Texas HS coach's plea against the game's biggest threat
David Smith is the football coach at Klein Oak High School in Texas.
And he’s troubled by the trends he sees in today’s amateur game.
So much so that he wrote an open letter, which includes supporting quotes from Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Baylor’s Art Briles and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, about what he perceives to be the biggest threat to the game of football in the state of Texas and beyond.
Smith claims that Texas high school football is “under siege from hi-tech, sports-first prep schools like IMG Academy in Florida.”
IMG Academy, which is located in Bradenton, Fla., is known for bringing together some of the nation’s top athletes to form what some would term as high-school dream teams. The school was in the news earlier this month for hosting a controversial spring break visit from Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan football team.
Smith’s letter is honest, open and lengthy. And probably worth a read for those concerned about the future of both high school football and recruiting.
He closed the letter with a proverbial call to arms for all Texas football influences.
Here’s an excerpt that details the kind of action he’s requesting:
We are asking that all high school coaches discourage our in-state universities and colleges from recruiting football players from these sports-first elite recruiting academies. And we are asking that all Texas collegiate coaches take a proactive role in encouraging underclassmen to attend their local public schools, stay there, and graduate from there.
Texas collegiate coaches do not want high school players leaving the state to spend even one year at an out-of-state prep school. We ask that our college coaches go even further. Tell underclassmen not to transfer to sports-first recruiting academies. Tell your junior commits to finish what they started. Tell them not to miss out on the greatest experience of their lives – playing their senior year for the coaches who got them there, in front of the crowd and close to the community and family that has loved and supported them for years.
Team first – family first – community first. Think of yourself only afterward. This is what high school team sports should teach our young men. This ultimate lesson is threatened by the “me-first, teenager as free-agent” model.
We will not sit idly by and let it happen. To high school coaches, our message is clear – do not schedule these academies. Do not support colleges in recruiting players who attend these types of private schools, and thereby encourage their mission of taking away players from your community. Do not play in 7-on-7 tournaments or combines sponsored by prep schools who recruit athletes away from your community. These events are a tool to locate and recruit your players.
To our outstanding Texas college coaches, we ask that you actively demonstrate your support for our cause. Be proactive – tell recruits to show their loyalty and play all four years at their home town high school. Tell them to begin cultivating the same loyalty you will want them to embody when they play for you.
The Texas football family can come together and accomplish these goals. Please join us.