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October 14, 2004

Success may be closer than you think

With the emergence of Tennessee's Erik Ainge, Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma State's Nathan Peterson, and Michigan's Chad Henne, what does this mean for the future of high school prospects?

Colleges all over the country are buying into the philosophy of "the best players will play, regardless of their class." This is comforting for the recruits of the future.

For years, it was almost understood that once you took your last snap in high school that you would be sitting out for a year before you see any sort of playing time. That has all gone out the window now.

With so much emphasis on strength and conditioning in the high schools now, more and more incoming freshmen are prepared to play both mentally and physically. Would you have thought that ten years ago, you could have a quarterback come right from high school to be one of the best in the Big Ten or the SEC (Henne and Ainge)? What about being the most explosive running back in the country and the #2 Heisman vote-getter, while only being on campus for 6 months (A. Peterson)? What about being the nation's top pass-rusher (N. Peterson)?

Maybe the trend of graduating in December to be on the college campus in January is helping, but that still doesn't answer our question. How can future prospects be ready to go when they step foot on their college campuses?

"It all comes down to conditioning," said one coach. "Some kids also have a special knack for understanding the college game a little quicker than some. We can only try to prepare them for what they will see at the next level."

Another coach confirmed, "It is definitely about the strength and conditioning and the commitment level of the individual player to be in the weight room and the film room. Without that desire and drive, they will not be prepared."

"Some kids will start believing all of their press in high school and will think that they don't have to actually work out. It's the kids who don't believe that, that will succeed in the future. What happens in practice and in the weight room will show on the playing field and will breed success in the near future rather than later."

It is nice for the future prospects to know that, if they are driven, success can be right around the corner instead of years down the road.


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