Coach Lenny Smith @CoachLennySmith, Defensive Assistant for Villanova Football (Villanova Tops All Division I Schools in Percentage of Teams Earning NCAA Public Recognition Awards for Academic Achievement), sat down to discuss recruiting, how to get your info to coaches, and what they look for in your film.
Coach Smith played at muhlenberg college, worked at muhlenberg for 2 years with the linebackers, then, Cortland as the linebackers coach last year. Now he is working at Villanova as a defensive assistant.
Here is what he had to say:
Nick Pennisi: What should athletes be doing during this stage of the recruiting process?
Coach Smith: Guys right now should be finding out what college coaches are legitimately interested in them to attend their camps. If guys can’t get to a schools camp most of the time staffs are attending multiple camps, see where else certain staffs are attending and try to set something up that way. Once getting to a camp, letting the coaches know how coachable you can be through drills and how you compete in general is huge during recruiting. The live evaluation is big for college coaches. Most of the time we will not be able to get to a game during the year, so getting yourself in front of a staff in the summer is big.
Need to know where you will get interest from? Fill this out http://playmakersource.com/evaluation
Nick Pennisi: What should an athlete do if not yet on your radar?
Coach Smith: Fill out our online questionnaire, email coaches, get in touch with the coach in your recruiting area. Recruiting is a two-way street, you will know when coaches are actively recruiting you, as well as coaches will know when you aren’t that interested.
Nick Pennisi: What are traits you look for in athletes you recruited?
Coach Smith: First we take a look at the grades and test scores of a potential prospect. Once we feel that a student athlete meets our standards academically we then take a look at his skill set, and what type of person he is. Recommendations are huge here, from teachers, coaches, anyone who knows the prospect on a more personal level off the field. If you don’t meet who we want to be off the field it will be hard for us to recruit an athlete.
Nick Pennisi: Do you have cutoffs when it comes to athletes measurements / speed/ agility?
Coach Smith: Yes, speed, weight, and size are different for each position, something we definitely take in to account during the evaluation. However, at the end of the day if you are good football player you will get a chance.
Nick Pennisi: When are your camps and what should athletes do before during after your camp to earn attention?
Coach Smith: Our camp dates are, June 19th, June 26th, and July 21st. Biggest thing to get noticed before would be if there has already been contact between you and a coach on staff to let us know you are attending. We do consistently check our preregistered list to see who will be attending as it gives coaches a chance to review their position. During our camp just be yourself and be coachable. Sometimes a staff will ask you to try another position be open to that, most of the time this is a good thing. Coaches want to see you accel no matter what position you play. After your camp following up with your recruiting coach is important, sometimes these are tough conversations but need to be had.
Nick Pennisi: What are you looking for in an athletes film?
Coach Smith: Explosiveness, versatility, and a skill set that will translate well to college. Each position coach likes to see different things so getting to know what coaches want to see is huge. Biggest mistake I see is the order in which your film is made. Coaches don’t have all day to review films, your most explosive/best plays should be first in line. Make sure you are doing different things. If you are the best player on your team you should be able to play offense and defense.
Nick Pennisi: Also tell me how it goes for you on the road scouting/recruiting how do you plan that how does it start. Got a good story about recruiting a player?
Coach Smith: Biggest thing is getting in contact with a high school coach. High School coaches typically are teaching during the contact periods so giving them a heads up for when you are visiting beforehand helps a lot. Once you get in contact with coaches you can set up your daily schedule when you are out on the road. MOST important thing for recruits is to be in school on time everyday going through your normal routine. We have a small window to meet recruits, so being in school is a priority. As of right now I don’t have any good stories from the road, luckily everything has run pretty smoothly but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes.
Nick Pennisi: Lastly, what do you want athletes to know about Villanova Football?
Coach Smith: The best conference to play football at the FCS level. Villanova specifically is one of the top institutions academically as well as athletically to attend. We compete at a high level in just about every sport here so all the athletes know what it takes to get recognized nationally. Lastly is the effort put forth from the institution towards athletics. Our facilities are phenomenal, as well as the support staff. From the trainers all the way through to the coaches, we look to get the most out of our student athletes all the while making sure they are being taken care of properly.
If you need contact info/twitter names, please reach out to me, @ScoutNickP