Let's set the record straight

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The other day, I was going to scout a football game at the request of a father who wanted me to come and watch his son.

I called the high school in advance to request a field pass so I also could observe several sophomores, juniors and seniors from both of the participating schools. I was surprised when I was informed that the head coach doesn't allow "recruiting people" on the field.

It was the first time a high school coach has ever prohibited me from going on the field to scout players. And I've been to hundreds of games over the last 31 years.

But the most bizarre incident happened at the Class 7A championship game in Champaign in 2004.

I was there as a guest of then Illinois coach Ron Turner and I was writing for USA Today and ESPN. I had been watching the games from Turner's office, then moved to the bleachers at the north end of Memorial Stadium.

Jim Flynn of the IHSA staff saw me and ordered security guards to kick me out of the stadium. He said I had lied about working for USA Today and ESPN. He said he ran the state playoff, not Turner, and I didn't belong on what he described as "his" field.

Flynn never apologized for his arrogance and stupidity. But let me try to set the record straight for parents, players, coaches and fans who still might not understand what I do for a living.

I have helped hundreds of kids over the years and never, ever have charged a penny for advice or anything else. I obtain subscriptions for my newsletter through the colleges and fans. Sometimes there is a misconception by some coaches who believe everybody involved in recruiting is out to profit off the kids. Some are, but not me.

Each year, I evaluate the top 1,500 players in the country. I travel the country from coast-to-coast to personally talk to the players and their coaches and to evaluate their film. Then I publish a 300-page book that provides a scouting report on each prospect. I also attend as many games as possible and scout the top underclassmen.

One coach told a father of a recruit: "We don't like to talk to Tom Lemming because he charges kids money."

Absolutely not true. The coach is ignorant because he never has talked to me. He assumed that, because some recruiting analysts charge fees to kids to promote them on their Website or display their videos, I was one of them. But the fact is I have paid thousands of dollars out of my own pocket over the years to help get kids noticed and receive scholarships without ever charging a penny.

I want to get that point across to coaches and anyone else who is unaware of what I actually do.

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10 Comments

I am happy to see that there is someone out there who is looking out for the kids. If your looking for a kid that has run under the radar because of an unsuccessful team, I would suggest taking a look at #42 from Mundelein. He is a starter on defense, offense and the kicker (He has hit the cross bar on a 60yd field goal. Might be worth a look.

Likewise a kid that I think that is overlooked is #9 from Morgan Park. Everyone is so fixed on the quarterback that this kid doesn't get noticed at all. He is undersized for the position he plays but plays it well.

Dear Tom,
If you really want to scout some amazing kids, go to the Naperville North vs Glenbard North game..the sophomore teams for both schools have had an amazing year. The QB from Glenbard North is a natural athlete and a quick player. The defense for the Naperville North Huskies is unbelievable and thier QB's, FB, RB, and LB's play at the varsity level for just a sophomore class. After the sophomore game go to the varsity game to go watch the Naperville North Huskies team. 2 sophomores will be starting in place (LT and DE) and their RB is a monster. Also, their LB Lifka is an outstanding prospect. Expect a great and physical game from the Sophomore game and a great game from varsity.

# 8 lincoln way central always plays never rests...that whole team is overlooked and under appreciated.. they never get press...go watch these kids

there are several juniors from the crete monee football team. #44 mike jamison the ILB for the team, who started last year as a sophomore. he has done good for the warrior defense, and has averaged over 12 tackles a game. another standout junior is WR/RB LeAndre Vallot. he his a fast and dominant player, give him several blocks, and 1-2 cuts and hes going to give your team 6 points on the board. he is also a standout blocker as well. a great lineman is the Left Tackle Cody Hock. the kid is a great blocker, and is also number one in his class. watch out for RB julius spicer too, he is short but yet a stocky guy, like a maurice jones drew, but with some room, he's going to get 6 on the board.

Tom,
I have noticed the difference between most stereotypical recruiters and yourself. You provide evaluations and notes on kids you've never come in contact with. That's what makes it obvious to me that you are legit. Something interesting for you to scout that you don't see too often..... A Senior and Junior brother duo playing on the same defense. Crystal Lake South has Senior JD Barchard, who has been recognized as a top prospect in the area, and the state has a younger brother Brett Barchard @ DE. He's a Junior, who is statistically a big part of the dominant defense the Gators have put together. He compiled 4 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries in the first two games alone, along with several tackles and hurries, etc. He flies under the radar a bit, due to the size of his talented counterparts, Sam McCole and Fahn Cooper. Check them out.

Take a look at the running back at young, # 25,excellent player, playing for a not so good team. We played them in week 2 of the season.

Another kid that has run under the radar because of an average team is #22 Running Back Julian Burgos. He had impressive numbers last season despite playing in spread based offense that primarily passed last season. He has picked up his game and putting up impressive numbers. Also watch out for his younger brother #33 Linebacker/Fullback Jeremy Burgos. He led the team last season as a sophomore with tackles. He has picked up where he left off last season at Linebacker and at Fullback he has opened up some big holes and helping out on the offense.

The Burgos boys currently play of Notre Dame High School in Niles, Illinois.

How about a kid that is taken out because the Coaches don't like him. Look at #32 Senior at Crete. He has had a great year and overlooked, because the Coach thinks he has only one player on the field. How many HS Coach's only take one Captain out for the coin toss? Crete does, they think they only need this one player, while everyone else is overlooked. Coach told #49 don't even try out this year I don't have a spot for you. Well look at #49, he is doing awesome. HS Coaches don't know everything.

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on September 7, 2009 8:46 AM.

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