NLOI (National Letter of Intent) Day!

Tomorrow, high school football players around the country will be signing on the dotted line to play for their respective schools. It is a great time of the year for all involved. It is NLOI (National Letter of Intent) Signing Day. It is covered by major sports affiliates and it begins the process of which college will dominate tomorrow with the stellar high school athletes of today.

With all the hoopla, comes questions….allow me clear some things up for everyone. These are all from questions I have received over the years.

Is Signing Day the only day an athlete can sign with a college?
Absolutely not. It is just the first official day for the seniors to make their commitment official. A scholarship athlete can sign anytime on or after that day. You can literally sign the day you get on campus if you are a late pick-up for a school. The whole Signing Day is just a lot of pomp and circumstance that the media has turned it into an event.

Do Preferred Walk-Ons sign on Signing Day?
No, they do not officially sign anything. However, many schools and parents like to have a simple ceremony that represents signing. A preferred walk-on, although verbally committed to a school is NOT locked into that respective school. They have the option to change their mind to another school at any point if a scholarship comes their way. Not exactly the most kosher thing to do to a coach/program but they would most likely understand. I look at it like this, an athlete not taking a scholarship would be similar to a person not taking a free car and opting to pay for the same car.

If I sign with a college on scholarship, can I adjust after?
Sure, BUT you will lose a year of eligibility. Once you sign, you are done. Don’t even think about transferring as it rarely works out and is an uphill battle to say the least. Think about it, why would a coach want an athlete that could not fit in at their first stop? A transfer athlete always brings up red flags…why is it going to work this time, why did he not get along with players and coaches at the first school, it is a homesick issue, is he a problem case, schooling? All are questions that a new coach is going to want to know about you. Bottom line, make your decision and stick with it.

How do the schools get the athletes signatures? 
Most athletes sign in the early morning and then fax them in to their new home (school).

Why have a Signing Day? 
It is the day your verbal commitment becomes official.

Can a junior that is offered a scholarship sign early?
Nope. They must wait just like the others within his graduating class. All of this waiting around gives way to all the committing and de-committing which coaches and sports writers absolutely love (dripping with sarcasm).

Is it true that scholarships have to be renewed every year by the school?
Yes. This is one of those things that not a lot of people know about but it is true. Every single year, the staff has to renew your scholarship for the next year. Therefore, if you are not producing as an athlete, student or person, your scholarship can not be renewed. It is not very common for it to happen, but I have witnessed it occur. Usually, a social issue is the final straw in saying bye bye to your education being paid for by the school.

All in all, Signing Day is a great thing that should be cherished by all but definitely don’t feel as though it is the end all be all. No matter when you sign, you are still going to be on full scholarship with your school paid for, and that is the most important thing.



Scholarship, Preferred Walk On, Walk On

One of the most common questions that I get asked is, “What is the difference between a scholarship, a preferred walk on, and a walk on athlete?” It is also the most misunderstood statement from coach to family when it comes to the proposed scenarios.  I have written blogs and tweeted on this topic several times.  No matter how often I do so, unfortunately, my point will probably never be understood….until after the fact.  I speak on behalf of experience.  If you want honesty, here it is in it’s briefest form.

Scholarship = No Risk….. at least for 1 semester

Preferred Walk on = High Risk…. but at least you are on the team and in school

Walk on = Try out…. they really don’t want you and probably won’t help you get into school

There are little to zero guarantees when it comes to the opportunity to play college football.  I cannot stress enough that football WILL get you into a college / university that you would not have otherwise gotten into on academics alone.  And, WHEN you take advantage of this opportunity, you will graduate and have a degree that will last for the rest of your life.  So, no matter what, you win, if you are smart and understand that all of this is about education, not football.

Scholarship Specialist
If you truly want to PLAY college football, a scholarship will guarantee you an opportunity to see the field.  Not only will you be awarded financial aid, but you will be given the opportunity to win the job.  The job is yours to lose.  When a school makes an investment in you, they want to see the investment pay off.  College coaches have big egos.  They want to look good when it comes to proving that they made great investments.

When you walk onto campus you will have the respect of your teammates and coaches from Day 1.  Coming in on scholarship is a huge confidence booster.

