Excelling in football at tiny Mount Vernon High School in southeastern South Dakota did not garner Chad Greenway much college recruiting interest.
In fact, the future first-round NFL draft pick received only one offer from a Division I-A (now Football Bowl Subdivision) program. The unheralded Greenway became a standout at Iowa and later in the NFL for the Vikings.
Now well-known, Greenway serves as an ambassador for a digital recruiting platform set up to give prospective college football players a more direct line of communication with college coaching staffs. Signing Day Sports, backed by a large group of Minnesota high school coaches, is designed to elevate the profile of future Chad Greenways by helping high school football players avoid falling through the cracks and into obscurity.
"This platform allows you to control some of your own future," Greenway said. "Maybe your high school team wasn't that strong. Maybe you were a late bloomer. You need a way to get yourself out there."
The Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA), an organization of high school coaches that has served for 65 years, recently announced a partnership to make Signing Day Sports the exclusive recruiting platform for its more than 355 high school programs.
Partnering with the MFCA creates "a vehicle to build trust," Greenway said. In the past year, Signing Day Sports has also signed exclusive partnerships with the Texas High School Coaches Association and the North Carolina Coaches Association. Signing Day Sports, based in Arizona, is active in 25 states.
The decision positions Minnesota high school coaches to manage rosters and depth charts, communicate internally with players and staff, remain aware of recruiting communications and advocate for their athletes.
Ron Stolski, the MFCA executive director who retired from coaching in 2020 after 58 seasons (the final 45 at Brainerd), called Signing Day Sports an "innovative resource that will ensure players maximize their exposure to colleges and universities and provide them with a clearer path."
Signing Day Sports CEO John Dorsey described the platform as the complementary next step for the hugely popular Hudl video site. Hudl offers game video analysis; Signing Day Sports allows for uploading video-verified measurables, official fundamental and drill recordings, game schedules and statistics. Recorded interview questions give athletes the chance to reveal their character.
Making inroads in Minnesota, Signing Day Sports had a representative at last Saturday's third annual Training HAUS High School Football Combine. A total of 238 high school football players competed in drills such as the 40-yard dash and vertical jump at the TCO Sports Garden in Vadnais Heights. Events like these allow players to record their performances to share with college programs.
More than 220 colleges and universities across the country connected to Signing Day Sports can identify potential candidates for their recruiting classes. Division II and III schools with smaller recruiting budgets stand to benefit most, but Signing Day Sports can also assist top prospects and Division I programs.
Denzel Burke, a four-star prospect out of Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., said that through Signing Day Sports, he garnered additional college attention. He ultimately signed with Ohio State and last season, as a freshman cornerback, he was a third-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches.
"Players can market themselves and for college coaches; it's like Zillow. They can look for a more exact fit for their systems," said Dorsey, himself once a promising football player at Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix who lacked the recruiting network Signing Day Sports aims to provide and never played in college.
A basic subscription is free and allows players to build their profiles and list their measurables and academic info. Uploading video requires payment. Subscriptions cost $29.99 per month, $149.99 for six months and $249.99 annually.
Dorsey said that makes the program more cost-effective for families than driving or flying to camps around the country where players showcase the same attributes they can put on video. He said 110,000 athletes are on the platform, and 30,000 are paid subscribers. Sports represented go beyond football to baseball and softball, with soccer coming soon.
Greenway said he envisions Signing Day Sports serving both prospective athletes and interested college coaches. In high school there are, he said, "varying levels of coaches' interest in helping with the recruiting process for their players. This makes it easier for the coach and applies a little pressure on all coaches to help create opportunities for their kids."
On the other end of the process, Greenway said "for [college] programs that don't have the huge recruiting budgets, Signing Day Sports is a chance for college coaches to learn a lot more without making a seven-hour drive."
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