Today, I turn the blog over to Tim Jenkins. I met Tim sometime in the fall/winter before the 2013 NFL draft, when he was a QB prospect out of Division II Ft. Lewis College. As I recall, his parents found me on the Internet, and we got to be good friends in the run-up to the draft as I worked with them, advising them along the way and helping them sort out their options as a consultant in my ITL role.
Ultimately, Tim went undrafted but landed a tryout with the Rams and, despite coming in with no guarantees, he was one of the few to earn a contract. He was ultimately cut in training camp, and after a short cup of coffee in the CFL, he moved on to his next phase. Now, despite being just a few short years out of college, he’s a rising star on the QB training circuit and has 65 passers under his instruction.
His latest move is to launch a draft prep program. Specialists at the position have become overnight celebrities in recent seasons as such training has gained traction, and Tim is the next big name you’ll be seeing as a guru to the best prospects. I encourage you to check out his Website.
Obviously, the quarterback position is special, the toughest one to play in all of sports, in my opinion. Every year, about 50 rookie quarterbacks are drafted, signed post-draft, or brought in as tryout players, while hundreds of others are passed over. Here are a few tips from Tim on how to be one of those 50.
My Journey: In 2009 I was a 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior quarterback who had one year of varsity football under his belt. However, I had a high football IQ and could spin it slightly better than most, and I landed at Fort Lewis College, one of my three Division II offers. From there, I started four years (including my true freshman year), threw for 8,968 yards and set 18 school records. The kicker: I missed the back half of my senior season with a separated shoulder and we finished a whopping 0-10.
Despite the odds, I made the decision that I was going to make it to the NFL regardless of where I ranked on NFL Draft Scout’s Website or what advice I got, and that’s exactly what I did. I signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 after participating in their rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Here are a few things I did that can help you make it to camp, or enhance your chances of getting drafted if you’re a passer.
- Find an agent: After my sophomore year was when I decided I thought I could play professional football. That’s when I began to reach out to agents and share with them my highlight tape and stats. I was looking to build relationships. The rules are simple — you can build relationships but you can’t take anything. If you think you have the moral fiber to resist temptation, start this process as soon as possible because like in everything, the agency business gets painted with a broad brush because of the actions of a few. Build relationships that will come into play when you exhaust your eligibility.
- Find a trainer: Here’s a mistake I made that you shouldn’t. Find a position-specific QB trainer who understands the NFL game. For example, at Jenkins Elite, we give agents or quarterbacks a list of our NFL curriculum, which includes 459 different concepts I learned in the NFL. Most college kids don’t understand the importance of these concepts until they get there. As everyone knows, if you’re learning basic stuff while you’re in the NFL, it’s too late.
- Find an all-star game: This is where I got noticed. The Casino del Sol all-star game in Tucson, Ariz., which is no longer even around, was my saving grace. Pursue these games. Send emails and put calls in to the player director. Be aggressive. Now, will they invite you just because you called? Absolutely not, but when they are scrambling to find a QB because one dropped out or decided on another game, your name will be on that list, just like mine was! By the way, working with all-star games is something Neil and Inside the League do very well.
- Know your class: Begin to understand the rest of the competition in your draft class. Identify areas you could improve on while also seeing areas you excel in and where you can separate yourself from the competition. Don’t get caught up reading articles from bloggers; stay focused on the feedback you get from scouts or your agent and keep pushing. The process seems like a long time, though the reality is that it’s a couple months that can shape the rest of your life.
I hope this piece can serve someone trying to help a small-school kid get noticed, or a small-school kid himself who is trying to get noticed. The NFL is often closer than people think. They just need to be willing to do all the little things that can help get them there, which sometimes, as I learned, was emailing people and getting told ‘no’ 99 times. The ‘yes’ you get on the hundredth email is why you do it!