USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Joe Leccesi is a former college athlete and coach at the NAIA level, where he earned an NAIA National Championship. Joe is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
Looking for the right college football camp to attend in 2019? College football camps and showcases are a great way to increase your exposure and get evaluated by coaches. To find a camp near you, check out NCSA’s list of 2019 college football camps and showcases. This list of nearly 800 football camps covers every NCAA Division I FBS, Division 1 FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College camp in the country. Each camp on our list includes the camp name, state, division, age/grade level and cost.
Read more: Complete list of 2019 college football camps
Which 2019 college football camp is right for you?
If you are serious about playing football for a particular school, you should plan on attending a football camp there or finding camps where that coaching staff will be working. It is common for Division II, Division III and NAIA coaches to volunteer at major Division I football camps. In both cases, attending a football camp gives you an opportunity to meet the coach, workout in front of them and show them you are a serious recruit.
What are the five main types of football camps?
One-day evaluation camps: college coaches typically only invite their top recruits to these football camps. One-day evaluation camps typically feature 7-on-7 challenges, 1-on-1 challenges and combine-style drills. Since coaches are already heavily recruiting athletes at these camps, a strong performance can lead to a scholarship offer. Before going, make sure you’re at full health and ready to compete against the best of the best.
Football showcase camps: These invite-only events are reserved for the best football players in the country. They are usually hosted by third parties like Rivals 3 Stripe Camps. Football showcase camps usually include 7-on-7 challenges, 1-on-1 challenges and position-specific drills. Athletes who attend football showcases typically receive media coverage to build their online presence.
7-on-7 camps: These increasingly popular camps focus on technique, learning a playbook/system and lots of scrimmaging. 7-on-7 camps are a great way to continue playing football and collect highlight footage in the offseason. They can be hosted either by college programs or third parties.
Specialist camps: Specialist football camps give kickers, punters and long snappers an opportunity to receive instruction and work on their technique. While specialist camps are occasionally hosted by college coaches, they are usually organized by third parties. Volunteer coaches and special teams coaches often attend these camps to scout out potential recruits.
Development and skill-building camps: These camps are typically geared toward underclassmen. Development and skill-building camps give young football players a chance to get highlight video, develop varsity-level skills and experience a taste of college. They feature position-specific drills, 1-on-1 challenges and smaller group instruction. Assistant coaches often attend to evaluate prospects.
What does a football camp invitation mean?
If a camp invite is part of a larger conversation with that coach, it’s safe to say that you received a more personalized invite. If the camp invite is generic, you probably aren’t on the coach’s radar yet. Always respond promptly to a camp invite — even if you can’t go. Arrange another time for the coach to watch you compete or send over your most recent highlight video to view.
Prepare for your 2019 college football camp
Before the camp, make sure to do your research. Certain events require specific preparation. If you know you’ll be doing lots of 1-on-1 drills, grab a teammate and practice. If you plan on running the 40-yard dash, practice your start to shave a few milliseconds off your time.
During the camp, use your time wisely to build relationships with coaches. Don’t feel intimidated — coaches know you’re nervous. If the coach is interested in you as a recruit, they might also be nervous. Make it a point to introduce yourself and explain why you want to play for their program.
Follow up after the camp
Ride the momentum of your 2019 college football camp by following up with coaches. After the camp is over, reach out to the coach and send over any new verified stats or highlight video. Thank them for the opportunity and ask for feedback on which skills you need to improve. Keep the conversation going by telling them about your athletic development and any upcoming football events.
Read more: How to email college coaches