College Football’s National Signing Day is right around the corner (next Wednesday to be exact), and with it comes a big moment for lots of high school football players making their decision on where they’re going to play college football for the next four years. That day, though, doesn’t come out of nowhere for these kids. It’s a crescendo of sorts, the culmination of four years of play on the field, as well as many life decisions off the field.
On the field, these kids are gifted with amazing athleticism. To quote the late Jake Gaither, former Florida A&M Head Coach, they’re “…agile, mobile, and hostile.” Off the field, though, there’s often room for recruits to improve how they come across to college coaching staffs, fan bases, and the media. In 2015, a recruit’s entire off-the-field life is under a microscope and on-display, from their personal Twitter feeds and Facebook profiles to the recruiting feeds of rival universities. To be a well-rounded recruit in this day and age, it’s more than just speed and strength. It includes having a self-awareness that you won’t get from the public school system. You need to understand how every step you take will be viewed by different groups of people.
It’s worthless to throw out advice for this year’s Signing Day class, so instead, here are10 things I would offer up to a high school freshman looking to make a name for himself on National Signing Day 2018.
1. Publicly keep your list of target schools wide your first couple years of high school
Showing interest in a wide range of schools will further your name recognition around the country. This is taking a page out of a presidential campaign playbook. Candidates know voters need to know their name before they ever have a chance to vote for them, and this is no different. You want people to know your name as you’re building a personal brand that will eventually garner you a large following and (once you go pro) lucrative endorsement deals.
2. After researching a wide range of schools, narrow your focus to about five that you want to target.
This will happen naturally as you form an opinion from interacting with different schools, but this is vital as there’s only so much time in a day for you to be a high school student, a football player, a college researcher, and a kid.
3. Dissect your top five schools’ attributes
Different schools and their fan bases have different subtleties to them that make them who they are. Figure out which schools seem to overlap with your way of life, but also think about who you want to be when you get out of school. The people you associate with help shape who you become – so choose wisely.
4. Start to publicly align yourself with what those schools stand for
You want to get an offer from one of your top choices? You need to start living life the ____________ (insert university) way. It’s blatantly obvious to say don’t get arrested and be a good person, but it’s more than just that. When you do something good, make sure it’s made public. Be humble in your posting, but make sure word gets out about your good deeds. You don’t have a PR team doing these things for you. Volunteer, visit the sick, be a family man, etc. All of your off the field actions will be eyed and scrutinized, so shape the story to be a good one.
5. Connect with the fan bases of your top choices
This is your chance to crowdsource an opinion on what life would be like as an LSU Tiger or a Texas Longhorn. Shoot out questions on Twitter ahead of any official visits and see what fans/students at your top schools have to say. In addition to getting qualitative data on schools, you’re also getting a gauge of how excited different fan bases would be to have you as a representative of their program.
6. Be cool
Or rather, be your best self. As your star-power rises, so will your skeptics. You want to be on the good side of everybody who’s judging you. Every school has plenty of examples of top recruits who were later dismissed for doing something boneheaded, so try not to look high when you’re in front of a camera. Critics will see that as a warning sign, and you’ll be playing from behind from then on.
7. Still stand out in some form or fashion
This is your chance to build your brand. Figure out what makes you unique, and remind yourself to live it.
8. Practice answering typical reporter questions
As you get good at football, you’re going to be asked more and more about your talents, and your intentions, by reporters. Be ready for these types of questions, and it will make you look 1000x more polished to schools and the general public.
9. Manage to be yourself
High school football is so ramped up these days, the process can feel like a full-time job. Find time for some Madden, music, or whatever it is you enjoy doing in your free time. Otherwise, the grind could wear you out before you ever get going.
I only had nine things to say. Ten just sounded much better. Any other advice for high school freshmen looking to become big time college football players? Leave a 10th piece of advice in the comments section.
When a 93 year old woman says bitch, I listen.
Miller Lite recently relaunched their tried and true “Miller Time” campaign with a series of new spots. One of those spots features a very catchy song, How You Like Me Now, by The Heavy. It’s the classic case of a great song becoming discovered by being paired with a high-profile commercial with a heavy media spend supporting it. I had yet to hear of the song or the band before hearing it during a commercial, and after hearing it in the ad I thought about the brand every time I heard the song.
