Nov. 17, 2017

This email is directed at anyone in the pro and college football business. Already a client? Here's a review of the week. Not a client? We'd love to have you aboard.
The Week in Football: Nov. 11-17
One of the best parts of working in football is the friendships you make. Though ITL's Neil Stratton and former NFL offensive tackle Clint Oldenburg have never met face to face, they have kept in touch since Stratton was personnel director of his first all-star game, the 2007 Inta Juice North-South All-Star Classic, and Oldenburg was a mid-round prospect in the '07 draft. Stratton invited Oldenburg to the Houston-based game, but due to injury, the Rams linemen couldn't make it ("I was so pissed I couldn't play in that game," wrote Oldenburg in a DM to Stratton). Ten years later, Oldenburg is retired from a six-year playing career that took him to six NFL teams and three leagues (he also played in the UFL and CFL) and he's part of the design team for one of EA Sports' most popular titles, Madden NFL 18. Stratton asked Oldenburg several questions for next week's edition of ITL's weekly blog, Succeed in Football, related to his experiences in football and the video game business. We thought two of his responses were perfect for this week's Friday Wrap. For instance, we asked Clint how he transitioned from college football to pro football player to a person integrally involved in developing sports-oriented video games and content? What was his path? We
Former NFL offensive lineman Clint Oldenburg has carved out a nice post-football career with EA Sports.
found out that he struck gold at EA through opportunity, a zest for electronic competition, and hard work. "I was cut by the Redskins in 2011 after spending two-and-a-half seasons with the organization, my sixth team in five years," he wrote. "After having been cut for the sixth or seventh time in my career (I lost track of the actual amount to be honest), I knew my time in the NFL was running out." That's when he found a new road that seemed more temporary than permanent at the time. "I found out about an internship EA Sports was offering and I saw it as a great opportunity to just put together a resume and a cover letter - two things I'd never done before," he said. "I also was a big video game guy, so even if I got lucky and got the gig, I thought I couldn't lose. I ended up getting the internship, which was scheduled to be 16 weeks. I was planning on heading up to Saskatchewan at the end of the internship to play in the CFL the following season, but 10 weeks into the internship, EA offered me a full-time position on the Madden team and it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I retired from professional football two days later and took the job." The rest, as they say, is history. Next week, Clint will have his thoughts on where football and video games go from here; whether he ever sees NFL teams working directly with EA Sports to help teach playbooks and skirt rules limiting on-field practice; and if a day will come when you don't need a controller to play video games. Check it out at Succeed in Football next week. In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said last week in the business of football.
The ITL Scouting Department: This week, we provided 44 individual scouting reports to nine different agents and agencies, and those were just individual orders. Already, we've done individual reports on nine players on our 2018 ITL All-Star Invitation Grid (more on that later). Meanwhile, our scouts are engaged and working with several firms giving them up-to-the-minute scoop on the players they're considering signing next month. Our Josh Washburn (ex-Redskins), Ryan Hollern (Bills/Saints), Jeff Bauer (Jets), Danton Barto (Rams) and Bob Morris (49ers) will most likely be working with NFL teams again in a few months, but right now, they can be working for you. Don't give up such a competitive advantage when so many other firms are benefiting from their skills, contacts and training. Not sure about signing your first-ever NFL client? Want to give a junior the best counsel on whether or not he should leave early for the league? Take advantage of our regular-season rates ($50 for our short reports, $100 for our longer, more formal reports) while they're still available in the last two months of November (December kicks off a new price schedule). Our scouts are also available for hire in December, and we've got a price for any budget. Want a sample report? Let us know. We can turn around any player in a week, and usually less. Don't take needless risks before investing thousands of dollars and hours on working with a player the league finds wanting. Contact us today.
2018 (and 2019) Contact List: It's almost Thanksgiving. It's not a bad idea to avail yourselves of all resources in the hunt for top prospects. Our 2018 Prospect List is available and very reasonably priced. And more importantly, we only have about 10 copies left as we hold to our limit of 30 sales. The contacts for more than 140 draftable seniors are on our list, and we've even added 20 more confirmed members of the 2019 class that we expect to make the jump to this spring's draft. We've got social media handles, hometowns, parents' names, and confirmed phone numbers for loads of players, and they want to hear from you. There's plenty of information on our site, but much more on our list. Interested? Want more information? We want to get it in your hands right away! Drop us a line today.
Succeed in Football: Once again, we turned our weekly blog over to NFL Draft Bible's Rick Serritella, who scoured the Web and the world of broadcast and broadband to find the latest news related to football innovations. This week in his Gridiron Tech report, he discussed two major sports media giants, Sports Illustrated (SI) and ESPN, and their attempts to break into the online digital packages, with SI partnering with Amazon and ESPN working with Snapchat. There's also a new location for the NFL Experience, which has become a staple attraction for Super Bowl cities. If you want to know where football is going and what's ahead for the game, you have to know where the leaders are going. Check out Rick's columns, going back 10 weeks, at our Succeed in Football page.
