Fast “Track” to a Great Football Program

I am going to piggyback on Cole Young’s post on the PrepsKC site from last week regarding the Ohio State football-recruiting tweet that recently blew up the Internet… the one that graphically displayed the fact that out of 47 recruits on their (OSU) squad, 42 were multi-sport athletes.

ohio state recruitingWhen I was at UCM and recruiting Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (DFW area) the first question that I asked high school football coaches (after confirming grades, test scores, and character) was “What other sports does Johnny-Joe play?

We always had great success recruiting multi-sport athletes… football/ basketball… football/wrestling… and especially football players that participated in Track and Field.

Here is the latest graphic, a sequel to the above chart, drilling even deeper into Urban Meyer’s and Ohio State’s recruiting philosophy, showing that out of those same 47 athletes on their squad, 33 ran track in high school.

ohio state trackAdmittedly, I am biased… I ran track at both the high school and collegiate levels, and have coached track at every public school I have been at. I know running track helped my football performance.

I am not bashing the other sports, and not picking on the other spring sports, but there are many things about participating in track and field that can help you become a better football player… or better at any other sport.   Speed (sprint events), Strength (throwing events), Explosion (vertical and horizontal jumps) are all qualities that every football coach is looking for in their athletes…. and Endurance (distance events) is a quality that may not be essential for football, but is for sports such as swimming, soccer, or wrestling.

There is also a factor about track that college recruiters (including me) love… it is an equalizer… it levels the playing field.   Here is what I mean.

It is sometimes difficult as a football recruiting coach to evaluate athletes at smaller schools, or athletes that play against poorer competition… you question how they would perform at a higher classification or against teams comprised of better athletes… frankly, often times when you request for a player from a smaller classification school to be “put on the board” you are sticking your neck out a bit with the head coach.

If an athlete participates in Track and Field it is different. Running a 10.45 FAT 100m dash is the same if an athlete from Osceola High School (1A) does it as one from Blue Springs High School (5A)…. the same goes for a 50’ shot put, 23’ long jump, or 6’10” high jump. While these standards may not show what kind of a football player you are getting, they do reflect athletic talent.

If you need any further evidence to the benefits of your football players participating in Track and Field, considers these examples:

  • In Texas (where many people believe it is football year round) 74% of the DI FBS signees this year ran Track.
  • This article details TCU’s recruiting philosophy, loading up their roster with Track stars.
  • This video shows the difference between Winston’s and Mariota’s 40 yd dash at the NFL combine this year.   Guess which one ran track in high school? Guess which athlete’s stock just went up?
  • And a great read via Coach Jeff Gourley (@Gourleyfootball)  – 10 Reasons to Join the Track Team

Bottom line… there is mounting evidence that shows that specialization does not make sense. Encourage your athletes to compete… and if they don’t already have a spring sport they are married to, introduce them to their new sweetheart… the track and field program at your school!

BTW… a great source of information regarding Track and Field coaching is @pntrack, the twitter feed of Plainfield North (IL) High School Track and Field.

Tomorrow check back here. I will have a post that includes an editable excel spreadsheet for 400m track workouts – both tempo endurance, and speed endurance workouts.

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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