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Best players will be found

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 3, 2000


Memo to high school football players:

If you can play, the chances are pretty good college coaches will find you.

"There's so much information out there, it's difficult to go unnoticed," Sunshine Network football analyst Sean Alveshire said.

With the increasing use of videotape and the Internet, athletes are more accessible to college coaches, and exposure is not the problem that it once was, even for those in rural areas.

There are, however, always some exceptions.

"There's always that one case, like (ex-Florida State defensive tackle Andre Wadsworth), who went from being a walk-on to being an All-American," said Rick Kimbrel of PrepStar magazine. "There will always be that; not because of not knowing who the player is, but just not believing he's a Division I guy."

Ex-Crystal River coach Earl Bramlett said that if he learned anything during his 30-plus years in the business, it is that "a (high school) coach cannot get a kid a scholarship, and that's a fact."

What Bramlett means is that beyond filling out paperwork, sending out videotapes and making phone calls to college coaches, high school coaches have nothing to do with deciding which players earn scholarships.

"Parents like to blame coaches, but when a Division I or Division II school doesn't think a kid can play, they won't sign him," Bramlett said. "I've got great contacts, a lot of friends at colleges that will take a call from me any time or place.

"But they'll be honest and say, "That's not what we're looking for.'

Kimbrel said parents who blame coaches for their son's lack of recruitment should take matters into their own hands.

"They don't pay coaches to do that," Kimbrel said. "That's the parents' responsibility. If you think your kid is good enough and isn't getting attention, you've got to take action."

The best action for players is, quite simply, to outplay everybody else. That never changes.

"To be a Division I-A player in this area, you have to dominate ... totally and completely walk out there and dominate," Bramlett said.

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