March 22, 2014 11:38:00 PM
A career in marketing or business appears to be perfectly suited for Brandon Spann.
The New Hope High School senior compiled a highlight video and found an Internet site to help attract the attention of coaches in an effort to play football in college.
Once Spann's video caught the eyes of coaches, it didn't take long for him to realize his goal.
After signing on Feb. 25 to play football at Northeast Mississippi Community College, Spann didn't hesitate to encourage some of his schoolmates to be active in the recruiting process and to use the tools available to them on the Internet to raise their profiles.
Last week, Spann talked up the benefits of Top Prospect Network, Inc., a website designed to help student-athletes reach their athletic scholarship goals, to junior basketball player Shemar Johnson. Given Spann's success, Johnson might want to ask him to put together a highlight video he can post on the Internet to show his skills to coaches."It's a great site," Spann said. "I really like it. It got me to where I am now."
Spann's ingenuity and creativity played a role in him getting a chance to play football in college. He said he compiled a highlight package from videos posted on hudl.com, a website that provides video software and apps for coaches, athletes, and recruiters. He said he combed through his games and picked five highlights to use. Much like the process a musician goes through in picking the order of songs for an album, Spann debated what order to use the highlights because he wanted to deliver a video with a message. He then went to work on his laptop and found the right order for a two-minute video that packed a punch.
"It was pretty much all of the good things I did on the field," said Spann, a 5-foot-11, 186-pounder. "I didn't really think about (if I was going to get signed). I just stayed positive and kept doing it. I was getting feedback from the colleges and (people) looking on my page, but I never got somebody to come forward to meet me."
That changed when coaches from NEMCC saw Spann's video. The first play was a running play against Aberdeen in which Spann broke three or four tackles and plowed over another tackler while dragging another. He said he felt that play and the fifth play, which showed him running for more than 20 yards, helped make an impression.
Former New Hope High football coach Shawn Gregory, who is now the offensive coordinator at Mississippi Valley State, also recommended Spann to the NEMCC coaches. This past season, Spann, whose brother, Brenton, also is a running back on the school's football team, had 103 carries for 395 yards as a tailback for the Trojans, who finished 4-7. He also had four catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns, according to statistics posted on maxpreps.com.
Spann said the NEMCC coaches came to Columbus to visit him. He also attended a tryout at East Mississippi C.C., but he said he had already signed a scholarship to go to NEMCC when he received feedback from EMCC about his performance at the tryout. He said he doesn't have any second thoughts about his decision and is anxious for July to arrive so he can begin his college career in Booneville. He said the coaches told him he will have a chance to earn playing time at running back.
"It is amazing," Spann said. "I am very thankful to God because he put me in this position for a reason. It is my purpose in life, so I am just going forward and am very happy. I am going to stay humble and continue to work hard every day to get better because I know I am going to the next level. It might be a little tougher and it might get challenging, but I am ready for it."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
1. New Hope boys' basketball falls in Class 5A playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Starkville boys denied return trip to Jackson HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. West Lowndes boys earn third straight trip to Jackson HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS