge uphill battle, but there are tons of scouts that came from the HBCU. Another great thing is many of the HBCU coaches or coaching staff have been in the NFL during some point in their career. The HBCU is a prestigious league and players don’t go unnoticed that often. So when people say is it harder to make it pro from the HBCU schools, my answer is “NO”. You can make it, it is harder to make it to the NFL from Division 3.
8. Agents – Small schoolers ask me all the time, how do I know if I have the right agent, or who is a better fit for me? I really don’t know how to answer this. To be honest, I think you should feel comfortable with your decision. Don’t make your decision based off money, or media. Make your decision based off of who is the best person that fits your needs. Not all agents mess with small school kids.
Just because a guy has a big name, it doesn’t mean he is the best business man. This is your future, if your bankrupt 2 years after football, he was not the best agent. This is about your future, think about your decisions.
9. The NFL is everyone’s dream, BUT if you don’t make it don’t panic. Many great football players came from different leagues. Fred Jackson of Buffalo came from the Indoor Football League, Kurt Warner came from the Arena Football League, and Cam Wake came from the Canadian Football League. So if you don’t get your shot the first go around, try to get an opportunity and get more film to prove your worth. You will get a shot somewhere if you are hungry enough.
10. Probably about 10 percent of you will listen to this two part article, and that is fine, but I promise you the 10 percent that listens will have a better NFL career than those that don’t. Football is a game of fun and excitement not a game of getting ripped off and taken. Be smart in this process, put the big man first, and believe in your work, and you will prosper.
Small School football players have to overcome the toughest uphill battle. There back is truly against the wall. While many will give up when their back is against the wall, few will turn to the wall and ask for assistance. If you ask for help, you will receive it. So when your back is against the wall, what will you do? Will you run away, or will you face it?
That decision is yours, Good Luck to all of you this year and prove ’em WRONG.