After 25 years of covering high school football and the college recruiting process, the recruiting calendar has remained consistent for the most part. In Mid-May, everyone in the football community knows we are two weeks away from the college 1-day camps starting.
College coaches are excited to bring in some of the top prospects they have been recruiting. For some of these players, it has been a year or two; others were just identified in the spring evaluation period.
In the new transfer portal era, college coaches will also bring in college players who are still in the portal looking for a new place to call home.
What are their goals with the college 1-day camps? This is simple. They want to find prospects that will help beat their rival opponents in the future. The most important factor in this decision is projecting how soon into their college career they will make this happen.
As recent as three to four years ago, college staff may have been more patient with the individual development of the recruits they brought into their program. This is not the case anymore. As Deion Sanders said, and what every college coach thinks in this day and age of college recruiting, “If you can’t contribute early, you most likely won’t get an offer from me.”
This time of year, I also hear a lot of excuses from parents and prospects about college camps. Some complaints are that they are money grabs or they didn’t get enough reps. I also hear, “My son didn’t get a fair shot.” These gripes are weak and often far from the truth. The reality is the player isn’t good enough and didn’t perform well in the evaluation and testing drills they were put through.
Ultimately, college coaches are projecting these players as too much of a project or just not good enough to help them win games. In 99% of the cases, this is the truth and the reality of the situation. They didn’t check all the boxes.
What are the boxes that need to be checked? A proven track record of dominating at the high school level with quality film to back it up is key. Exceptional combine testing numbers and physical traits for the projected position he will play at the next level are also important. Lastly, they want a leader on and off the field with all the intangibles; a strong competitive mindset that will not break when faced with adversity, a passion for the game, a committed student and teammate, and someone hungry to excel.
A player that understands the process and who does check all the boxes is Adam Kidder. Kidder is a 6’0, 195-pound athlete from Bishop Foley High School just outside of Detroit in Michigan.
Last year at this time, he found out after attending several college camps for the first time that he checked most of the boxes. Enough so that Illinois, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and Eastern Illinois offered him preferred walk-on opportunities, and he received a scholarship offer from Colgate.
“These colleges all liked my size and speed as a safety. On film, they liked how I tackled in space and my ball skills. I was consistently running a low 4.5 at every camp and did well in all the drill work,” said Kidder.
The majority of prospects would have taken one of these opportunities and committed. Based on the feedback, Kidder knew he was extremely close to getting a scholarship offer from the 4 PWOs and decided to reclassify to the 2024 recruiting class. He will now attend Milford Academy post-graduate (PG) prep school in New York and bet on himself.
Kidder Will Reclassify
As a 2024 prospect, Kidder gets another offseason to develop physically and fundamentally. He also gets another summer to go to college camps and show them how much he has improved since last year.
“Two of my friends that I train with at Athlete’s Edge and Power 5 Football, Ryan Browne (Purdue) and Mitchell Viviano (Buffalo), both went to prep schools last year. They improved their situation by being patient with the process. They worked hard on a few of their weaknesses and took their game to another level with an extra offseason. They received full scholarships at big schools and enrolled early in January. I plan to do the same,” said Kidder.
With another year going through the recruiting process, Kidder also gets to use his senior video to his advantage as colleges evaluate him. Most prospects must rely heavily on their junior film because spots fill up before their senior year is over.
2022 Postseason Honors
During the 2022 season, Kidder finished an impressive high school career at Bishop Foley. His team had a 31-9 overall record during his four years. He was a 4-year varsity starter on offense (wide receiver) and defense (safety). He earned 1st Team All-State and All-Detroit Catholic honors for the 3rd consecutive season. He was their team captain since his sophomore year. Kidder was also selected to the Michigan Dream Team.
“Adam has made everyone around him BETTER. The program is in a better place because of what he accomplished at Bishop Foley. Kids follow Adam. Adam sets the tone when we are in the weight room. There is no standing around or wasting time. The kids know when he is ready to work, it’s time to work,” said Brian Barnes, Head Football Coach at Bishop Foley.
Head Coach Comments
Barnes gave Kidder high praise as a 2-way player. “As a receiver, he has tremendous body control and is elite at high-pointing the football. On defense as a safety, he has a quick change of direction and is never out of position. He can break on the ball as well as anyone when it is in the air.”
Going into this offseason, Kidder had a specific plan on areas he wanted to improve. “My main goal is to bring my low 4.5 40 speed down into the 4.4’s every time I test. I also needed to get stronger and add more weight to my frame. Colleges will see that I have done both when I camp in June,” said Kidder.
2023 Offseason Goals
“Adam is a talented prospect and arguably the best athlete in our program this offseason. He has worked extremely hard since the season ended. He is definitely going to stand out this summer at the college camps. He consistently runs in the mid to high 4.4’s, a 4.1 shuttle, and a 6.8 3-cone. He put up seven reps at 225 last week. I am excited for colleges to see how he has progressed,” said Jim Browne, former NFL player and director of Athlete’s Edge in Waterford, Michigan.
2023 Summer Camp Schedule
Kidder has an impressive camp schedule as we head into summer and will aggressively get in front of as many colleges as possible. He will camp at Rutgers, Ball State, Toledo, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Vanderbilt, Maryland, Penn State, Buffalo, and Miami (OH). He will also play in the Michigan High School All-Star game on June 24.
Milford Academy Prep School
Another huge advantage for Kidder is playing for Milford Academy and Coach Chaplick in 2023. Milford has a long tradition of helping athletes get scholarships through their network of contacts. They have a laundry list of players who have gone on to play Division 1 football and in the NFL. Kidder is one of the top players Milford brought in for the 2023 season.
As the landscape of college football changes in the transfer portal era, the path Kidder is taking will become more popular. As people understand the recruiting process more, they will see all the benefits that can help improve an athlete’s situation.
As an unranked prospect with no profile in all of the national recruiting sites’ databases, Adam Kidder will surprise many people in the football community this summer with all the success coming his way.