NCAA Autographs

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Test Mode: A New Strategy

There are a few schools I've had basically no success with in the past. Most of the time I just hear no response, and occassionally they'll send my cards back saying they can't fulfill my request.

So in today's internet age, it hit me that most large universities post student directories online, providing users with info like e-mail address, phone numbers, and in some cases, home addresses. I figured this would be a great way to attempt to contact players at a few schools with whom I've had little success with in the past.

There are around 90 players on my list right now, and as of now, I've only listed 8 players (less than 10%) who I plan to contact via their home address. Those are listed below:

Michael Griffin (Texas), Pat White (West Virginia), Paul Posluszny (Penn State), Steve Breaston (Michigan), Ted Ginn Jr. (Ohio State), Troy Smith (Ohio State), Quentin Moses (Georgia), Yvenson Bernard (Oregon State)

I've had very, very little success with Texas, Michigan, Ohio State, and Georgia in the past, which explains the reason why I've chosen to contact those players in that manner. The others were more or less chosen at random; I may or may not have experienced success with those schools over the past few years. FYI, another school with whom I've had basically no success with is Miami. I don't believe I've ever received any type of response from UM; perhaps they just throw it in the trash.

In any case, I plan to track these select few requests very closely this summer and will be sure to report my success rate on these specific trial cases.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Early CFB Send-To List: More Late Additions

I'm still coming across names to add to my list for this year's requests, sometimes muttering "what was I thinking?" when coming across a particular player. In any case, here are a few more top-flight athletes I'll be writing to later this summer:

Keegan Herring (RB, Arizona State), Andre Brown (RB, NC State), Jonathan Stewart (RB, Oregon), Rafael Little (RB, Kentucky), Alex Brink (QB, Washington State), Quentin Moses (DE, Georgia), Tyrone Moss (RB, Miami), Bret Meyer (QB, Iowa State), Graham Harrell (QB, Texas Tech), Darius Walker (RB, Notre Dame), Yvenson Bernard (RB, Oregon State), Rhett Bomar (QB, Oklahoma), Zac Taylor (QB, Nebraska)

:: Complete 2006 CFB Send-To List

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Early CFB Send-To List: Late Additions

I always come across a number of names I decide to add to my send-to list after compiling the initial version, and this year is no exception. Listed below in no certain order, these are some of the guys who have been added over the past few days and weeks:

Micah Andrews (RB, Wake Forest), Steven Moffett (QB, Central Florida), Mike Hamilton (RB, Oklahoma State), Justin Forsett (RB, California), Stevie Hicks (RB, Iowa State), Willie Tuitama (QB, Arizona), Jordan Palmer (QB, UTEP), Reggie Ball (QB, Georgia Tech), Jared Zabransky (QB, Boise State), John Beck (QB, BYU), Stephen McGee (QB, Texas A&M), Amir Pinnix (RB, Minnseota), Hugh Charles (RB, Colorado), Thomas Brown (RB, Georgia), John Stocco (QB, Wisconsin)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Early CFB Send-To List: Part IV

Today will round out the early list I had compiled back in the first part of May, but since then I've also added about a half-dozen players. Here's a look at the completion of my list, which now totals 62 players in all.

Part IV . . .
Ryne Robinson (WR, Miami-OH), Sam Keller (QB, Arizona State), Sidney Rice (WR, South Carolina), Steve Breaston (WR, Michigan), Steve Slaton (RB, West Virginia), Ted Ginn Jr. (WR, Ohio State), Troy Smith (QB, Ohio State), Tyler Palko (QB, Pittsburgh), Tyrell Sutton (RB, Northwestern), Zach Miller (TE, Arizona State), Vincent Marshall (WR, Houston), Jarrett Hicks (WR, Texas Tech), Robert Merrill (RB, TCU), Darren McFadden (RB, Arkansas), Jamario Thomas (RB, North Texas), Colt Brennan (QB, Hawaii), Patrick Willis (LB, Mississippi)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The (Updated) Expense Report

We're about six weeks or so away from the target date (July 1) I've set for when I want to send out this fall's college football requests, so with that in mind, I made a couple more purchases on Saturday, buying both the index cards to get signed and the envelopes for the requests.

