what’s the ke Y to getting a college scholarship offer? Get noticed. How does a high school player get noticed? Good ques-
tion. It’s an often-used expression, ‘If you’re
good enough, they’ll find you regardless of
where you go to school.’
That applies for kids like Grayson junior
Mykelle McDaniel. When McDaniel, a 6-4,
265-pound defensive lineman, was a fresh-
man, everybody was coming to the Loganville
school to see Robert Nkemdiche, then the
nation’s No. 1 player. Last season McDaniel
played alongside Justin Young, a senior this
season that committed to Georgia in the spring.
McDaniel didn’t have to go anywhere to make
a name for himself.
“I never felt the need to go to any camps or
Multiple Routes to Land on Map
combines,” McDaniel said. “Here at Grayson, all
the scouts were coming to me.”
For that, McDaniel did his part. He proved
himself to be a good player, one worthy of being
recruited. He took advantage of the opportunity.
The process doesn’t work that way for every-
body. Some players that want exposure have to
generate it otherwise. One way to do that - go to
camps. That’s just what Forrest Evans did.
Evans is a rising junior at Walton High School
in Marietta, Ga. While there’s been no shortage
of talent to come from that area, Evans was
overshadowed instead of discovered. He didn’t
sit back and let himself get passed over. Instead,
the 2016 OL prospect took to the summer camp
circuit. The first camp Evans ever attended was
the MVP Camp at Central Gwinnett High School.
That June morning, Evans showed up to make
a name for himself. Upon his mother’s discov-
ery of the camp on Twitter, Evans decided this
would be a good chance to put his name on the
recruiting boards. That’s exactly what he did,
winning the camp’s top offensive lineman hon-
ors in just his first individual camp appearance.
“It was fun, I learned a lot [and] I loved the
one-on-ones,” Evans said. “I’m going to other
college camps this summer. I’m starting off with
Alabama two weeks from now; probably go to
Georgia and some other schools.”
The recruiting attention picked up shortly
after. He, along with North Clayton safety and
the MVP Camp’s top defensive back, Kindle
Vildor, both gained momentum after their performances at Central Gwinnett.
“I think you always find guys like that at these
kinds of camps,” MVP Camp Director Chad Sim-
mons said. “A lot of exposure. The name’s going
to be out there. He didn’t have a profile page on
Scout — he does now.”
Showing up is half the battle. That’s what
schools want to see, and that’s precisely what
Evans plans to continue doing. No matter what
though, whether scouts are coming to you or
you’re going to them, Evans pinpoints the most
important factor for getting noticed.
“Just keep working,” Evans said. – ethan Burch
“I NEVER FELT THE NEED TO GO TO ANY CAMPS OR COMBINES. HERE AT GRAYSON, ALL THE SCOUTS WERE
COMING TO ME.” — GRAYSON DL MYKELLE MCDANIEL
For Grayson’s Mykell McDaniel (left), the scouts
came to him. Forrest Evans hit the camp circuit
to make a name for himself. Both ended up
generating plenty of recruiting exposure.
TheRe’s PLent Y of asPects coL- lege coaches look for when searching the high school landscape for prospec- tive players. Speed. Skill. Toughness.
Heart. The list goes on and on.
At times, though, it seems like it’s not a good
thing if academics are mentioned with a specific
recruit. Academics, for those not in good standing in terms of grade point average, or SAT or ACT
scores, could be the reason a player isn’t recruited.
In other words, everything thing else imaginable can check out. If the grades don’t, scholarship offers won’t be extended.
Sure, it helps if a player has a 4.0 and scores
in the high 20s on the ACT. Georgia has sent a
handful of recruits to Stanford in recent years,
with Woodward senior Arrington Farrar set to
sign with the Cardinal in February.
But that’s rare, even for students who don’t
devote time to an extracurricular activity like
When grades slip, that’s when leadership
kicks in. It almost happened to Coffee County
senior tight end Jalen Wilkerson.
It’s not that his grades were terrible, but he
didn’t excel during his freshmen year, either. It
was a potential red flag, the effects of which
were still on the horizon. That’s when one of his
coaches sat him down and told him he could be
costing himself the chance of a lifetime.
With everything going in his favor — 6-2, 220
pounds and full of raw ability — Wilkerson was
Good Grades Are Important
TE, Coffee County risking everything by not having his academics
“I just didn’t realize how important it was,”
he said. “College seemed like a long time away,
and I didn’t take it seriously.”
That quickly changed and he put in the work
to fix it. Three years later, with his grades where
they needed to be, essentially every school in
the South recruited him.
He picked Florida State at the end of May.
“It’s just like football, you’ve got to practice
and work at it,” Wilkerson said of his studies.
“After I started doing that, it came easy.”
It all comes down to accountability. Tucker
head coach Bryan Lamar says there has to be
a structure for that when dealing with teenage
kids. The players have to put in the work. The
coaches have to set up a reward/penalty system. The parents/guardians have to be involved.
“If you don’t get the grades, you’re not going
to play,” Lamar said. “We’ve got a couple kids
[who had to sit out spring practice]. … It starts
at home. Sometimes I tell these kids, stop fighting success.” – fletcher Page
“IT STARTS AT HOME. SOMETIMES I TELL THESE KIDS, STOP FIGHTING SUCCESS.” — TUCKER COACH BRYAN LAMAR
Coffee County’s Jalen Wilkerson made himself
into a serious student during the course of his high
school career. His full ride to Florida State wouldn’t
have been possible had he not.