Social Media Posts, like this one for Mike Farley’s Kickers Camp’s “NORTHSHORE COMBINE” provide young specialists with an honest assessment of their current capabilities and instruction on how to improve their chances in getting the attention of colleges recruiters.

What’s testing all about?

Football camps across the country have offered combine-style camps that test and rank high school athletes. We hear about a 5-star QB recruit who’s committed to a Power 5 school like Alabama or Michigan. We know that young athlete is going to get a full-ride scholarship and play in front of jam packed collegiate stadiums on national TV. Football specialists are no different… or are they?

Read over the chart below:

Not the descriptions you thought it was?
While it’s true that if you are a 5-star recruit as. “position player”, you’re all but guaranteed a full scholarship to a big time school. This can not be said for kickers and punters. The only category on that chart mentioning scholarship is a “6-star” recruit. This is exceedingly rare. It basically means that a Power 5 school thinks you’re so talented that they will take a huge risk in giving you a 4-year scholarship on an untested high school senior. And, in the age of the portal transfer, kickers and punters abound. What college coach would risk his reputation (and one of his coveted scholarships) on the position thought to be the flakiest on earth?

The answer is, they won’t.

Offers and Commitments
You will see all sorts of specialists with a number of “offers” to play at a school… and, once they decide on their choice, they “commit” to that program. This does not mean that they are getting a scholarship. Most 4 and 5 star recruits will not receive a scholarship. Period.  They won’t “last long enough” to earn one. They may have been told to stay with us for a year or two and you’re sure to get one. 

No, you are not guaranteed… a college coach will want to see you succeed in a few games, to be sure, BEFORE and scholarship offer is delivered.

So what do the stars really mean?
My version, as you see above tells a more realistic tale. It means that if you are rated at 3 stars or higher, I think you should consider kicking or punting in college, but you have a lot of work to do. If you’re 4 stars, you should seriously be competing for the starting job at a D3 school and may be good enough to go D2 or even D1. TO legitimately be a 5-star specialist is to impress the scout enough for him to think you can play at the college level right now. That’s pretty rare. That’s a lot of pressure and some adjustments that many are not prepared to make.

What the rating is doing for you now, is giving you a guide as to where the rater (that’s me… or some other coach, scout or camp instructor) thinks where you’re at — and where you’re at versus other specialists your age.  Armed with a fresh set of stats and decades of experience coaching kids just like you — you will ultimately be subjectively rated into a star category. When coaches ask me, this is what I will tell them, along with other info to help them figure out if you’re a fit for their program.

Kicking one 50+ yard field goal proves that you have a good leg, but missing five 40 yard field goals in games means you are inaccurate and need some further development. Punting a 5.0 hangtime is a “pro” leg, but unreliable shanks will only show that your skills need improvement. All of these things can affect your rating. Don’t be discouraged. If you have the mindset for continual growth, your improvement is almost assured. In the end, you’ll want to find the perfect fit for you (see below).

Worry less about scholarships or even trying to impress scouts. The best thing you can do right now is to continue to train and do everything in your power to help your high school team succeed… and ALL COACHES LOVE THAT.


The Northshore Combine is part camp, part combine and part recruiting clinic. For just $150, area high school kickers and punters can be part of a fun and informative day of training. Parents are encouraged to listen in, and have their recruiting questions answered along the way.


If a scholarship is all that you want, then check out NCAA D2 schools. Unlike D1 schools that HAVE to offer a full 4-year scholarship, D2 athletic scholarships can be “carved” up into smaller chunks. Coaches can more readily award money (enough to cover some costs, but not all) to prespects. Competition at the college level is tough, no matter D1, D2 or D3. Ask anound, and you may be surprised to find that there are plenty of D1 schools that wouldn’t want certain D3 schools on their schedule. Your job is to find a school with the academic programs you like, the environment that you think you’ll thrive in and a football coaching staff and program that aligns with your own values. THEN, think you can play for them? If “yes” — commit to that school!