There are 774 college football teams in the United States, and a former local coach wants to help area athletes get into the right spots to further their education and athletic careers.
Dillan Rider started Student Athlete Consultants four years ago to get players to the next level by creating a non-profit service that gets all academic and athletic information to coaches across the country.
"We know that 99 out of 100 athletes come from low-income homes," Rider said. "We started as a non-profit about a year ago and we're getting all the paperwork finished. We are trying to match the high-quality, high-character kids with college scholarships."
Student Athlete Consultants has a 100 percent success rate on its 37 athletes it has helped, and its student-athletes have received over $1.1 million in scholarships.
"I was the first person from my family to graduate from college," Rider said. "My parents didn't know what college cost or what the best programs were. I want to help the kids know what is out there."
Rider puts an emphasis on the student section of student-athlete, advising and aiding students with their academics to put them in better positions for colleges. If a student is interested in business, he will reach out to more schools that have standout business programs.
"We want to set them up for post-college success," Rider said. "Most colleges aren't going pro so we want to set them up.
"We do ACT tutoring. We had a running back that ended up going to Grandview College (Iowa), and he had a 14 on his ACT. He had 3.8 GPA and was student body president. He just couldn't take tests. We worked with him for seven months and got his ACT up to 20."
Student Athlete Consultants start by putting together a highlight film, then creating a website to display not only the highlight film, but grades, class schedule and ACT scores.
"We send it to every Division I, Division II and Division III in America," Rider said. "If you have two kids that are the same talent level and you have a coach who has to call the school to get transcripts and scores, it's easier for him to just have a place that has that information."
Rider then helps student-athletes sort through scholarship offers and helps them go on campus visits by providing financial assistance, if need be.
"We take our non-profit money, and since colleges don't pay unless it is an official visit, we use our money to buy a plane ticket and a hotel," Rider said.
One of Rider's biggest success stories was Marka'il Nixon, a wide receiver for Iowa High School. Nixon was a No. 3 wider receiver on the Yellowjackets and had no desire to attend college as he headed into his junior year. But his GPA and ACT scores along with his affinity for engineering got colleges looking at him. Yale, Princeton, University of Louisiana-Monroe and McNeese State were all interested in Nixon. He received offers from Dartmouth and Northwestern State.
Student Athlete Consultants does not just do football with softball being the only sport he has not got an athlete a scholarship.
"We have kids that contact us and sometimes we contact the kids," Rider said. "The biggest tool on our end is social media. Kids have everything out there.
"Most of our kids come from rural areas."