Izell Reese

Executive Vice President
University of Alabama at Birmingham
As a high school football star athlete and a member of the Honor Society at Northview, I received letters of interest from many college coaches. I put some of those letters on my wall, such as Auburn, Alabama, LSU, and Georgia Tech, and others tucked away in a shoe box. I thought these coaches would be knocking at my door. However, no scholarship offers came. The real opportunities rested in the shoe box under my bed. Unfortunately, not everyone can play for the top 25 teams that you see on ESPN. There are over a million kids playing high school football across the nation, and only about one percent receive a scholarship to a Division I school.
Without any offers, I decided to walk-on at UAB which was a Division II football program. I had considered entering the military, but once I got back on the football field, I knew I belonged there. The sad thing is that a lot of guys I played with or against in high school could have played college football. I was a walk-on with no scholarship funding, but I led the team in interceptions.
During my career at UAB, the program went from Division II to Division I-AA to Division I-A status. I eventually earned a scholarship and became the second player in the school's history to be selected in the NFL Draft (the Dallas Cowboys picked me in the sixth round in 1998).
My recruiting story is a "Cinderella story". It doesn't happen very often, which is why i'm so passionate about providing student athletes and their families with recruiting education. I want to help them get exposure and find opportunities to succeed athletically and academically in college and live their dreams!