One of the most stressful times for a high school athlete is the daunting task of landing a scholarship and finding the right college.
When it comes to football, the stakes are even higher.
And so is the price tag.
What to do, when to start, and how to get your name out there in an ultra-competitive field are just a few of the questions weighing on the minds of college-bound players and Division I hopefuls.
But thankfully, Colorado is home to a unique company catered toward helping ease the minds of families embarking on a scary recruiting journey.
Tim Jenkins, the founder and CEO of Jenkins Elite, has created custom training and recruiting programs for Colorado-based football players who want to play at the next level. Jenkins and his staff of former athletes and NFL players hope to advise families and athletes on what they wished they’d known in high school about how to maximize their training and the dos and don’ts of recruiting.
Jenkins Elite has a train-first philosophy and an application process before accepting new clients. They look for athletes with the talent and physical requirements, and most importantly, the dedication to reach their goals.
“I think getting a Division I scholarship, specifically at quarterback, is like trying to become a brain surgeon,” Jenkins said. “That’s what it feels like right now because it’s so competitive.”
According to Jenkins, dedication and work ethic are important qualities in a top-tier athlete, especially in football. Those who commit to becoming a Division I player must sacrifice some normal-life experiences for high school students.
“Committing to getting to the college level, versus doing what people think you should be doing as a 17 year old kid, that’s difficult,” Jenkins said. “These kids want something special. With that, you don’t have a normal summer.”
Jenkins’ work training athletes makes his group unique from other recruiting companies, which cost families upwards of $5,000 to have a guru contact coaches on the athletes’ behalf.
“From the recruiting aspect, I think absolutely a family can do it on their own,” Jenkins said. “I would not pay anyone money to send emails for me. There’s much better investments.”
While Jenkins says athletes contacting coaches directly by sending emails with highlight reels and character references is vastly important to the process, athletes must also be sure that their skill level is up to par.
“For every hour you spend emailing coaches we should probably do two to three hours of skill development to make sure that your skill set is going to match what these coaches want to see,” Jenkins said.
For some athletes the process of specialized training can start as early as 7th grade due to advanced body development and maturity, but others may not be ready for recruiting profiles and college camps until later in high school, according to Jenkins.
“That’s exactly who I was. I was the kid wasn’t going to be on anyone’s map until my senior year,” said Jenkins, who was a four-year starting quarterback at Fort Lewis College, and a former quarterback with the St. Louis Rams and Calgary Stampeders. “A lot of things in the early process is out of their control - physical development and maturity. There’s kind of a catchall rule that you should be going to camps the summer before your junior year. And anything before that is based on development.”
Every athlete is different, and each recruiting experience is unique, but dedication and skill set are two of the most important items to remember for aspiring college football players.
Read more about the recruiting process in our exclusive Gazette Preps Jenkins Elite Q&A.