Innovating Recruiting: Higley High School Paves the Way

In a rapidly evolving recruiting landscape, Higley High School football coach Eddy Zubey has taken a proactive approach to ensure his underclassmen aren’t left behind. In an interview with AZ Central, Zubey discussed a new approach to giving his football team more exposure by starting a new winter workout program. 

These new winter workouts, initiated on January 16 and running through February 1, are not just about on-field drills and showcasing talent; they’re about staying ahead of the curve in a recruiting world that is increasingly favoring college transfers.

Zubey, who led the Knights to back-to-back 5A state championships, recognizes the challenges posed by the transfer portal, where college teams are growing older and more experienced. To counter this trend, Zubey is creating additional opportunities for his underclassmen, including standout quarterbacks Luke Haugo (2025) and Gunner Fagrell (2026).

“With the portal and transfers, high school kids are getting left out,” Zubey emphasizes, shedding light on the urgency of adapting to the changing recruiting dynamics.

As the recruiting landscape shifts, high school athletes face the challenge of standing out amidst the noise. Zubey’s concern is palpable, echoing the sentiment that the traditional recruiting process is no longer sufficient. The transfer portal has altered the playing field, and Zubey is determined to equip his players with the tools needed to navigate this evolving maze.

The winter workouts extend beyond routine practices. They encompass on-field drills, position-specific individual workouts, one-on-one skills, pass rush scenarios, and 7-on-7 sessions. What sets these workouts apart is their strategic timing during the NCAA’s recruiting evaluation period. Zubey seized the opportunity, bringing in a roster of college coaches to evaluate talent directly.

Last week, the likes of Utah, Princeton, Kansas State, Colorado State, Northern Arizona, and Oregon were present. The momentum continued as the UCLA quarterbacks coach visited, followed by representatives from UNLV, Boston College, BYU, Rice, Weber State, and Oregon State.

While Zubey’s winter workouts provide invaluable exposure, there’s an additional tool that can amplify the impact for high school athletes—Signing Day Sports. The app, designed for athletes to market themselves directly to college programs, complements these initiatives seamlessly.

One of the app’s key features is the creation of “video resumes.” Athletes, like those at Higley, can record their verified measurables and on-field drills during their winter workouts. This not only adds credibility to their profiles but also bridges the gap between traditional recruiting methods and the evolving needs of college coaches. Being able to send this data digitally, allows for any athlete to create their own “winter workout” no matter where they are or what access they have.  

The interview segment within the app mirrors in-person interactions, giving coaches a glimpse into the athlete’s personality and composure under pressure. With only one chance to record, this feature aligns with the essence of real-time evaluations Zubey is striving for.

Zubey’s foresight is evident in his commitment to these winter workouts. While he acknowledges the unconventional timing, he understands the potential ramifications of delaying action.

“The last thing I want to do is coach football in January. But is this going to become the norm in two years, and you’ve got to play catch-up? Or should I be innovative and start this process?” Zubey asked in the interview with AZ Central, posing a crucial question that resonates not just with Higley but with high schools nationwide.

As these winter workouts gain momentum, the impact of combining proactive coaching with innovative tools like Signing Day Sports becomes undeniable. High school athletes no longer have to fear being left behind; instead, they have the means to step confidently into a future where self-promotion and strategic exposure are the keys to unlocking their full potential.

In Zubey’s words, “We can do it. I’m just trying to get ahead of the curve and give our kids more opportunities at Higley to be evaluated by coaches.”

With Signing Day Sports in the mix, these opportunities extend far beyond the field, creating a roadmap for the next generation of recruits to navigate the ever-changing landscape of college football.

(Top Photo: Patrick Breen/Arizona Republic)

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