Catch The Eye of Recruiters at the Army National Combine

Want to play college football at a top program or be selected as an All-American to play in the Army Bowl

The Wire got an exclusive interview for our athletes to be able to learn directly from Joe Ray, National Recruiting Director for the US Army Bowl. Read more about what it takes to stand out during the crucial recruiting process at the National Combine. This article isn’t just advice—it’s a strategic guide to catching the eye of those who matter in college football recruiting.

What Joe Ray Looks For

“Showing your authentic character—this is a non-negotiable when we assess athletes at the combines,” says Joe Ray. 

Each year, Ray and his team attend the US Army Bowl National Combines to scout for promising talent. They focus not only on physical capabilities but also on mental readiness, character, and in his own words; coachability. 

“It’s not just about how fast you run but how accurately you can execute drills under pressure and how you handle real-time challenges,” he explains.

Ray tells a story form a recent combine where an O-lineman was apparently the most dominant guy there – but showed more than just his on-field prowess to the recruiting team. 

“I was watching him in his drills and he was just flipping kids over!” exclaimed Ray. “He did real well in the shuttle and the L-drill, but particularly stood out in his individual competition drills.” 

Seemed like a sure thing to catch the eye of a recruiter. But in actuality, the thing that separated him was his willingness to learn from mistakes and improve on weaknesses. 

“When he did one small thing wrong, I heard a coach talk to him, and he immediately worked on correcting himself. I thought, ‘OK, now I really get to see what he’s about.’

“First one, he blew it. He stepped outside, and the other guy went inside and easily beat him. Well, he kept trying and implementing that bit of coaching until he obviously got it down – and very well executed.”

Ray would eventually speak with the guard and ask him if he would be willing to put these newfound skills to the test in the Army Bowl game, to which the athlete responded, “I can now.” 

Again, the most important takeaway for Ray was the athlete’s clear and evident coachability. It’s hard to quantify intangibles like “coachability,” but take this example and apply it to whatever position, or age, or size, or weight you are. 

The Crucial Role of National Combine

The combines are more than just a testing ground—they are a showcase where dreams of playing at the collegiate level begin to take shape. And in the case of the US Army Bowl National Combine, it’s where All-Americans etch their name into history by being selected to play in the world-famous Army Bowl.

US Army Bowl National Combine

“Every drill, every interview, every interaction is your chance to make an impression,” Ray points out. Success stories of countless athletes who have gone from the combines to receiving scholarships are a testament to the opportunities these events provide. And that is why Ray and his team are so adamant about attending these in person. 

Preparation is key. “Come prepared to showcase not just your skills but your work ethic and your passion for the game,” advises Ray. He encourages athletes to focus on their technique, ensure their measurables are up to date, and practice the types of drills that will be required at the combines. 

Another very important component that can make you stand out is who you choose to compete against. Joe Ray recalls a telling moment from a recent combine: 

“A few combines back, there was this D-lineman who was (sort of) talking the talk but not walking the walk. He performed well initially, but it was his choice of opponents that revealed his true character. 

“When he faced a good lineman—not even the best, just good—he lost. Instead of rising to the challenge, he started picking weaker opponents, boasting about his dominance over them.” 

Ray shakes his head, “That’s not what we want to see. You’ve got to be willing to risk going up against the best. It’s not just about winning; it’s about showing that you can compete. A good lineman wins some, loses some, but always competes.”

This story goes to show the crucial lesson of the combines: the importance of resilience and the willingness to challenge oneself against worthy opponents. It’s these moments that catch the eyes of recruiters like Ray, who look for athletes who not only have skill but also the heart and courage to face tough competition.

Take Your Shot

Are you ready to make your mark? The next US Army Bowl National Combine could be your gateway to a future in college football as an All-American. Register now, take to heart the insights shared by Joe Ray, and prepare to show why you deserve a spot on an Army Bowl roster. Visit our website for registration details and more information on how you can be part of this life-changing experience.

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