The Inspiration Behind SAS
Rex Grayner was an All-CIF baseball player from Southern California and was fortunate to see his dream of playing college baseball become a reality.
But his college recruitment experience was anything but “ideal.” He started too late. He didn’t understand how the process worked. His parents did the best they could to help promote Rex, but they lacked the time and the experience to make much of an impact.
Plus, Rex grew up in a small town, so college exposure was a challenge. He relied on his coach to drive the process but his coach only knew a few college coaches in the area. None of them were good fits for Rex.
If that weren’t enough, Rex’s assessment of his own abilities was completely unrealistic. Needless to say, Rex had very few college choices and no scholarship offers.
As luck would have it, Rex was able to convince the then #6-ranked Division I school in the country, Loyola Marymount University, to accept him as a walk-on pitcher. And after 2 seasons with the Lions, he realized he was never going to achieve the amount of playing time he had anticipated. So Rex decided to transfer to University of California, San Diego. And after 2 final seasons with the Tritons, his baseball career came to an end.
After graduation, Rex headed to Michigan to attend graduate school. Shortly after earning his Master’s degree in Sports Management, he returned to California and began coaching a high school baseball “travel” team. This team was an elite squad of top players in the county. And as he did with his own coach in high school, the parents of this squad expected Rex to get their sons recruited by college baseball coaches.
The only problem was, Rex didn’t understand the process much more than they did.
He had a strong desire to help though. He didn’t want his kids to endure similar college recruiting experiences. So Rex started promoting his team and talking to anyone who would listen. He called as many college coaches as he could. He invited anyone who would listen to come watch his kids play. And when they did, he worked the stands.
Simultaneously, Rex sat down with each player and their parents and mapped out their goals. He began outlining custom strategies for each one of his players.
Almost immediately, Rex saw results. He started to see what was possible if a solid “college game plan” was implemented. He applied some of the same simple marketing principles he had learned in school to his players. And after a few seasons of watching nearly 100% of his players realize their college dreams, Rex knew what he was meant to do in life.
In 2003, after working briefly for a couple organizations, Rex started his company. He called it Student-Athlete Showcase (SAS).
Enter Zack Walz
Soon after launching SAS, Rex was introduced to former NFL linebacker, Zack Walz.
Zack was a standout at St. Francis HS in Los Altos, CA. But when college coaches all but overlooked him, Zack’s dad launched an aggressive recruiting campaign. In the end, Dartmouth College came calling.
As a 4-year starter for The Big Green, Zack earned All-Ivy League honors three times and was named All-America as a senior. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Zack in the 6th round, and he enjoyed a 5-year NFL career before retiring in 2002.
Zack’s story of “overlooked HS prospect to NFL linebacker” gained national attention, and it compelled him to help prospective athletes avoid common recruiting pitfalls. It was here that he connected with Rex.
When they realized they shared a similar passion, Rex asked Zack to partner with him and serve as co-owners of SAS.
SAS Grows into an Industry Leader
Over the next decade, SAS would go on to serve tens of thousands of athletes, parents, high school coaches and college coaches and become one of the top college recruiting authorities in the United States.
Its flagship program, The College Game Plan, would be widely considered the preferred formula for college-bound athletes and college recruiters across America. The company would enjoy national recognition and watch thousands of student-athletes secure opportunities to attend and compete for universities at every level.
In 2016, SAS retired its single-fee service model and adopted a new subscription-based program. Under the new service formula, families would now have the option of enrolling with SAS on a monthly or annual membership plan. This new model opened the doors for growth and enabled SAS to offer families a more feasible, scalable service platform.
Changing of the Guard at SAS
In Fall 2017, Rex was paired in a golf tournament with a local businessman from Parker, Colo. named David (DJ) Leaverton.
Prior to their encounter, DJ had served as Chief Operating Officer & Founder of a small private hospice company before selling it to a large national health care organization. The seasoned entrepreneur was searching for his next big project when he learned about Student-Athlete Showcase.
As a former standout prep athlete who, like Rex and Zack, was also overlooked by college coaches, DJ was immediately drawn to the opportunity. In Summer 2018, DJ purchased a large share of SAS and became its new Chief Executive Officer.
