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Cottonwood Heights Journal

College recruiting 101: Touring and teaching the country

Aug 29, 2017 09:11AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Paul Putnam has been touring the country giving college recruiting speeches for about 10 years now. (Paul Putnam/courtesy)

By Jesse Sindelar | [email protected]

Paul Putnam has been touring the country teaching young student athletes the process of playing at the next level of college athletics for a while now.

But for the former Skyline alumni and athlete, who has been doing this professionally for 10 years, the job is a personal one as well.

“My son was an athlete at Layton High School for football, class of 2007. He got D1 offers for both sports, but his graduating GPA was not sufficient, and he was marked as a academic non-qualifier. Junior and senior year he was pulling A’s, but his freshman year, his academics were poor, and because of that, he missed his dream,” Putnam said.

Putnam had a similar problem in his playing days, as well. “I was recruited for track and football. I signed for the U, but my grades were awful, even with the lowered standards back then, and I missed out on my dream too,” Putnam said.

But he wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again, to anyone. Enter the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA). This organization that Putnam is a speaker for is trying to educate student athletes and their families so no one else has to go through what he and his son went through.

“We (the NCSA) are like a gym. If you want to get in shape, you can go in your backyard and do your own thing with your own equipment. But if you go to a gym, there is equipment designed by experts, with expert trainers giving expert advice. Both ways can work, but here, we are trying to be a useful tool to connect these student athletes to the right colleges and coaches,” Putnam said.

“We really stress academics to these kids,” Putnam continued. “Nowadays, schools offer, but they don’t always sign these kids. We are here to teach these kids and their parents about the whole process, like academics, how coaches find you, how to market yourself to these coaches, etc.” 

While the organization stresses all of these important things, they are also a matchmaker, helping student athletes find the right college. “Kids have to understand their place in whatever school they are looking at, if they can actually do it, both academically and athletically,” Putnam said.

Putnam also believes this process is a big issue in Utah because of the lack of out-of-state college attendees. “We will send a kid to China on a mission, but not to Colorado to go to college. We have good schools here, but there are just not enough. These kids want to stay home, but the market just isn’t big enough to handle them here,” Putnam said.

Regardless, Putnam has been working tirelessly on these recruiting speaking events, doing about 100 a year for the past 10 years. With a personal motivation behind every word of his speeches, Putnam and the organization he works for are dedicated to helping student athletes at least understand the process they are striving for in their respective sports. 

His next speaking events will be on Aug. 28 at Fremont High School and Sept. 12 at Northridge High School.