Ever had the chance to get tips directly from the mouth of a scout? Well, I had the pleasure to sit-down with Mark Clagett, of aspiringnflscout.com who was willing to share some powerful insights into the world of NFL recruiting, as well as some tips for players who dream of playing football on Sundays.
Hit the jump for Part One of our conversation.
Alvin: Did you play football growing up?
Mark: I was always more of a basketball player, and my mom was more or less protective, and didn’t want me to play football. I had to watch more from the sidelines. The more I watched it, the more I loved it. Coming up, I could be found helping my old high school with coaching.
Anywhere I could get experience with the game, I was all over it.
Alvin: Funny, I have a similar background; my Mom didn’t want me playing football either. I snuck and tried out my junior year in high school and ended up excelling in football. Guess it shows that Mom isn’t ALWAYS right, huh? (laughs)
Mark: (laughs) Exactly.
Alvin: How have you been able to gain experience and knowledge about the scouting industry?
Mark: Just literally anywhere I can. I’m really good at retaining information, I’ve picked up any book I can on it. Tony Razzano has a good book about scouting, and Pat Kirwin has a book…
Alvin: Are you talking about, Keep Your Eyes Off the Ball?
Mark: Yeah. Bill Bellichick’s dad wrote a book as well that was written back in the day, but still has some very useful information in it.
Also, getting out on Twitter, talking to other scouts, studying NFL team’s websites. They show the hierarchy of the scouting departments, and who does what, and their responsibilities.
Alvin: How’d you get inspired to launch your Aspiring NFL Scout website?
Mark: I created it to be more of a resume. I post draft projections, scouting reports, and stuff like that, so that if I walk into an interview, I can point them to that site, so they can see months and years of reports and work I’ve done.
If anyone visits the site and enjoys it, that’s awesome too, but that’s not really the main focus behind it.
Alvin: (laughs) Well, our website, Get2TheLeague.com is put together to empower football players, and give them the mental and physical artillery to give them the best shot possible at attaining their dream of playing pro football, so I wanted to ask you some specific questions about scouting.
My first question in that regard, is what do you think is the biggest misconception players have towards NFL scouts?
Mark: I think easily, the biggest thing is that players think that scouts are against them. I guess because when you’re scouting someone you’re critiquing someone, so I guess it’s natural to feel that way.
Players tend to think that scouts don’t want them to succeed, which is not the case. The scouts are there to report what they see.
Instead of getting upset when a scout reports on something they don’t do well, players should embrace that feedback, and use
it to know what to improve on, and to be a better professional football player.
Alvin: I’ve heard players complain and say that their college coach didn’t support or help promote them to NFL scouts and personnel, and say that that hurt their chances of playing pro.
In your opinion, is it really possible for a player’s coach or coach’s to have such an impact on them getting a shot at playing professionally?
Mark: On the negative side? No. If you’re not good enough to get a shot, you’re not good enough to get a shot.
On the positive side, it can happen. If you’re a regional scout for a specific area, over time, you’re going to develop relationships with college coaches in that region.
If a coach really stands up for a guy, and gives a scout a great recommendation, that can get you a shot where you maybe didn’t have one before.
I think there are very few situations where a college coach is going to work against one of their players.
Alvin: I know there’s no cookie cutter answer, but let’s say you’re an area scout, and I’m a player at a small school in that region.
What kind of things would I have needed to do or accomplish to get you to show interest in me as a player?
Mark: The easiest way is to really stand out. The scouts are travelling to the bigger schools mainly. I mean, as a scout, you can go to an Alabama and scout 5-10 players at one time.
It’s harder for small schools, because for scouts to show up to pay to travel to see a small school kid; they’re spending money to just see one guy. It helps a little if you’re near the big schools… If you’re only an hour away from a bigger school, it’s not as big of a sacrifice to come check a guy out.
Check back soon for Part two, where Mark shares with us just how much playing at a small school affects a player’s chance at playing in the NFL.
Do you have any questions for Mark that we haven’t addressed so far? Leave a comment below!
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