The problem for me (and Miller Lite) is that I first heard this song in the 2009 Super Bowl spot for the Kia Sorrento, not the 2012 spot for Miller Lite.
Why do brands feel the need to latch on to songs that have already been used in very prominent ads? Think about the reach the Kia Sorrento spot had. Don’t you think it would be smart for Miller Lite to select a song that people don’t already associate with another brand? And even if you didn’t associate the song with Kia, you probably had already heard that song by now, right? I think it would have been a much better play for Miller Lite to go with a track that was cool and felt right to listen to before a night out on the town, but had not yet been discovered. If they did that, people would hear the song and associate it with Miller Lite, and they would look at the Miller Lite brand and think, “Damn, these guys are purveyors of awesome music.”
Often times, music gets overlooked during the production of broadcast spots, and that’s not a good thing. When you treat the music selection for commercials as an afterthought, you increase the chance of your commercial becoming an afterthought.
Former New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams faces a serious image problem right now. When you lead a bounty program that promotes and awards injuring your opponents, people are obviously not going to be very happy with you. Of course, as the old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds,” right? In the case of countless celebrities and athletes, you’re damn right it does. Look at Tiger Woods. He went from an O-zone-piercing high to a burrowing earth worm low. Of course, like so many before him, Tiger rebounded from his version of rock bottom and salvaged his career. With that said, I think Gregg Williams faces an even steeper uphill battle than Tiger faced. The reason? Gifts. Not monetary gifts, as I don’t think that would have changed Tiger’s public perception for the better, but emotional gifts – memories. Do Saints fans associate the fond memories of the 2009-2011 teams with Williams, or do they associate it with the players? Gifts are why Tiger Woods was sure to get a second chance, and the same reason why it’s going to be tough for Gregg Williams to ever get that chance.
In this day and age, a character issue is not even close to a career-killer for athletes. Even instances of cheating in some cases can be forgiven if the player admits to his or her mistake and learns from it. (Come clean, Roger Clemens.) The reason is that athletes (in a very raw sense) are products that bring millions of people happiness. Tiger Woods fits the mold perfectly.
Tiger Woods cheated on his wife Elin hundreds (if not thousands) of times, and he upset a ton of people who looked up to him, myself included. With that said, he’s the single biggest reason I took up the game of golf as an adolescent. Sure, I lived in a golf-happy town with great deals for kids wanting to learn, but ultimately it was Tiger that made me want to play – his fire, passion and intensity made golf fun to play and watch, even at age 8. I distinctly remember watching the final round of the 1997 Masters, and I remember multiple occasions where I took my pitching wedge into the yard in the middle of 90+ degree summer afternoons in Myrtle Beach wearing black pants, a red polo and a black Nike cap. He was, and still is, awesome. He gave me so many gifts – so many fond memories from my childhood. After the details of his unfaithful personal life became public in late 2009, I wasn’t happy at all, but I knew I would get over it. It has been a little over two years since the scandal broke. Sure enough, I’m completely over it and extremely stoked to watch Tiger face off against Rory McIlroy this week at The Masters.
It’s rare for a coach to have that kind of connection with the general public, although it isn’t unheard of – just look at Joe Paterno. Did the late Joe Pa make mistakes in regards to reporting the child sexual abuse scandal involving his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky? Of course. Do I think his inaction will hurt his legacy in the long term? Absolutely not, and it’s because of all the wisdom he gave over the years to his players, fans of Penn State and the general public. Like I said, though, coaches like Joe Pa are scarce, and I don’t think Gregg Williams has ever had the likability of a Joe Pa.
Arguably the biggest play of Super Bowl XLIV came late in the fourth quarter when Saints defender Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it for a touchdown, essentially sealing the Super Bowl for the Saints. When Saints fans think of that play, do they think of the incredible play call by Gregg Williams, or do they think of Porter snatching the future Hall of Famer’s pass and sprinting untouched to the end zone for the game-clinching score? My guess is the latter, not the former, and that is essentially the problem that will make it much tougher for Williams to repair his image than any of the Saints defenders that played under him.