SAS Propels into the Future
Today, with the guidance of a new executive team and new staff members, SAS continues to serve as an advocate for talented student-athletes who dream of getting recruited to play their sport in college, as a guide for parents to help make the experience more enjoyable for their children, and as a supporter of coaches in every sport at every level.
As it did in its first 15 years, SAS continues to set the standard for other college recruiting organizations and services. Unlike the sea of online do-it-yourself products popping up, SAS has remained true to its identity and continues to stand apart from the pack by offering a more personalized, full-service marketing solution for athletes, comprehensive guidance for parents and a menu of ancillary college planning tools. Students from all over the world turn to SAS as early as the 8th grade, giving their families a trusted college partner throughout the entire high school experience.
Former SAS clients share their experiences
Without SAS, I would have no idea…
I would like to thank everyone at SAS for helping me with my college recruiting process. Without SAS, I would have no idea about all the schools that recruited me and they would have had no idea about me! I will be attending Indiana University on scholarship this upcoming year. Thank you SAS for everything you did! It was great working with you and I will turn everyone I can your way.
We hired SAS to assist us in getting the word out on our son in his pursuit of playing college baseball. SAS did a tremendous job. It was a terrific experience working the SAS team as they were with us, side by side, the entire time. Their responsiveness to our questions was immediate and their answers were thorough, reflecting their vast experience. Overall SAS is a very professional organization with very talented and enthusiastic people working for them.
SAS was there every step of the way for me.
Student-Athlete Showcase was the best thing that happened to my college recruitment experience. From the initial conversation with the SAS advisement team to my final commitment to UMass Lowell, SAS was there every step of the way for me. If you are a student-athlete and you want to have the smoothest transition from high school athletics into the college recruitment process, SAS is the way to go.
More exposure than any club coach could get her!
Within days of hiring SAS, our phone started blowing up with calls from college recruiters. Brianna received more offers and interest than we ever thought possible… more exposure than any club coach could ever get her. SAS did exactly what they said they would do. More importantly, SAS put our fears and concerns to rest! They’re the epitome of excellence & professionalism. You can count on them in every aspect of the college journey
SAS Held Our Hand!
Our experience with SAS for my daughter’s recruitment was extremely positive. They patiently explained the process and were available to promptly respond to any of our additional questions. They held our hand and followed up with us to make sure we were staying on track. They assisted my daughter in preparing for phone conversations with coaches and made sure she kept track of their correspondence. They put together an individual website for her and sent her a report after each email campaign which tracked where the emails were sent, if the emails were opened and how many times her video was viewed. I would highly recommend the SAS team to any high school athlete who was interested in playing college sports. Thank you again for your help in this daunting process. My daughter is so excited to continue her soccer career at Marquette University!
It wouldn’t have happened without SAS!
We’re thrilled with our daughter’s choice and the opportunity. I can honestly say it wouldn’t have happened without SAS. They are giving her a merit scholarship worth $25,000 a year – a $100,000 return on our SAS investment. Of course our daughter has the grades, skills, and intangibles to merit the award, but the introduction through SAS is what got the ball rolling.
One of the best decisions my parents made for me!
Student-Athlete Showcase was one of the best decisions that my parents made for me as a high school athlete. SAS put my name out to hundreds schools to give me tons of options for me to continue my football career at the college level. I am currently attending Minnesota State University, Mankato. In my sophomore season, I received First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region and All-American honors. I am more than happy with the school I selected to attend and couldn’t be pleased more with the help I received from SAS through my recruiting process.
Focused on finding a great fit!
What a great experience! SAS worked with my son throughout high school. Since day one my son received positive feedback through many emails and text messages from coaches. We knew immediately that SAS would have a big impact on my son being recruited. They are extremely professional and are focused not only on finding a great fit for your athlete but more importantly finding a great academic fit. Thank you Rex and your team!
We couldn’t be more pleased!
SAS made it possible for our son to be exposed to colleges and programs he never would have considered without their system. Through SAS, our son made contact with the amazing college where he will continue his football career. We couldn’t be more pleased with our return on this investment!
