College football camps are well known for being a money maker for coaches. It is easy to see why when it is not uncommon to see the participation of up to three hundred prospective athletes in a single one day camp. However, most of the programs also use these camps to evaluate prospects athleticism, skills and fundamentals in order to make a final determination on whether an offer is warranted and to identify potential recruiting targets. There are several different types of individual college football camps- One Day Camps, Satellite Camps, Multi-Day Camps, and Elite Camps.
- One Day Camps are by far the most popular for college football programs. These camps are used almost exclusively for prospect evaluation. If you are attending one of these camps you can expect to spend the day participating in drills that will help coaches evaluate your potential as a college football player. Different variations of the one day camps may include a Big Man Camp or a Skills Camp.
- Elite Football Camps are often promoted with personal invites from coaches to their higher rated prospects and generally have a smaller number of participants than the typical one day camp. However, they are open to anybody that is willing to pay the fee and are usually not much different than any other individual camp. To amp up the excitement level these camps often held under the lights. If you choose to attend an elite camp without the personal invite of a coach be sure to contact your position coach or the recruiting coordinator to let them know you will be attending. You do not want to show up to one of these camps and feel like the odd man out.
- Satellite Camps are really just a one day camp held at an off campus location. They allow college coaches the opportunity to travel and work as guest coaches at other institutions. These often take place at other colleges or even high schools. This gives coaches the advantage of seeing more prospects in a region or around the country while giving prospective student athletes greater a greater opportunity to be evaluated or discovered. They are particularly beneficial for athletes and families that may not have the financial means to travel all over the country attending camps at different college campuses. Satellite camps have been in the news a lot lately because the NCAA in an ill-advised move recently banned the practice, but quickly reversed the decision when there was an overwhelming public outcry to such an outright ban. A least for now these camps remain an important piece of the recruiting process.
- Multi-Day Camps have seen a decline in popularity over the past few years. While coaches will also use these camps for evaluation, they are more focused on improving your skills and fundamentals. However, it is not unusual for a prospect to attend just one day of a multi-day camp in order to get evaluated. If a school only offers a multi-day camp or if you have been invited to one of these camps, we recommend contacting the camp coordinator, recruiting coordinator or a coach to see if they will prorate the cost of attending the camp for just one day.
The activities and drills for the different individual camps are pretty standard. Obviously, because of the extended duration the Multi-Day Camps will have a lot more time to work with the athletes.
Here is a rundown of what to expect from a typical day at camp:
- Personal Measurements- Almost all camps will start the day by recording your height and weight. This serves a couple of purposes. First, most coaches have a range for height and weight that they consider to be ideal for playing at their level and for being a good fit for their offensive or defensive schemes. Second, they want to confirm that an athlete’s height and weight are similar to the reported height and weight they have been previously provided. A big variance, high or low, in the actual measurements can be a red flag for coaches.
- Speed, Agility & Quickness Drills- SAQ drills a typically the next phase of a college camp. These drills can vary from camp to camp, but there are several standard tests that you can expect to face. The 40 yard dash, Vertical Jump, and Pro Agility Drill are part of almost every camp. Other common SAQ drills you may see could include the L-Drill, Broad Jump, 20 yard Dash, and a variety of other drills using cones or pads. The purpose of these drills from the coaches’ perspective is to get a better feel for your speed and athleticism. While a poor performance in these drills will not completely derail your chances at being recruited, they are a critical piece of the evaluation process. That is why it is important for any prospective athlete to be well rested and well prepared for these drills.
- Individual Drills- Camps will usually break into individual position drills after the SAQ testing. These will include some more position specific agility drills and technique drills.
- One on One Drills- These drills will be your first chance to match up against another athlete. If you are a Running Back or Tight End you will probably be matched up against the linebackers. Wide Receivers will be matched up against Defensive Backs. Offensive Lineman will be matched up against Defensive Lineman. There may also be variations of the one on one drills that include two, three or even more players on each side of the ball.
- 7 on 7 and Big Man Competition- Many camps will end the day with some sort of 7 on 7 tournament for the skill players and a Big Man competition for the lineman. These competitions serve several purposes. First, they give the coaches a chance to see the competiveness of the athletes. Second, they can further evaluate a player’s skills and fundamentals. Third, they can see if any players step up to show leadership qualities. Finally, they are a fun way to end a hard day of work.
- College football camps have two primary purposes. First, they are used for evaluation. Second, they are designed to make money.
- Camp organizers and coaches will invite hundreds and hundreds of high school athletes to attend their college camp. A camp invite does not necessarily mean you are being recruited. The more participants they have the more money they make.
- Don’t expect to get “Discovered” at a college camp. Coaches are usually focused on evaluating the players they have brought to camp for just that purpose. You have a much better chance of being noticed if you contact the coach before you attend camp to let him know you will be attending and would like an evaluation.
- Most summer college football camps, especially the larger schools, have college coaches from several different schools for varied levels coaching and evaluating prospects. So, even if you are not a fit for the school hosting the camp, you may catch the attention of coaches from other programs.
- Coaches only need one day to evaluate your potential as a prospect. If you have been asked to attend a multi-day camp for evaluation it is probably only necessary for you to attend one day of the camp. Multi-day camps can be prorated. For example, if a three day camp is $300 you would only be required to pay $100 to attend one of the days.
- Coaches are watching more than just your skills and fundamentals. They are looking for winners, watching your attitude and identifying leaders.
- Coaches are there to evaluate you. Don’t be afraid to ask for their evaluation at the end of camp. They will be more than happy to give it to you.
- A poor performance with the speed and agility testing will not kill your chances of being recruited, but it will make it a more difficult. Make sure you are well rested and prepared.
- Coaches are not just watching your on the field performance. You are being evaluated from the moment you step in line to check-in to camp to the moment you pack you gear and leave the field.
- Very few offers are actually handed out during or just after a college camp. Coaches will often need to meet and discuss their player evaluations before extending an offer.
Do you have any further tips or advice on what prospective student athletes should know about the summer football camp season? We would love to hear about them in our comments section. If you are still looking for a camp check out the athletic page for your target schools. You can also find list of camps organized by state on Epic Sports. And as always, if you found this article helpful and think it is worthy of a share, please click on the Facebook or Twitter icons below.