Working at an ad agency in the Live Music Capital of the World means being treated to a lot of free concerts. Aside from the awesome bands that play at our agency parties, we have groups come into the office all the time for a midday show in the hopes that (among other things) someone who’s working on a commercial will say “Damn, that song would go perfect in the new (insert brand) spot.” When said situation plays out, it’s a beautiful thing for both band and brand – more-so now than ever before.
With YouTube and Shazam being a part of our everyday lives, it’s easier than ever to figure out who is behind the great music in certain commercials.
The last time this happened to me was earlier this week, when a fairly new Internet Explorer commercial caught my eye…I mean ear.
Now, I’m not very music-forward (especially for an Austinite), so there’s a fairly good chance many of you already know who Alex Clare is – I had no idea. Anyway, he’s a British singer-songwriter whose song Too Close caught my attention during an episode of The Big Bang Theory. It’s a pretty badass song, and you can find it on his debut album, The Lateness of the Hour, pictured below along with the accompanying music video for the song. Isn’t advertising great?
I want to be clear: I love Kashi cereal (Cinnamon Harvest to be exact), and I love my eggs. That is what makes this a difficult post to write.
The way Kashi advertises their Go Lean line of cereals irritates me just a tad. Here’s the ad for your viewing pleasure (this one’s kind-of old, but the campaign/claim continues, as I saw an updated spot this morning).
If you only took away one thing from the above ad, it is that Kashi Go Lean Crunch has the same amount of protein as an incredible edible egg. “True, but” are the first two words that came into my head after hearing that claim. Those are also the first two words that came into my head when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s Grammy speech to say that Beyonce had one of the best music videos of all time, as in “True, but this is not the time or place to make that argument, Kanye.” Sorry. I got off track there for a second.
Kashi Go Lean Crunch has the same amount of protein as an egg. If you’re measuring by the number in grams that’s on the label, then yeah, it’s just as good (even better) than an egg. But there’s no mention in the ad of what kind of protein you’re getting in the box. Here’s the label.
CONTAINS WHEAT AND SOY INGREDIENTS. Boom. There’s the one thing that turns me off. While both egg and soy protein contain all the essential amino acids, they were not created equal. Here’s a quick breakdown from Livestrong.com comparing egg and soy (and whey) proteins in a different way:
The average egg contains 6 g of protein and contains about 70 calories. Eggs are a low-cost, high-quality protein and an important source of choline. Most protein powder is made from egg whites, which contain protein without the fat found in the egg yolk. All proteins are rated for their “biological value,” which measures how quickly and how well your body can use the protein you consume. According to Wageningen University in the Netherlands, “Egg white protein is considered to have one of the best amino acids profiles for human nutrition.” Although many foods contain all amino acids, the protein in egg whites is the most bio-available — meaning you body can use all of its protein quickly and efficiently.
Whey is a by-product of cheese making. When casein is separated from milk by curdling, the watery remains are whey. Look for whey protein isolate, which is strictly the protein, with all other components of the whey removed. Whey is a complete protein — meaning that it contains all amino acids. It’s particularly high in the amino acid leucine, which may help to build lean muscle tissue.There is slightly more leucine in whey protein than in egg protein. Whey protein may be a better choice than egg protein post-workout when your body needs quick energy and fast protein synthesis. However, it isn’t absorbed as well at other times.
Soy is the most problematic of these three proteins. Soy is unique because it’s the only plant-based protein that contains all the amino acids, but it also contains isoflavones — an estrogenic compound that can affect hormones levels. It may affect thyroid levels and can raise estrogen levels in men. This often isn’t a problem if you use soy rarely, but daily supplementation may have side-effects. This is the best protein option for vegetarians and vegans.
A raised estrogen level is obviously a bigger concern for men than it is for women, and like the above info shows, it’s probably not a big deal if used rarely.
But soy is becoming more and more prevalent in our diets today, and in the case of this Kashi cereal, it’s competing against the egg to become the consumer’s everyday breakfast choice.
I’m not here to say that soy is the anti-christ and that you should avoid it at all costs. I’m saying that egg and soy are two completely different beasts with their own sets of pros and cons. According to Kashi, they’re exactly the same. That is false.