Before Chad Greenway made a name for himself in the NFL, he was a high school football player from a small town in South Dakota with little visibility in the college recruiting sphere. Now, after 11 years with the Minnesota Vikings, the two-time Pro Bowler is hoping to change the process.
Greenway recently spoke to FOX Business about partnering with Signing Day Sports, a recruitment platform aimed at making the process easier for athletes to get discovered and recruited by coaches using a unique digital ecosystem.
"I put myself back in my 17- and 18-year-old shoes. A small town South Dakota kid, it was just impossible to get recruited. I grew up in a town of about 400 people. I graduated with 26 kids in my class … and I played nine-man football so for Division 1 or for any college to come recruit me was an uphill battle. It’s a different type of battle but it’s still an uphill battle to get people to drive out to see me. It was 2001 so the recruiting technology and the video systems weren’t there. They weren’t a part of our ecosystems yet," Greenway explained.
"What Signing Day really has done is create this ecosystem for high school athletes, coaches, parents and colleges to live in the same world and make the process of recruiting more efficient and really hit every nook and cranny of our country to give everybody an opportunity, which I think is really fun. And it also allows parents and kids to control a little bit of their recruiting process, the data they're sending out, and the information they’re sharing."
Greenway was a standout at Mount Vernon High School in South Dakota, where he earned All-State accolades. He only received one Division 1 offer from Iowa but would go on to become the No.17 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
"I think there’s a little bit of an issue with the timing and pressures that come with some of that," Greenway said of the recruitment process today. "I think in the football space specifically it's interesting because there is no club-level sport. There’s a lot of seven-on-seven leagues that are popping up now that are becoming really popular across country and growing just rapidly but there are so many challenges from a parent's and kid's perspective to know what to trust and what to do and what’s the next step and how do I get in front of the right coaches and maybe I'm not a Division I player but maybe I’m a Division 2 player and I wanna make sure I get in front of those coaches."
Through the streamlining of data and the incorporation of cutting-edge technology, Signing Day Sports allows athletes from multiple sports to upload their measurables, stats, photos and videos to their profiles.
"This is, in a sense, making the process a little cleaner – a little more visible to everybody and also forcing people, in my opinion, to do it the right way and I love the fact that folks can control their own process. That was something that was really important," Greenway said.