Interview with Football Coach Jimmy Lamour on Football Recruiting Interviewed by Luke Alisson of CriticalBench.com – March 2011
CB: I want to ask about your background and how you got involved with recruiting?
Jimmy Lamour: I am a former Defensive Back who attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. I had a great career there and finished with the interception return yards record. I also played some arena football and had some NFL tryouts as well. My wife and I later decided that we were passionate about fitness training for athletes and adults. We opened Lamour Training Systems which helps clients improve the "whole" man.
I actually became involved in recruiting in 2002 when I was a defensive back coach at Southwest HS in High Point, NC. I always have felt that coaches should help their players get recruited. I also found out that it was a very time consuming process and reached out to Rex Grayner owner of student-athlete showcase.com. I was very impressed with their step by step approach to the recruiting process. Their online management system of recruiting opportunities is phenomenal and one of the reasons they have a 90% success rate in helping clients get scholarship money for their education.
I also became involved with recruiting when a good friend of mine Oliver Jordan and I decided to form step ahead athletics camps. We provided camps that discussed recruiting, college life, academics, our personal experiences, nutrition, etc...Our whole purpose of this camp was to help enhance the skill of each athlete in their individual positions and give them a large amount of college options.
CB: How would you characterize or summarize recruiting in 2011?
Jimmy Lamour: The recruiting scope has changed as social media/video has changed the way recruiting has changed. The formula to success remains the same. Athletes have to realize that recruiting is about developing a relationship with the coaches. They start off with 15,000 questionnaire forms that they send yearly and narrow their list down to 200 scholarship level players. How you differentiate yourself from the 200 is key. The more prepared you are with transcripts, a video profile, updated stats, etc...the more attractive you are. Remember, the recruiting process is the athletes' responsibility as well, not just the parents. Coaches love when athletes call to let them know about attendance at upcoming camps, big games, etc...A personal note is even better. Don' t be afraid to contact coaches.
CB: What is important to know about recruiting for sports other than football and women's sports specifically?
Jimmy Lamour: It is important to know that full scholarships are rare unless you play sports like football that generate large amounts of revenue streams. Oftentimes, coaches have to juggle money between 21 players. This is why I tell athletes they must be as prepared as possible academically as that could make a way to where most or all of your college tuition is paid for. They do give money for good grades.
Also, have a game plan. Do not go into this blind...it is to important. I have found it very helpful to let someone like student-athlete showcase manage the process for you if you can afford it. A professional website makes it very easy for coaches to assess you.
Don't delay when you start being proactive with engaging in the recruiting process. Money is given out quickly and you want to be at the front of the line. I would start the recruiting process as soon as I start playing varsity sports.
Start with at least 40 options. There are many schools that do not offer scholarships, but after they arrange a package could save you some serious money.
CB: Is it possible to pursue a scholarship for a sport your high school does not support?
Jimmy Lamour: Everything is possible now a days, but you must show you can add value to the program you are applying to. In that case you would have to find some way to get in front of college coaches through show cases, camps, etc...It will be a hard process, but can be done.
CB: What would that process look like?
Jimmy Lamour: You would have to create your own buzz by the outside of school resources you use. This is much more expensive route, but there are travel clubs with quality players which will bring their own fan base of coaches. This is actually how I got recruited. My college head coach came by to recruit another one of our players and became interested in me.
CB: Are there recruiting implications for athletes at a public high school versus a private one?
Jimmy Lamour: I do not know of any. The coaches still have to follow guidelines about when they can start recruiting and what months they can contact the athletes. I have noticed that private schools sometimes have classes that private schools do not. Make sure you have the classes that are required to play division 1 or division 2 sports. The requirements between divisions are different.
CB: Is the process any different for athletes that are much more interested in academics and the academic reputation of the school?
Jimmy Lamour: The process is very similar except the athlete who is interested in academics much do their research to make sure schools that are recruiting them have the majors they are after. Also, you might want to visit with the academic counselors at the colleges to see how the administration process works. Do they have early entry options, etc...
CB: How viable is the junior college/community route?
Jimmy Lamour: The junior college can work for some athletes if they take advantage of it. Many times athletes just go to any JUCO that is recruiting them. They must make sure the school has the classes that will be required in the school they hope to transfer to. They must work closely with the JUCO academic counselors to make sure they are on target to transfer.
CB: Is there anything to be particularly aware of?
It is very important to stay focused as there will be many students that are not at some Junior Colleges.
It is the job of the student to keep up with their academic standing and transfer ability. Remember, why you are there and what you are there to do.
CB: What grabs your attention about Division I football recruiting?
Jimmy Lamour: It is a business and coaches are looking for players that can help them keep their jobs. It is the players job to make it business like as well and take advantage of the free education. Students must realize that Division 1 football monopolizes your time from 6a.m. to 9 p.m. at most schools. That includes waking up for physical preparation training early, classes, film study, practice, study hall, meetings, etc...You must prepare yourself mentally as these adjustments can be overwhelming for a young 18 year old.
CB: To what extent is football recruiting regional?
Jimmy Lamour: Football is regional in the aspect that some kids like staying closer to home to allow for their families to have a better chance of seeing them play. You can look at rosters and see how regional a sport like football can be.
CB: Recruiting scandals and cheating creates huge headlines. What secondary problems do these things cause?
Jimmy Lamour: It can give a program a bad reputation and can affect scholarships if teams are put on probation. An athlete must know the rules of recruiting in order to make sure the coach that is recruiting them is following the rules. If a coach is bending the rules recruiting than they are most likely bending other rules and I would not want any of my sons playing for them.