USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
Verbally committing: it’s happening much earlier and much more often, than ever before! I never thought we’d get to the point where college coaches were actually recruiting kids before they even played in a high school game. It’s equally as mystifying to me to see a kid making a college commitment in the 7th grade. It’s just flat-out crazy how competitive the world of college recruiting has become. But like it or not, that’s what it is in 2017.
With all that said, it’s crucial for you recruits out there to take a step back and search for some perspective before you go off making such major life decisions. Because, that’s what it is, a life decision! So, whether you’re an 8th grade phenom or a late-blossoming junior in high school, pump on the brakes before you decide to make a verbal commitment. Here are a few things you should consider before saying yes to any college.
Coaches are always recruiting
So, you shouldn’t be so quick to put an end to your recruiting experience. One of the most important things you should know as a recruit is that college coaches are constantly trying to improve their roster. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an elite NCAA Division I program or an NAIA Division II team struggling to sign enough players. College coaches are always looking for the next best kid. Always. So, although your verbal commitment might be a step in the right direction, don’t cash in your check just yet. Just because you verballed, doesn’t mean that coach isn’t still out there recruiting and accepting other verbals, from other recruits. Be very aware of the other recruits they’re bringing in and where you fall into the mix.
Bottom line: if you know that the “beat goes on” for the coaches recruiting you, you won’t be blind to the business side of the whole process, which is allocating scholarship dollars and roster spots, each and every year. Often, we hear about athletes de-committing and changing their minds on where they want to go to school. If you think college coaches aren’t capable of doing the same, decommitting to you, you’re mistaken. Give yourself the opportunity to be recruited until you are as close to 100% sure of a school, as possible.
You’re here for a reason
There’s a reason why you’re being recruited in the first place. That reason is because your physical abilities most likely will translate at the next level! The last thing that you should allow to happen, as a recruit that has verballed early, is to allow your skills to diminish. I get it; making an early commitment feel goods. Now, you can just relax and play. To some degree, that’s right. But, the hard part of what you’re really wanting to accomplish has just begun.
Think about it, why do you want to play in college in the first place? Most likely, it’s because you have tons of passion for the sport you play and you want to ride your playing career to the highest heights! So, since that’s your answer, you have to keep doing what it is that got you there. Don’t think for one second that making an early commitment means you can take your summers off from here on out. You can’t. You’re now in a position to push yourself to another level. Don’t relax on your skill-development, thinking you’ve already reached your fullest potential. Making a verbal commitment is confirmation that you’re going down the right road, not a confirmation that your trip is over. So, before you accept an early offer, remember what got you to this point and keep doing more of that!
Unless you’ve signed, it’s just not official yet
Look at it this way; a verbal commitment is like playing in the minor leagues. Actually signing a National Letter of Intent then, is playing in the show. If a verbal commitment is dating, then signing a NLI is marriage! I think my point is clear. Nothing in recruiting is official until you sign on the dotted line.
My advice on verbally committing early is this:
- Don’t feel rushed to decide, being recruited early is a sign of good things to come.
- Your verbal commitment should never change your work ethic or habits.
- Know the recruiting track-record of the program you’re considering.
- Recruiting is a business, business isn’t always fair.
- Enjoy this time of your life, it only happens once.
- Trust your gut, listen to people you trust and do what feels right for you.