Speaking of technology: The College Gridiron Showcase has partnered with Go Media to bring a unique offering to this year's event. For the first time ever, draft prospects will have an opportunity to run a 30-60 second highlight video adjacent to NFL scouts during game week. This year, the team hotel will feature Zipp Charge quick boost phone charging station in the scouts meeting room, and it will have a digital display advertising monitor. For more information on this opportunity, contact Chris Black at or 972-827-6723, or Brian Mattison at, 214-307-2111 and reference CGS.
The ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process: We're halfway through our series designed to clear up the misinformation (and even lies) surrounding the NFL draft prospect experience. This week, we led things off with a discussion on the basics of combine prep, followed on Tuesday by a look at the other, pricier services some training locations offer. Wednesday, we broke down the finances of training, and Thursday, we got a little more into the details of training on a budget. Next week, we've got a few more odds and ends on training, which we'll provide on Monday, followed by a look at the 12-month roster cycle on Tuesday; a note about 'Draft Twitter' and the people whose opinions populate it on Wednesday; and we'll wrap the week Thursday with the 'ABCs' of the NFL combine. Our newsletter is free, and anyone can receive it. If you're the parent of a player or a player yourself, and you'd like to receive it, just let us know and we'll be happy to add you.
The ITL Rising Contract Advisor Newsletter: More than half of the 2017 agent class reads our daily newsletter every day. This week, the newest contract advisors read on Monday about the risks associated with going too 'all-in' on combine prep expenses. Tuesday, we offered up one of our most popular annual editions as we established legitimate first-year goals for an agent, and on Wednesday, we looked at Part 1 of how all-star games work. Finally, on Thursday, we wrapped the week with Part 2. Next week, we'll have more. Next week, we'll have parts 3, 4 and 5 of how all-star games work - it's an important topic - Monday through Wednesday, and on Thursday, we'll discuss who and how players (and agents) get calls on draft-related matters. The free trial is ending, and we're paring down our list. If you're a new agent, you're missing out if you're not receiving our daily tutorials. Want to be added (or re-added) to the list? Join us here.
The 2018 All-Star Invitations Grid: This week, we debuted one of our most popular annual features. Our 2018 board is filling in slowly, with 24 Senior Bowl invitees, two Shrine Game invitees and 18 from the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. We're just getting started, and we've got a long way to go, but we're under way. Don't get behind - check out our lists and find out who's going where here.
Rep Rumblings: This week, we came back with four big reports on recruiting, scouting and other NFL biz buzz. On Monday, we had the latest development in the recruiting of Penn State sensation Saquon Barkley; we also had notes on the advisor relationship one recent Senior Bowl invitees is using during the vetting process. Tuesday, we looked at how the University of Alabama has conducted its draft assistance program for Tide players over the past near-decade, and how that process may be changing. We also had recruiting buzz, of course. After skipping Wednesday, we returned Thursday with developments on the all-star front in Miami, as well as an interesting and innovative program launched by one of the titans in the combine prep arena. Finally, this morning, we had the latest chatter from Louisville, Clemson and El Paso. If you're in the business, you need to be reading our reports to keep up with the latest news you can use. Get started here.
Looking to work in sports?: Sure Sports, one of our longtime partners and a sponsor of the   2017 ITL Combine Seminar here's Sure Sports founder Leon C. McKenzie at our event in February  ), is hiring. The company is looking for a marketing manager and a Junior credit analyst to add to its team. Interested? Click  here for more information or to apply.
Next week: There are two weekends left in the 2017 college football season for most schools. That means that there are a lot of big decisions coming very soon. As always, many top players will be making decisions on their football futures when they return home for Thanksgiving. That means our 2018 Signings Grid ( here's 2017 and here's 2016) is just around the corner. It also means we'll be debuting the ITL Combine Marketplace soon ( here's last year's). As always, our big board will have dozens of training facilities all over the nation, with prices, services, residential options and contact information for plenty of top locations. We'll have all the regulars, as well as some exciting new venues. We'll also keep charging ahead as we update our 2018 All-Star Invitations Grid, and we'll have four more editions of two newsletter series, our ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter and our ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process. In addition, the members of the ITL Scouting Department have their tendrils out, crisscrossing the nation to sort out the true prospects from the questionable ones. We'll also have more from Clint Oldenburg of EA Sports, an NFL veteran now working on Madden Football, and his thoughts on the integration of technology and football in our blog, Succeed in Football. We'll also have plenty more good stuff in our Rep Rumblings. And don't forget, if you need an edge in making contact with prospects in this year's draft, our Contact List may be the answer. If you're feeling insecure, unsure, or awkward about the '18 draft and you need a little help, please don't hesitate to come aboard. That's why we're here!

Inside The League is the consulting service for the football industry. We work with the contract advisors for about two-thirds of active NFL players as well as the combine trainers, financial planners, scouts, coaches and other pro league organizers that make up the game. Cost is $29.95/month, and you can cancel at any time. To register, click here. Also check out our new free blog, Succeed in Football. Copyright Neil Stratton and ITL 2015.

Sincerely, Neil Stratton
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