Football Recruiters List Their Top Highlight Mistakes to Avoid

We sur­veyed col­lege recruit­ing per­son­nel to find out where a high­light video can go wrong and how ath­letes can avoid falling into those traps.

Football Recruiters List Their Top Highlight Mistakes to Avoid

We sur­veyed col­lege recruit­ing per­son­nel to find out where a high­light video can go wrong and how ath­letes can avoid falling into those traps.

We talk plen­ty about the pow­er of a high­light and how it can raise your recruit­ing pro­file. But there are two sides to that coin — a bad high­light video can turn coach­es off and have them look­ing in a dif­fer­ent direction.

A bad high­light can actu­al­ly hurt recruit­ing,” Matt Mueller, Michigan State’s Director of Recruiting, said.

We don’t want that, so we reached out to coach­ing and recruit­ing per­son­nel from Division I to NAIA to get advice on avoid­ing the traps that sub­ma­rine some prospects. Steering clear of these mis­takes will make your high­light more effec­tive, more use­ful and eye-catch­ing to recruiters.

If your high­light hits on any of the fol­low­ing, you should update it ASAP. You nev­er know when your moment to impress a coach could come.

Don’t Use Chronological Order

You might think it makes sense to cre­ate a high­light ear­ly in the sea­son, then sim­ply add more and more plays as the year pro­gress­es. But coach­es will turn off your video in a mat­ter of sec­onds if they’re unim­pressed with your open­ing clips. 

Continually update your high­light so your top plays are first, leav­ing the view­er with a strong first impres­sion. As one FBS Director of Recruiting told us, If your first five plays are aver­age, nobody is watch­ing the next 15.” 

Your best plays may come late in the sea­son, but if you go in chrono­log­i­cal order a coach may nev­er get to see them.

They said it: Put your best plays first. Coaches want some­thing that grabs their atten­tion.” — FBS Director of Player Personnel

Don’t Show the Same Play More Than Once

It can be tempt­ing to show a par­tic­u­lar­ly shifty run or cir­cus-style catch from mul­ti­ple angles, but recruiters only want to see each play once. Again, their time is lim­it­ed, so be quick and impactful. 

This plays back into our first tip — if your video is too long or it bores the view­er, he’ll sim­ply turn it off and move to the next one. The more effi­cient and impact­ful you can make your video, the bet­ter odds you have of keep­ing a coach enter­tained and watch­ing longer.

They said it: “(I dis­like) mul­ti­ple angles of same play, dead space’ in the film.” — Div. III assis­tant coach

Don’t Mess With the Flow

Few things annoy recruiters more than paus­es dur­ing the play. It inter­rupts the action and hin­ders their abil­i­ty to gauge ath­leti­cism. Spotlight your­self before the play so you’re easy to find, then let it run. 

The more flu­id your high­light, the bet­ter coach­es and tal­ent eval­u­a­tors will be able to accu­rate­ly judge your ability. 

On a sim­i­lar note, avoid using slow motion or any­thing that hin­ders the flow of the play. And don’t try to speed the video up to make your­self appear faster. Recruiters have seen all the tricks over the years, and they can tell if the video is altered.

They said it: Highlighting them­selves mid play pre­vents the view­er from see­ing flu­id motion.” — FBS Recruiting Assistant

Don’t Show Cheap Shots or Loafing

Recruiters are turned off when they see big hits that don’t impact the play. They view it as vio­lence for the sake of vio­lence, not help­ing the team. Blowing up a play­er who’s clear­ly not a part of the play is not show­ing you’re a man. Recruiters see that as a lack of character. 

Also, make sure your play­ers are high­light­ing hus­tle and aggres­sive­ness. One FBS Manager of Player Personnel said he com­mon­ly sees ath­letes loaf for half the play, then chase down a ball car­ri­er from behind. It may look impres­sive to the naked eye, but coach­es can see the lazi­ness that start­ed the play, and that makes an impact.

They said it: ““It does not impress me that you can peel back on a lazy line­man 30 yards away from the play. That is not a high­light. That just shows that you decid­ed to be lazy and cheap on that play.” — NAIA Defensive Coordinator

Avoid Multiple Plays Showing the Same Skill

Recruiters want to see vari­ety. Having a series of 60-yard runs to the out­side show­cas­es your speed, but recruiters also need to eval­u­ate if you can read blocks, run between the tack­les and catch the ball. 

Quarterbacks should show­case throws to every branch of the route tree. Linemen should include video of both run and pass blocks, and defen­sive backs should show not just flashy inter­cep­tions, but also instances when they came up and filled well against the run. 

One tal­ent eval­u­a­tor told us that col­leges are look­ing for speed, agili­ty and aggres­sive­ness, in that order. Show off these three qual­i­ties to grab attention.

They said it: Include blocks if you are a wide receiv­er or run­ning back. Quarterbacks should include ball han­dling and scram­bles. Defenders and offen­sive line­men, show effort plays away from ball.” — Thom Boerman, Director of Football Evaluations at 3StepSports

Don’t Sabotage Yourself With Music

Music is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent to any high­light video. It ramps up the action and gets the view­er excit­ed about what they’re about to see. When paired cor­rect­ly, music and high­lights form a per­fect part­ner­ship that engages the audi­ence and enhances the video.

Just under­stand that while your friends and fam­i­ly might love the sick track you laid over your high­light, recruiters don’t. They will like­ly watch the video on mute. Be care­ful though — if the lyrics are ques­tion­able or vul­gar, it can cause them to ques­tion your decision-making. 

It’s cer­tain­ly not wrong to include music with your high­light, but care­ful­ly con­sid­er your song selec­tion before posting.

They said it: Music with lyrics (espe­cial­ly explic­it lyrics)… becomes a dis­trac­tion when watch­ing in a room full of coach­es.” — Div. III assis­tant coach

Before you share your high­light video, make sure you’ve checked all the box­es on this list. This will make your video and you as an ath­lete, more attrac­tive to recruiters for a bet­ter shot at earn­ing schol­ar­ship offers.