WIESBADEN, Germany -- A Super Bowl champion made a special visit to let local parents and student athletes in on several tips to boost collegiate marketability.
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Derrick Mayes, former Green Bay Packer and Notre Dame all-time leading receiver, visited Wiesbaden Fitness Center Oct. 6. The National Collegiate Scholarship Association representative advised athletes and parents about ways to increase chances of getting recruited by prime universities and landing high-value scholarships.
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"Each and every one of you has an opportunity," said Mayes, pointing out that scholarship opportunities are not limited to Division I universities, and recommended that students identify schools of interest immediately and start reaching out. "You've got to start yesterday."
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Because the process of recruiting and scouting has evolved considerably since 1992 when Mayes graduated, he recommended parents and students take advantage of the technological resources available.
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"They're working smarter, so I encourage you to do the same," said Mayes, explaining that coaches and scouts are employing streamlined systems to cover more areas, see more faces and use fiscal reserves more strategically.
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The retired NFL player informed those in attendance that recruiting of some now starts around the seventh grade. College coaches use verified information to vet prospects, he said, and initial evaluations by coaches are done via video. Less than 1 percent of graduating athletes get full scholarships to Division I schools and of the 1,700 U.S. colleges and universities that sponsor collegiate athletics with the means to offer financial packages, 80 percent are other than DI, he said.
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"Jerome Williams is my hero because he was a man with a plan," said Mayes who shared a testament of one childhood friend's determination and success in securing a scholarship to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to major in engineering, also emphasizing that the burden of duty rests with the student athlete. "The responsibility is yours. No one can want it more than you. Seize the future and empower yourself."
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Because many present had lost time because of the myths associated with the recruiting process, the former wide receiver simplified the process by offering five things one should do to boost exposure:
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- Athletes need to get their skill level evaluated and come up with a realistic game plan;
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- Get plugged into the NCSA Athletic Recruiting Network at www.NCSASPORTS.org to create a profile and post an academic-athletic resume online;
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- Create a highlight and skills video of athletic ability;
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- Identify 50 to 100 schools that offer the academic field and sports program of interest;
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- Get the plan right through perseverance, hard work and collaboration from parents, guidance counselors and inside recruiting experts. "It's not a four- year decision, it's a 40-year decision, and you've got to get it right," said Mayes who added that this comment is weighed heavily in his decision to play for Lou Holtz when he was the head coach at Notre Dame.
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The guidance was timely to answer such questions posed by parents.
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"I can help him get good grades, but how do I market him," said Col. Matthew Mattner, whose son is a sophomore at Wiesbaden High. "I had no thought about a highlight video. Now we know what to do. Hopefully we can start it right away."
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And while Mattner is a die-hard Packers fan, he was more impressed at Mayes' emphasis on education.
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"For somebody who's been there, it's good to see ... it's all about the academics," said Mattner
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Parents and students can also call 866-579-6272 in the United States to gain immediate access to the network.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16