School is paid for (from a partial to full scholarship depending on the level and individual school).  Every penny counts.  Talk to graduates who had / have student loans (Rubio –

Scholarships are renewable at each quarter/semester.  Most coaches will honor that renewal based on your character and academic performance, not your athletic performance.  Most coaches get it.  Most coaches have a family and kids as well.  They will honor the promise made to you.  It is rare that a scholarship is not seen all the way through to graduation unless you fail in the classroom or off the field.  In short…  be smart and the degree is yours for free or at a discounted price.

You will have every opportunity to see the field.  If you are as good as or even slightly inferior to a walk on, you will play.  Coaches want to see their investment pay off.  Alumni want to see the athletes with “A NAME”.


Preferred Walk On Specialist
Every coach in America will make this option seem like the best option on earth.  Why?  Because they get you for FREE (It is like being hired as an intern vs. being hired as the CEO).  13 years ago when I started my business this is all that kickers, punters, and long snappers were worth.  That is why I started my business.  From approximately 5 D1 scholarships in 1995 to 60+ per year (Low estimate) in 2013.

Things have changed.  I changed them.  Yes, I will take credit.  Vegas, the first ever REAL kicker/punter rankings, and the introduction to long snapping as a position (Rubio – have forever changed the way that specialists are treated.  To accept a preferred walk on over a scholarship is like warping back in time.  You are taking a HUGE risk.


If I had the space and time I could write you a 200 page novel filled with just quotes from specialists and their parents with complaints about the LIES and unfulfilled promises that a college coach told them and/or made to them.  They are not lying, they are recruiting.

The day you walk on campus, you are 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th string.  Everything that the coach promised you goes out the window.  He may not even say hello to you as you walk by.

You have to put in your time and EARN the respect of your teammates and coaches.

You have to be much better than (not equal to or even better than) the scholarship athlete that the coach invested in.

Regarding the timeline that you were promised – Add 2 years to it on average.  Be ready to pay for your education.

Walk On Specialist
This option is nearly non existent in todays day and age.  With the introduction to the internet and 3rd party evaluations (Sailer / Rubio) a walk on is basically a thing of the past.  This means the coach will allow you to try out for the team.  He is basically telling you that you are not good enough.  He is trying to end the communication and get you off the phone.  This works out hardly ever.  No need to go into the advantages and disadvantages.  Is it possible to make a team this way…yes.  It is likely…no.

This blog is not intended to scare you.  It is intended to help you understand that recruiting is exactly that.  Don’t believe everything that you hear.  Each family is different.  Each situation is different.  I have 4 young children (12, 10, 7, and 5).  If they are fortunate enough to become athletes, I am fortunate enough to understand recruiting based on my experiences with thousands of athletes and their families.  Based on what you are looking for, heed my advice and make YOUR choice.  And remember in the end its about that degree.  So no matter what, you will win.

Percentages (My estimate)
Scholarship Specialist: 400 out of 500 see the field
Preferred Walk On Specialist: 100 out of 500 see the field
Walk On: 5 out of 100 make the team
College Degree: 100% up to you no matter how you are recruited.  Once you are in, you are in.

There are many success stories of walk ons and preferred walk ons enjoying success (Your recruiting coach will tell you every one of them).  But for every success story there are 10 stories of failure (Your recruiting coach will not tell you these stories).

One final thought.

Chris Sailer: UCLA, Cut by the San Francisco 49ers
Adam Vinatieri: South Dakota State, NFL All-Pro

The path you choose is up to you.  Depending on what you are looking for and what your ultimate goals are, take the content of this blog into consideration before making your college choice.


Walk-On vs. Preferred Walk-On, What’s the Difference?

In the wide, wide world of College Recruiting, two terms are tossed around quite a bit–the concept of being a walk-on versus being a preferred walk-on. There is an important difference between the two, so we will explore that variance here.

First, the preferred walk-on is most desirable because it means you, as the recruit, have been given the “green light” to both practice with the team and to be on the roster once the season begins. In this scenario, you are absolutely invited to camp, practice and essentially have been guaranteed a roster spot if you choose. One thing to note is, freshmen rarely travel with the team, and the preferred walk-on status is no guarantee that you’ll be awarded a scholarship down the road, but you will have an opportunity to do so.

A Walk-On has a much tougher position because in this case, you will compete to see if you are even good enough to practice with players currently on the roster. Once you’ve proven yourself to the coaches, roster spots and even scholarship opportunities may open up.

To get the type of Professional Kicking and Punting Instruction that will give you a tremendous advantage over other recruits, contact the sought after team at Chris Sailer Kicking.