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My mom claims I learned how to read by skimming the sports pages from the time I was 3. I am passionate fan about all sports, I participate primarily in tennis, golf and basketball.

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RECRUITING HAS BECOME CRAZY, part 2 posted on 07/25/2008

In Wednesday's post, we ran part of a Q & A with PJ Fleck, recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach for Northern Illinois University. Fleck downplayed the importance of high school combines to college coaches in general and gave his insights so to why, in spite of this, we are seeing more and more of these events in prep football. Today, we post the rest of the interview.

 OK, so we know you don't show up at these combines. The NCAA has specific restrictions on contact. So how do coaches evaluate a student-athlete?

"What we look for is consistency. In game film, we want to see consistency. The big thing is a kid coming to our camp. We can have a (recruit) at our place under our format. We can have our own watch and properly evaluate a recruit. This has become a premium which is why our camps are so important."

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RECRUITING HAS BECOME CRAZY posted on 07/23/2008

I used to love going away to summer camp. Was there anything better than the smell of watered down powdered eggs in the morning?

But this post isn't about Sleepaway Camp. It's about prep football camps and the cottage industry of combines and competitions that has spun off from them.

We addressed this in Friday's post. Today, we have insights from someone who can speak from authority. PJ Fleck is the recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach at Northern Illinois. He is in his 2nd season as a coach at Northern. Fleck is responsible for the Huskies' recruiting efforts.

How much stock do you put in these things? 

"All these combines, we get the results, but it's someone else's watch, someone else's ruler, someone else's scale. We used to attend these, but now we can't (the NCAA prohibits Division 1 coaches from evaluating student-athletes at independently held combines). We'll get information from a big one, like a Nike camp, but stay away from the little ones." 

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Camps, Combines and Competition posted on 07/18/2008

Prep football, and covering prep football, is no longer an August-November pursuit. Although summer camps are nothing new, they have developed and spun off a cottage industry of

QUARTERBACK COMBINES, LINEMAN COMPETITION AND LINEBACKER CHALLENGES

My question is, what's the point? Is it for these athletes to showcase their skills, does it promote team chemistry or is it just another example- albeit at the prep football level- of our country's insatiable year-round appetite for anything with a pigskin?

Tim O'Halloran, otherwise known as Edgy Tim, breathlessly blogs from the Maine West 7-on-7 camp that took place last week.

The Sun-Times has a report from the Bolingbrook Lineman Challenge. Apparantly, the Naperville North Huskies, the defending 8A champs who also won this competition last year, had a bunch of lineman show up this year. The competition consists of a 40-yard-dash, an obstacle course and a medicine ball throw.

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THINK FIRST, THEN THROW IT DEEP posted on 07/14/2008

Jeff Christensen believes the quarterback position is broken. 

And he’s just the guy to fix it. 

“Kids today,” says the founder of Throw It Deep Passing Academy, “and when I say kids I mean 19, 20, 21 years old. They think because they throw a pretty spiral they’ve done something. It’s mind-boggling.” 

Christensen’s soapbox is a sweaty gymnasium on a rainy day in Bolingbrook.

He’s moved his army of ball slingers inside until the weather breaks.  This is his 4th session of the day, yet his throat doesn’t have a hint of raspiness as he rattles off a repeated cadence of jargon that is familiar only to his band of pigskin pitchers. 

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Think you're being recruited? 3 ways to know for sure... posted on 07/09/2008

July 1st is a key date in the recruiting process for most sports. With the exclusion of basketball, it is the date college coaches can initiate phone calls with prospective recruits.

Phone

If you are a prep football player, a phone call will not be your 1st contact from a college, but it's an essential step on the process. Sort of like when you ask someone out. If you don't at least ask, you'll never get a yes. Of course, there's always the chance you'll get rejected, but I digress (not that I would know anything about rejection...I have friends that have had this experience).

9 days into this "contact" period, if you haven't gotten a phone call from a coach, that doesn't mean coaches aren't interested. It just might mean they aren't interested- yet. Here are a handful of ways to know if you are on a college coaches' My 3 list (OK, I know it's My 5, but this is a blog, and short and sweet wins the day):

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