The SAS program was absolutely the catalyst in our success. The marketing efforts SAS provided jump-started Chris’ recruitment. We knew when Oklahoma opened the first email and the moment they watched his video for the 1st time. Great program. We would be happy to serve as a reference!
The SAS program is priceless.
Prior to enrolling Ashley with SAS, we felt overwhelmed with the college selection process and how we would possibly be able to get Ashley’s name out there to all of them. We knew we made the right choice going with SAS after Ashley’s first campaign and saw 250+ college coaches had opened her video. Several top D1 programs emailed her back and the relationships with those coaches started to form into several verbal offers. Ashley committed to play golf for University of Nebraska and that proved to us that the SAS program is priceless.
We are forever grateful!
So very thankful we decided to go with SAS to help with our sons recruiting process!! Zack and the entire SAS team were so helpful and really easy to work with. I felt like they listened to our needs and were very quick to respond. They made this process a lot easier and for that we will forever be grateful. Thanks for making my sons dreams to play division 1 golf a reality!!
SAS is very personalized
The more we did this on our own, the more we were missing out. We didn’t know how to connect Anya with the right college coaches. The SAS program is very personalized and very diligent. Within a couple hours of launching Anya’s first marketing campaign, she started receiving strong interest from college coaches nationwide. Having that level of interest was a huge confidence boost for her. With SAS, you see where you fit in. You have lots of schools you’re talking to. It’s an outstanding program and we highly recommend them.
Best Decision We Made!
The best decision we made was to have SAS working for us, our son is absolutely loving the college life and playing Division I golf at LIU. The SAS Team did an amazing job. As we are from Australia, the college process was very new to us and SAS was awesome in guiding us through it. I can honestly say our son would not be where he is today without the assistance from SAS. We would highlight recommend their services.
21 Scholarship Offers
We want to thank SAS for all the recruiting help they have given us over the years. Tanner ended up with 21 Division I scholarship offers starting with his sophomore year. Zack and the SAS team were behind us every step of the way!
SAS is a phenomenal organization!
Thank you very much for all your help and guidance throughout this process! The SAS system was a key element in David’s ability to be recruited by and sign with Rice University. SAS is a phenomenal organization! I was most impressed with how responsive their entire staff always was. We will gladly recommend SAS to other families.
SAS played a major role in Natasha’s scholarship to UCLA!
I want to thank the SAS staff for providing such a professional service for Natasha’s college recruitment recruiting. Your program spread the word about Natasaha and gave her a ton of confidence in how she spoke with coaches and handled the complexities of getting in front of her desired colleges. We appreciate the many phone calls where SAS took the time to explain things and what we should be doing with the coaches’ responses. In addition, SAS has an outstanding follow up system in place which provided us many useful tips on what to expect. That valuable content gave us starting points to talk with Natasha about her goals and what she needed to do to reach them. Thank you again for all your support and help with this incredible process. SAS played a major role in Natasha’s scholarship to UCLA. We will recommend Student-Athlete Showcase whenever we can.
Their system works!
Zack and his team did a great job through the whole process. Their system works. It was a great tool to help our daughter prepare for college and college athletics. Their team helped us stay on track the whole way. If you are serious about getting the right college fit for your student athlete, this is a great way to help you learn how to get there.
It was much easier with SAS!
Hi Zack… I just wanted you to know that last night Tatum verbally committed to University of Kentucky. Thank you so much for your help and support throughout this process. It was much easier with you guys helping along the way. We couldn’t be more thrilled with her selection which meets her school needs and softball aspirations. Take Care!
SAS cares about their athletes
SAS is everything they claim to be and more. They really helped open the doors for my daughter and she was given opportunities beyond imaginable. She was contacted by so many coaches that, as they said, was a good problem to have. They are very professional and was available every step of the way. They have the expertise and know how from many years of experience and research and it shows. I am glad I chose SAS, they care about the athletes and their families.
SAS was 110% honest from the get go in what to expect and what would be provided. Exposure is the key to a student’s college recruitment process and SAS delivered. Truly grateful for the opportunity our daughter has been given.
Can’t thank you enough!
Hello SAS!!! I am happy to report that Josey was offered an athletic scholarship and has verbally committed to play at Stanford University! We can’t thank you and your staff enough for all the support.