Based on statistics, approximately 6.8 percent of high school football players go on to compete in the collegiate ranks, a rate that includes both Division II and III programs. The rate shrinks significantly if only athletes at Division I programs are considered.
Those numbers mean nothing for All Saints High School in Forth Worth, where a full 10 percent are headed on to Division I football programs. That’s 10 percent of the school’s entire senior class, not 10 percent of their football playing seniors.
As profiled by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, All Saints’ 10-man 2018 Class includes two signees to Oklahoma and Rice and one each to Texas, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, SMU, Air Force and Dartmouth. Of those 10, just one (Dartmouth signee John Paul Flores) is headed to a FCS program outside the FBS top flight.
While some critics have pooh-poohed All Saints’ collegiate pipeline by claiming the school is an active recruiter of talent, All Saints officials insist that isn’t the case. Rather, they say the academic rigors of the school both limits the scope of student athletes they take in while also making those athletes more attractive to college coaches who know they will qualify to compete at the next level.
“We’re not mercenary,” All Saints coach Aaron Beck told the Star-Telegram. “Do we just take seniors on a whim? No. We’re a strong college prep school where academics come first.
“What I’ve found over the last 15 years is that in our sector, where test scores are generally higher, it’s easier to get kids into college. I wake up 10 years later and we’ve built a program that colleges are very comfortable with. Our kids are qualifiers and they’re typically not academic risks.”
The message? All Saints isn’t an IMG Academy or Prolific Prep of the basketball world. It’s a full-blown brick and mortar institution where students are just as focused on academics as football, if not much more so.
Of course, all of that makes All Saints’ recruiting success all the more unique and remarkable. More notable still? The current 2018 crop of players is allegedly hardly alone; Beck said past classes have included as many as 17 Division I signees.
“The way we practice, prep, get ready throughout the course of the year is just like a college,” Beck told the Star-Telegram. “When our kids get to college, the coaches say the kids come in strong and ready.”