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 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.
To play football at the college level, you’ll have to work hard both on and off the field because coaches are always looking for well-rounded student-athletes. You’ll also have to get recruiting exposure and make sure you’re getting noticed by college coaches, and that means attending camps and combines where these college coaches evaluate potential recruits.
Since coaches do such a large portion of their recruiting at camps and combines, you’ll want to put your best foot forward and show off what you can do. It can be a nerve-racking experience, with a lot of commotion and pressure to perform. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a series of helpful combine videos featuring NCSA’s own Izell Reese, a former safety who played for University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a seven-year veteran of the NFL, playing for the Cowboys, Broncos and Bills. Follow his tips and see just how much you can improve your football combine results.
This is perhaps the top-drawer event at your combine. It’s all about speed and explosiveness, and college coaches will want to see how quickly you get off the start and move through the 10-, 20- and 40-yard lines.
Measuring lower-body power and explosiveness, the vertical jump is another major combine test for athletes. You’ll stand upright, compress and see how high you can get off the ground.
Much like the vertical jump, the broad jump also measures lower-body strength and explosiveness while adding an element of balance. You’ll start from a balanced stance and jump out forward as far as you can.
Measuring athletes’ maneuverability and agility, the 3-cone drill tests your ability to change directions at a high speed. You’ll run forward 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, you’ll turn back and run around the second cone before running a weave around the third cone, changing directions, and coming back around the second cone to the finish.
This drill tests your lateral quickness and explosion in a short space. You’ll start in the three-point stance, explode out 5 yards to your right, touch the line, go back 10 yards to your left, touch the line, pivot, and run 5 more yards to the finish.
Make sure to follow up
After you crush your tests, your combine experience isn’t actually over yet. Coaches may have noticed you during the testing, but there are many other athletes at each event. You’ll want to reach out to them with your verified results, share your highlight video 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