(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
In 2002 Michael Husted needed a job.
Having played professional football for eight years as a placekicker—including a successful six-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Husted suddenly found himself trying to stay employed by attracting the attention of NFL coaches.
"At the time, the NFL standard for viewing film was Beta Video, so I decided to put my latest workouts on tape and shipped out 30 copies to each coach in the league," said Husted.
Between production and shipping costs, each round of tapes cost Husted hundreds of dollars to send out. "Each time I needed to update my film, it meant another 30 tapes, another 500 dollars. It got really expensive," said Husted.
Convinced there was a more efficient process to showcase his skills, Husted turned to the Internet. With the help of a fraternity brother from the University of Virginia, Husted created MikeHusted.com, the prototype for ActiveRecruiting.com.
With an ability to post current workouts online and drastically reduce turnaround time, Husted found a recruiting method far quicker and cheaper than sending out tapes and DVDs to individual coaches. It was also a method that got results.
"Once the coaches knew that they could go online and view my workouts, the calls started to roll in: the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs to name a few," Husted said. "I signed with the Chiefs for my ninth and final NFL season in 2002."
After seeing the success this new approach had in getting him back on the field, Husted realized an online recruiting model could help all athletes get noticed--even those who weren't trying out for the NFL.
"If it worked for me, it can work for anybody," said Husted. "Even those unknown athletes trying to play in college.”
ActiveRecruiting.com: How it Works
Designed for both athletes and coaches, ActiveRecruiting.com is an effectively-managed video library that connects both sides of the recruiting equation. Athletes begin by uploading video clips to build their interactive video resumes. The system's functionality allows athletes to showcase multiple positions in multiple sports and simplifies the process by providing one web address for coaches to visit.
This allows coaches to search a robust video database according to specific criteria they deem important. It also frees them from having to comb through countless DVDs and tapes that take up space. Many of which, they will never view.
"I've seen coaches' offices stacked with packages from prospects; some coaches tell me they get over 500 DVDs a year. They can't possibly get to all of them," said Husted. "They can view 15-20 profiles online in our system in the time it takes them to view a single recruit's DVD."
By housing the video clips virtually, coaches have more time to delve into a recruit's portfolio and make informed decisions when filling their roster.
As one Oklahoma college coach put it, "It allows me to watch each athlete; talk to their coach on the other end of the phone and discuss each play frame by frame. What a great concept."
Husted admits there are numerous websites which allow athletes to post video clips for free. But like any job interview, presentation counts--and the presentation of sites such as YouTube and Google leave much to be desired.
"You can go the free route of using YouTube and Google Video, but your video will be scrambled with all the non-athletic content out there," said Husted. "ActiveRecruiting.com brings together a detailed platform for the coaches."
Husted does not claim to be offering a recruiting service. "We are a tool to aid in the recruiting process. There are no guarantees. But the hope is that this revolutionary recruiting platform, with easy navigation and high-quality video clips, gives prospective athletes the exposure and promotion they need to play sports on the collegiate level.
And you don't have to kick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to appreciate that.