A pack of 100 Mead plain index cards goes for $0.46 at Wal-Mart, and I purchased two packs for a total of $0.98, tax included. I then bought two boxes of 120 Mead (3 5/8" by 6 1/2") white envelopes. Each box sells for $0.96, meaning two boxes go for $2.05, tax included.

The biggest expense I have left to account for is the cost of stamps, which I'll take care of within the next few weeks. I'll also throw in a small amount for the cost of printer ink as well. But for now, this is the expense report for the 2006 requests thus far:


Index Cards:$0.98

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Early CFB Send-To List: Part III

This fell to the back burner for a couple weeks, but here is a continuing look at the list of NCAA football players whom I plan on contacting for autograph requests this fall. As a reminder, this list is organized by way of the player's first name.

Part III . . .
Joe Ayoob (QB, California) ... John David Booty (QB, Southern Cal) ... Ken Darby (RB, Alabama) ... Kenny Irons (RB, Auburn) ... LaRon Landry (DB, LSU) ... Lorenzo Booker (RB, Florida State) ... Lynell Hamilton (RB, San Diego State) ... Mark Sanchez (QB, Southern Cal) ... Marshawn Lynch (RB, California) ... Matt Moore (QB, Oregon State) ... Michael Griffin (DB, Texas) ... Pat White (QB, West Virginia) ... Paul Posluszny (LB, Penn State) ... Quinn Sypniewski (TE, Colorado) ... Rudy Carpenter (QB, Arizona State)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Analyzing the Letter

As promised with the last post, I'm going to take a few minutes to talk about the short-but-sweet, hand-written letter I previewed last time. Each part is very short but has a special effect on the whole package.

First of all, I always like to address the player as "Mr." because it makes them feel respected, and after all, I must respect them as a player if I take the time to request an autograph. But more important than that, it is crucial that the player's name be spelled correctly. Spelling a player's name incorrectly is about the most disrespectful way you can start a letter.

Secondly, take a sentence or so to introduce yourself. Tell where you're from, what sports you're a fan of, how long you've been collecting autographs, a few of the autographs you have in your collection, something like that. Let the player know who you are.

Third, let the player know that you would like his autograph. This may seem unnecessary, but make your request clear; after all, that's the whole reason you wrote the letter. Make your request polite and state any particular instructions necessary (i.e. what you want signed, return envelope enclosed, etc.).

Fourth, tell the player why you want his autograph. Brag on him a bit. Tell the player you enjoy watching him play. Another thing that's great to include here is something that makes the letter more personal. Mention a particularly great game they had last year, a record they broke, a big bowl win, something that will make him smile as he reads the letter.

Finally, thank the player for his time and sign the letter. Most college athletes are extremely busy when it comes to school, practice, games, and various other things. Let the player know you appreciate him doing this.

You can follow all of these steps in about a half-dozen sentences and write a quality, personal, and successful letter in the process.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

How to Write the Letter

After assembling the list of athletes you're going to contact, the next biggest step in the process is writing the letter. I've always found that a short, hand-written letter is much better than a page-length typed version. This shows that you are geniuinely interested in that specific person and didn't just print out 100 copies of the exact same thing.

Here is an example letter, very similar to the one I am sending this year:

Dear Mr. (Player's Name),

My name is (name), and I am from (city),(state). I began collecting sports autographs back when I was 11 years old and am really hoping to add yours to my collection this fall. I enjoyed watching you and the (team name) win last year's Sugar Bowl and want to wish you guys a ton of success in 2006. Thanks a lot for your time!


