High school student-athletes tend to have big dreams of going to college on sport scholarships and playing in professional leagues soon after. So often, these dreams are interrupted with reality and although the talent is there, many students and their families are not equipped with the tools needed to go to the next level. Anthony Harrison’s new book, The Top Recruit, hopes to be the guide that student athletes need to better reach their goals.
At a Houston area high school football training and conditioning camp, Anthony Harrison speaks to ninth through twelfth grade students about the recruiting process and the three things he thinks will make kids successful: Self-control, self-discipline, and making the right choices. These kids, considered as some of the top players in the city, attend the camp to create highlight reels to show college recruiters in hopes of gaining athletic scholarships. It was not too long ago that Harrison was in this same position as an athlete at Kinkaid High School with dreams of playing college football.
Harrison attended Kinkaid High School, a private school in Houston where his teachers and coaches always stressed the importance of education, internships and networking. He has always been athletic and throughout his youth played baseball, basketball and football. Being a top high school player at the time, Harrison knew he had what it took to get a college scholarship, but had to search for the resources to make it happen.
“At the time, people did not look at private schools for athletes. I had to do everything. I had to send out my resume. I had to send out my film. I had to make contact with coaches. I had to go to camps. I did it all on my own.”
The hard work Harrison put in towards being recruited led him to attend Louisiana Tech on a full scholarship. While there, he was recognized as a Freshman All-American, and the fifth best tight end in the nation. After a serious injury on the field, Harrison shifted his focus from going pro and thought of the bigger picture.
“I thought I was going to be this big time NFL superstar. But the entire time, my athletic director and the head coach, they would always set me up with internships, set me up to meet boosters in the community. I start thinking there’s got to be more to it.”
He went on to graduate from Louisiana Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and get his Master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration. He then realized he had to help prepare the next generation. With all that he learned throughout the recruiting process, Harrison is now on a mission to help student-athletes and their families become more aware of the opportunities and resources available. His experience inspired his book The Top Recruit.
In The Top Recruit, Harrison stresses the importance of character, keeping up grades, promotion, and networking in an effort to be recognized by colleges. He took the time to interview many friends, coaches, mentors and players about their recruiting experiences to include the entire scope of what goes into a player being recruited. The book includes expertise from the Wide Receiver coach at The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), the Offensive Coordinator at The University of California (Cal), and the Wide Receiver coach for the Dallas Cowboys and many others, all of whom Harrison has a trusting and personal relationship with. The Top Recruit features a section dedicated to students and a section dedicated to parents to better identify what role each should play throughout recruiting. Harrison felt that giving parents a guide was a must because so many parents are unfamiliar with the recruiting process.
“One of the parents I helped throughout this process, they both are very well-educated and they both have amazing jobs but they knew nothing about recruiting.”
Writing this book was very important for Harrison because he believes it truly helps student-athletes better prepare for being recruited and the route they should take in doing so. Having had the experience of being a young recruit who put in the time and effort to ensure his success is what makes his story so unique. The Top Recruit takes much of the stress and worry off of student-athletes by being a guide to scholarship and early preparation for the success you will reach thereafter.
Along with being an author, Harrison works at a firm in the oil and gas industry, spends his time coaching a 7-on-7 team and at Episcopal High School, and mentoring young athletes. He is currently planning a mentorship retreat that will include a few of his NFL friends, and in the fall he and his wife will take of group of student-athletes on a visit to University of Southern California (USC) and University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA).