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High school coach, players speak on how COVID-19 has impacted football & college recruitment

Football practice at Parkway High School
Football practice at Parkway High School(KSLA)
Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 5:06 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - COVID-19 has impacted life in many ways, including kids in the classroom and on the sports field.

For many athletes, the goal after high school is to play in college. However, drastic changes had to be made to the way students were recruited when COVID first impacted the country.

Some coaches and players say the pandemic has changed their dynamic.

“You play football your whole life, that’s all you know. Then, there’s no football,” said Solomon Washington, football player at Parkway High School.

In the first months of the pandemic, entire seasons for high school sports programs were halted, robbing some players of the chance to be seen by scouts.

“No college, no university could have kids on campus. You couldn’t go to them, they couldn’t hold their camps. They really didn’t get to see them in person,” said Cory Brotherton, head football coach at Parkway High School.

Recently, some restrictions have loosened and universities are holding their camps again. However, prospective athletes aren’t out of the woods just yet.

Last year, the NCAA voted to extend another year of eligibility to fall and winter sport athletes currently playing at a collegiate level.

“There are a lot of kids that would have probably been offered a scholarship a few years ago, that’s going to have a hard time finding a home now,” said Brotherton.

Brotherton says as the Delta variant surges across the U.S., the program is again discussing with players the importance of not taking a single play for granted.

“You can see a big difference in the way the kids kind of changed, some of them are like, ‘we’re actually going to get to play, I can turn that switch on now,” he said.

That includes Washington. Now captain of the team, he says he’s going to take possession of the season in hopes of playing at the next level.

“My dad told me before the season started, ‘every time you go out and play to smell the grass’. I was like ‘smell the grass?’ And he was like, ‘because you don’t know if that could be your last game.’”

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