While this letter is extremely short and pretty basic, it's enough to get the job done. I'll come back later on and talk about each individual part of the sample letter above, why it's important, and what changes or variations you might include in the letters you send out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Note of Interest

Mario WilliamsWith the completion of the 2006 NFL Draft two weeks ago, it made the third consecutive year that the #1 overall pick was a player whose autograph I had collected while they were in college.

First it was QB Eli Manning out of Mississippi, taken by the Giants in 2004. Then there was QB Alex Smith of Utah, selected by the 49ers in 2005. The three-year streak continued when the Texans (surprisingly) took NC State defensive end Mario Williams with the top overall pick in 2006.

Looking towards the 2007 NFL Draft, early reports seem to like Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson and Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn as the most likely to be selected #1 next April. Both players are among those on my list to send requests to this fall.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Expense Report

I often have questions regarding the collection of autographs, and one of the most common is "how much does it cost?" And the answer is good news: not much. Last summer I wrote that based on the number of successes I had, each autograph returned to me cost only about $4 in supplies. These days, you can't drive anywhere that cheap, much less pay the price anyone would ask for a sports star's autograph.

So this year I've decided to track each expense I make along the way down to the penny. It's still early in the process, but I did make a recent Wal-Mart run to purchase a five-pack of white legal pads on which I'll write the short request note to each player. That cost me $3.04, tax included. Later on I'll include the cost of envelopes, stamps, printer ink, and other small items and then produce the average cost of each autograph returned for the 2006 season.


- Paper: $3.04
TOTAL: $3.04

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Early CFB Send-To List: Part II

Continuing with the theme established earlier this week, here is a glance at Part II of the list of players I've compiled to send autograph requests to this college football season. As a reminder, the list is organized alphabetically by the players' first name.

Part II . . .
Clark Harris (TE, Rutgers) ... Courtney Taylor (WR, Auburn) ... Drew Stanton (QB, Michigan State) ... Drew Tate (QB, Iowa) ... Drew Weatherford (QB, Florida State) ... Dwayne Jarrett (WR, Southern Cal) ... Garrett Wolfe (RB, Northern Illinois) ... Gary Russell (RB, Minnesota) ... Greg Olsen (TE, Miami) ... Jamaal Charles (RB, Texas) ... JaMarcus Russell (QB, LSU) ... James Davis (RB, Clemson) ... Jason Berryman (DE, Iowa State) ... Jason Hill (WR, Washington State) ... Jeff Samardzija (WR, Notre Dame)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Early CFB Send-To List: Part I

I am beginning to compile a list of college football players that I plan to contact for autograph requests this fall. I mainly focus on the best skill position players on offense (QB, RB, WR, TE) and then I'll throw in the best of the best on defense, regardless of position.

This is really the first portion of the entire process. Once I feel I've got a fairly complete list of players, I'll begin designing the index cards and hand-writing the letters. I do those two tasks simultaneously, as both tend to be a bit boring at times so I often need a change of pace. I plan to send out the requests around the first of July because that is around the time that most colleges' second summer semester begins, and nearly the entire team is on campus by then. I feel that's a good time to catch the players when they are at school yet not as busy as they are once August (and two-a-days) and then school and the season get here.

I'll be listing these in alphabetical order, though sorted by the players' first names. If you feel I've left someone out, please contact me using the link at the top of the right-hand column, and I'll certainly consider adding your suggestion(s) to the list.

PART I . . .
Adrian Peterson (RB, Oklahoma) ... Albert Young (RB, Iowa) ... Alley Broussard (RB, LSU) ... Antonio Pittman (RB, Ohio State) ... Arian Foster (RB, Tennessee) ... Brady Quinn (QB, Notre Dame) ... Brandon Cox (QB, Auburn) ... Brandon Siler (LB, Florida) ... Brian Brohm (QB, Louisville) ... Brian Johnson (QB, Utah) ... Brian Leonard (RB, Rutgers) ... Calvin Johnson (WR, Georgia Tech) ... Chad Henne (QB, Michigan) ... Chansi Stuckey (WR, Clemson ) ... Chris Leak (QB, Florida)