View Full Version : American HS Football (and NCAA)

07-22-2015, 07:59 AM
I've got a kid in my next story who plays football in HS. I've got him as a safety. Dad thinks his boy is going on to college ball and the NFL. The son has no interest in pro ball, and doesn't think he'll make the cut at a I-A/FBS school, so he's not really sure he wants to play at the college level, but Dad won't hear of that.. I need an injury that would keep him from playing the first game of the season. He's only a sophomore, so he likely wouldn't be playing much that season, but I don't even want him suited up. Something minor that wouldn't freak Dad out over his future career. Alternately, what reason could a sophomore/JV player have to be on the sideline during a varsity game?

And along with that, is there anyone with semi-direct knowledge about the NCAA recruiting process that can walk me through things, and answer a few questions? I'd like to know what, if anything, is going on during the sophomore year for a player and his parents.

07-22-2015, 08:06 AM
Sprained ankle. Pulled hamstring. Small broken bone, like hand or finger. Cracked rib. Any number of minor, but not career-threatening injuries could keep somebody out for a short time. An illness, also, like the flu or mononucleosis, would do the trick.

And the no NCAA school is likely to be interested in a sophomore who isn't even likely to suit up or play on a high school team, unless maybe the kid runs a 9.3 100-meters in track, or is 6'9" and weighs 340 pounds and moves like Spiderman.


07-22-2015, 08:32 PM
As far as sidelining the kid, I like blacbird's suggestion of mono. It can keep a person weak for a long period of time, definitely long enough to sit out a season.

Since he's a sophomore and apparently not very good since he's jv, it's almost impossible to say if he'll be big and fast enough to play at a 1A school. He could be small now but experience a growth spurt later on. The alternative is to make him pretty much a physical freak for a boy his age so that recruiters would be interested. But that's going to be tough. From what I can tell, you want to have him be bad enough to question himself, but good enough to be considered 1A material as a sophomore. I'm not sure you can achieve such a balance.

You could always go down to 1-AA (FCS) or Division 2 (maybe?). But, really, anyone going on to college would be one of the stars of the team.

One possibility for getting a 1A coach to recruit the boy is that his father played for a 1A assistant coach and they might visit out of respect for the father, merely a courtesy visit.

WRT to your other question about being on the sideline: since he wouldn't be playing that season, maybe he could be a trainer and help with equipment, drinks, etc.

Maze Runner
07-22-2015, 08:52 PM
I'm not sure why the old man would be freaked out over a minor injury, unless it could possibly be something that could recur over his next three years in HS and kill his chances with recruiters. But there is something very common in HS athletes, something I had myself as a sophomore cornerback, Osgood-Schlatter disease. When I had it they treated it by putting you in a cast, but a friend of mine's son, a HS soccer player just got it and they're treating it with therapy only. It's minor, it's common, but it definitely sidelines you for a while. I can't remember exactly how long it was, but it was more than just one week. 'Course, your kid could have picked it up in the summer practices leading up to the start of the season.

As far as why a sophomore would be on the sideline during a varsity game, the best ones are. The very best ones are playing varsity ball. I wasn't one of those best ones, and I'm trying to remember if the ones that were also played in their JV games. I'm thinking not.


07-22-2015, 09:11 PM
His dad is determined that the boy is going on to pro ball. But the kid is realistic about life, and doesn't really want to go on. I need him on the sidelines for a game or two so he can be introduced to someone.

What do scouts in general look for in safeties? It's speed, mostly, isn't it? (It's funny how I love to watch football, but have never given much thought to what each position really needs).

07-22-2015, 11:12 PM
Have him sustain a concussion during a practice scrimmage and experience subsequent bouts of dizziness. He'll be benched for certain these days. High schools/school boards are currently hypersensitive to the potential civil liability exposure of ignoring any such injuries. Colleges and the NFL would want to know about this sort of injury in an applicant's medical history as well. Brain damage from successive concussions can be cumulative.

07-22-2015, 11:25 PM
Thanks, Mike. And here's where I realize I forgot to mention that this is about ten years ago.

07-23-2015, 12:37 AM
What do scouts in general look for in safeties? It's speed, mostly, isn't it? (It's funny how I love to watch football, but have never given much thought to what each position really needs).

Depends on that school's defense, but speed isn't of primary concern with a safety. It never hurts, of course, but the faster defensive backs tend to be made into cornerbacks.

With safeties, you want toughness and awareness. A high football iq. They need to be able to pick out which receiver is heading downfield and help the corner in coverage. They also need to come up and help in running situations, but not be suckered in by a fake handoff.

Actually, it's good to know that this was ten years ago. In the modern game, college rules have taken away an important part of being a safety: headhunting. It used to be that a good safety could hit a receiver over the middle just as he was about to catch the ball and force an incompletion. Now it's a penalty, and in some of the more extreme cases, an automatic ejection.

07-23-2015, 01:25 AM
Does it have to be an injury? Just have his grades drop below the eligibility level; he's off the team until he brings his grades up. While he's in team limbo, he can sustain any sort of injury (traffic accident?) that works for your plot.

Maze Runner
07-23-2015, 06:18 PM
What do scouts in general look for in safeties? It's speed, mostly, isn't it? (It's funny how I love to watch football, but have never given much thought to what each position really needs).

As Mythmonger said, awareness and vision and football smarts, and yes speed. I might add good hands and a cool head--he's the last line of defense so he can't be prone to committing prematurely. You may have found his injury already, but for his father to have good reason to be freaked, I think I'd go with something with his wheels. Some kind of ankle or knee thing that is to some extent or another likely to recur. The uncertainty of whether it will or not might add a nice tension.