College Sports

February 4, 2014

Arlington coaches work overtime to connect athletes to recruiters, colleges

The school district expects at least 33 players to sign letters of intent Wednesday.

When a college football coach visits Arlington Martin to scout a recruit, everything is provided for him.

The coach is handed a profile packet that includes the player’s transcript, contact information and his height, weight and statistics.

But the coach already knows because he has been sent a link to Martin’s recruiting website, which contains video highlights for each player to supplement the basic information. Martin coach Bob Wager and his staff update this site weekly.

The process is much easier now that video can be shared over the Internet. But not even eight years ago Wager remembers burning DVD after DVD and mailing them to coaches across the country.

That process could only begin, of course, after Wager and his staff called every football playing college in the country — NCAA, NAIA and junior college — a process that took two weeks.

On Wednesday, the Arlington school district will honor at least 33 football players, if not more, from six high schools who will sign their National Letter of Intent to play football in college. Ten will play for FBS programs. Two are ranked in the ESPN National Recruiting Top 300.

“We try to make it as convenient for those college coaches as possible, because if we’re on the top of our game, they are going to come back,” Wager said.

While Wager and Martin might have perfected the process of hooking the college coaches, it takes a collaboration to send that volume of players to the next level.

“You give a kid one year as a ninth-grader to get used to high school and by their sophomore year we have to start marketing these kids,” said Arlington schools athletic director O.J. Kemp. “Not only do we want these kids to play for us for four years, we want them to get a college education.”

The district’s football coaches meet once a week through the school year, where college coach visits are discussed and players with collegiate potential are leveraged to the group.

“Ironically, while we’re all competing with one another, at the same time we use each other as a resource to get those kids into a school,” Wager said.

Of the 33 expected to sign Wednesday, only five will come from Martin, although defensive ends Myles Garrett and Justin Hollins are ranked among the top 100 in Texas.

“It changes their life,” Wager said. “It changes his life. It changes his parents’ life and it changes their future children’s lives. If he gets into school and he graduates and doesn’t have any student loans and gets to do a job he wants to do for the rest of his life instead of a job he has to do, the chances are they’ll have a better life.”

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