Dec. 7, 2018

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: Dec. 1-7
If you've got a Twitter account and you're registered for the Friday Wrap, you're already following Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy's account. If you're not, you should. Immediately.
By providing a semi-daily diary of how the premier college all-star game comes together, Nagy is doing extraordinary things for college
Jim Nagy has brought a lot of excitement to the Senior Bowl in his first year as its Executive Director.
and pro football in general and the NFL Draft and scouting in particular. This week, with the game still about 50 days away, Nagy revealed the complete rosters (save for 10 spots reserved for juniors) on a Yahoo! Broadcast. It's a sea change from the way things used to be done in Mobile. In the two decades under Steve Hale, the rosters (as well as the selection process) were a closely guarded secret. Things began to thaw under his successor, Phil Savage, who took over in time for the 2013 game, but never have we gotten a look behind the curtain like the one we've seen played out on Nagy's social media.
What's more, Nagy has been engaging, answering questions, soliciting input from people across the industry, and putting a fresh face on the biggest of the all-star games. Meanwhile, he's also increased the game's professionalism by expanding the number of scouts evaluating players. No other game has a comparable staff, and it's reflected in this year's roster, which rivals those we saw in the early 2000s when Chad Johnson, Brian Urlacher, LaDainian Tomlinson and other future stars took the field.
Come to think of it, the Senior Bowl isn't the only reason to be happy if you work in football (or aspire to). Maybe it's just because we're in the Christmas season, but we've come up with several reasons to be happy about the direction pro football is taking of late. Here's what we came up with.
  • If you're a player, there's good news. For the first time since the days of the UFL, there are two legitimate alternative leagues that look like, at the very least, they'll (a) actually
    play games and (b) even meet payroll, two achievements that are harder than they might seem. The Alliance of American Football is already heavily stocked with talented former NFL executives, coaches and scouts, and the XFL is well on its way, having named ex-Bills GM Doug Whaley as its Senior V.P. of Football Operations. And with yet another two leagues now jockeying for the national stage (and credible players), the time may finally be right for this guy to get his shot.
  • If you're a scout, the business remains volatile, especially on the NFL level. Still, there are more places to land for those who get the axe. Just look at our 2018 Scouting Changes Grid. Dozens of the scouts and executives jettisoned by the league over the last two years were snapped up by the AAF. The Senior Bowl picked up four more. Even the NFLPA hired two former NFL scouts, Danton Barto and Jim Monos, though Monos has since moved over to the AAF. Meanwhile, the XFL is just beginning to make its hires. Though we're starting to hear of movement there, the league is likely to wait until after the draft to really start moving ahead with populating its front offices. That's good news for the unfortunate souls that get dumped this spring. What's more, we're seeing colleges build out their personnel departments, often hiring ex-NFL scouts to bring pro-style management to recruiting. Meanwhile, we at ITL conducted our first-ever NFL Scouts Salary Survey last year, and our next survey is just around the corner. We believe in transparency, and we're all about giving scouts more tools to help make their lives better.
  • If you're a young agent, you can get a fair rendering of a player's true NFL prospects from a professional. The ITL Scouting Department has already produced well over 200 reports on players eligible for the 2019 draft and beyond, and for $100 plus tax, agents, parents, trainers or anyone else interested in learning the true potential of a player can get a read on his ability without having to rely on #DraftTwitter.
No doubt, there are even more reasons why this is the golden age of opportunity in the football business. In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the grid biz.
Save the Date(s): As we mentioned earlier, the College Gridiron Showcase is less than a month away. Need more details? Check out this link. In it, ITL's Neil Stratton breaks down his role with the game and what's exciting about this year's game and everything that surrounds it. The week kicks off Jan. 5 with the Scouting Workshop Presented by Inside the League and continues through Jan. 9. You can register here. We've got exciting news about the CGS' future coming, and a look at the CGS' past in this quick video. And while you've got your phone out, better add the 10th annual TEST Football Academy ITL Combine Seminar, which will be at the Indiana Convention Center on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. If you're an ITL client, we hope (and expect) to see you there. As it's our 10 th anniversary of that first seminar - actually, it was just Stratton talking about best practices to a handful of young contract advisors in the basement of the Indianapolis Hilton - it will be a special night. We'll be awarding our second-ever Best NFL Draft 2018 Award to one of five team finalists (which are still to be announced) and we'll have a riveting guest speaker who's highly placed in the football world. Want in? All you gotta do is become (or remain) an ITL client. If you're not yet, what are you waiting for? Get in here.
Rep Rumblings: We're in December, which is always the busiest time for rumblings. On Monday, we had our first look at the various players who had (as of early this week) who've not already declared for 2019, but who've pulled out of bowl games. We also had other names that aren't yet in the early-entry pool and looked at whispers on other players and where they're headed agent-wise. Wednesday, we had a somewhat comprehensive look at the QBs in the '19 draft and where each of them are bound when it comes to agencies. We also had plenty of up-to-the-minute whispers on which firms some of the top players prefer as well, of course. Finally, on Thursday, we looked at two new leagues (besides the AAF and XFL) that are hoping to enter the national landscape; memorialized a former titan in the agent industry; passed along the latest nuggets on one of, potentially, the top rushers in the '19 draft; and had other good stuff as well. If you haven't already, you gotta make sure you're reading and reviewing the RR. You can do that here for all of 2018.
Next week: We're amidst that two-week period between the end of the college football season and the beginning of bowl play, so we in the football world are in 'mad dash' mode and will be for the next month. Actually, mad dash doesn't quite describe the pace these days. Maybe 'jailbreak' fits better. Not only are head coaches being hired and fired, which isn't that unusual, but we're seeing some of the biggest names in college football deciding to skip bowl play and get on with hiring agents and visiting training facilities, trying to find the best respective matches. Meanwhile, as you might have read earlier, the Senior Bowl is essentially already done with its invitation process and the other Big Three games are far ahead of their normal pace. In short, the game is moving from a four-quarters, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust pace to a two-minute offense. We're doing our best to keep up. Our Rep Rumblings are chock-full of recruiting whispers, all-star buzz, coaching notes, scouting hires, new leagues and their business, and plenty more. Equally as important this time of year is our Signings Grid, where we debut much of the signing info (agent, trainer, all-star game, and eventually, whether or not they have garnered a combine invitation). We're also tracking all the all-star invites (official and otherwise) and plowing them into our All-Star Grid. We'll be updating our Succeed in Football blog (probably with something related to the CGS, scouting, our annual Best NFL Draft Award, or something similar) again this week, and we'll roll out four more editions of the ITL Rising Contract Advisor Newsletter (by the way, we might be debuting another newsletter for  a different group soon). On Twitter, we'll be saluting the best combine prep specialists in the business - all of them part of the ITL family - while highlighting their ITL Trainer Talk interviews (by the way, have you checked out our NFL Combine Prep page yet?). We're also hoping to get the ITL Combine Marketplace revved up and rolling in the coming week; it will have details on packages, training costs, and offers, especially for the budget-minded and those looking for pro day training. Other things we'll be working into the schedule include an updated look at college coaches and who represents them; our annual Agencies by Total Clients list, which we're weeks behind on; and our latest Agent Changes list for October to November, traditionally our last one before we regroup in the spring. Got anything else you need? We'd love to hear from you. And by the way, if you're not already part of our team, give yourself a Christmas present and join us. We've been watching, and you're clearly on the 'nice' list. 

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
Inside the League

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