Only on CBS4: the secret to getting an athletic scholarship

Recruiting app

If you want a scholarship to play college sports, listen up! There's probably nothing more satisfying for a parent than getting to watch your son or daughter sign a letter of intent to play college ball, but how exactly does that happen?

Some athletes like Santiago Reyes will go to any length to ink a college scholarship.

"I paid $3,000," Reyes said. “Now you can pay for recruiters. It’s more direct and you don’t have to rely on a, ‘maybe I’ll get seen.’ “

During his sophomore year Reyes found an online national recruiting service, well known amongst high school athletes, called NCSA (Next College Student Athlete). Reyes claims he didn’t get much playing time on his Del Valle soccer teams yet still managed to receive scholarship offers from several division-one universities before committing to an NAIA program.

“It gave me insight on how to talk to coaches and how often I needed to talk to them and what was the proper way talk to them,” he explained.

If you can afford it, the right recruiting service can be a big help in simplifying a grueling process putting game film together and contacting college coaches; however, most of these things can be done on one's own with a little extra leg work. It may just depend on who your varsity coach is.

“It definitely has to come from the head coach first,” said Julio Lopez, who is both the athletics director as well as the varsity head football coach at Eastwood High School. “What my job is, it should be every high school coaches job, is to try to get the kid as much exposure as possible - helping them understand the process, talking to them about options, about making their highlight film, about all of the little things.”

Senior Bobby Minjarez was one of Lopez’s wide receivers this year, one of the best in El Paso at that. He’s still uncommitted so coach is helping him finish his highlight tape using a free mobile software program called HUDL. It’s a tool the Ysleta & El Paso school districts pay tens-of-thousands of dollars to provide for every sport, at no cost, for all of their student-athletes. Minjarez says he paid $1,500 to use the recruiting service PrepStar. He told CBS4 he wishes he could have a do-over with that decision.

“I definitely could have it myself," Minjarez said. "Especially with the (skills) combine we held in El Paso, a lot of coaches saw me from there and they’ve never even heard of my PrepStar. The biggest help was the combine, by far! So many colleges contacted me after that.”

That annual combine may only help local football player but Lopez offered some words of wisdom for every athlete, regardless of his or her sport.

“The majority of your offers are going to come from your film," he says. "They’re going to come from your performance; they’re going to come from what the high school coach and the program is doing for you.”

Perhaps just as important are the stats one is posting off the field, according to El Paso Independent School District Athletics Director, Maria Kennedy.

“In the NCAA Clearinghouse they talk about ‘seat time’, " Kennedy reassured. "That means you’ve got to be in a class - an actual class - online classes sometimes aren’t going to qualify. You have to be cognizant of your kid’s grades."

“The minute you hit varsity you should already start your highlight film. You should already start the process. You should already start looking at ACT, SAT dates," Lopez encouraged. "For your class - for the class of 2018 – that college recruiting board has already been up for a couple years now. So if you wait until that time then you are behind the 8-ball a little bit because all the rest of the guys in the country, whom you’re competing with for scholarships, have already jumped ahead of you.”

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