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Making a football recruiting highlight tape: The DOs and DON'Ts

A handy guide to make sure your tape does not turn out like the one above.

As SB National recruiting analysts, Wescott Eberts and I go through hundreds of recruiting highlight tapes to produce our college football recruit scouting reports. We've pretty much become experts on highlight tapes. And we're here to help you, college football recruit, make a better highlight tape.

First, for every element you put into the highlight tape, be able to answer yes to the following question: Will this element of the highlight help me land a scholarship from the college coach assigned to watch it?

This seems simple. The highlight should not be about being cool to show your friends on Facebook.

  • DO: Identify yourself before the play. Using an arrow or a circle here is good. With the poor quality cameras used by most high schools, it can be tough to pick you out, particularly if you play line.
  • DON'T: Keep the graphic on you during the play. How is the coach going to judge your blocking if the action is blocked by a giant green arrow?
  • DON'T: Insert random photos of yourself, high school logo, or anything else in the middle of the clip.
  • DO: Disregard the previous statement if you're a quarterback with great hair.
  • DO: Lead with your best plays. Do you think the college coach is going to sit through four or five minutes of average film just to get to the good stuff he doesn't even know is coming? Of course not. He has to watch thousands of highlight tapes per year! Not leading with the best plays is lazy and could cost you a scholarship when a coach clicks on to the next player because you didn't grab his attention early in the video.
  • DON'T: Mess with the speed of the film. Using slow motion or fast forward isn't fooling anyone, and it doesn't make the highlight easier to evaluate.
  • DO: If you're an offensive linemen, it is OK to fast forward the last 30 yards of a running back's run once you're out of the frame. Even better: just cut that part out.
  • DON'T: Use celebratory graphics. Use of old school Batman style "BOOM" or "POW" makes me want to stop watching. Remember, college coaches have to watch thousands of these. Adding elements that slow down the evaluation process and annoy the coach won't help your cause.
  • DON'T: Make your highlight private. This is one of the worst and it is happening more frequently. Your coach is not Bill Belichick, and the guy at South High isn't, either. Opposing coaches are not going to gain a decided schematic advantage on your high school from watching your highlight tape.
  • DO: Use strobe light effect to make yourself look cooler.
  • DON'T: Really, please do not use strobe lights.

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