Recruiting Column: College World Series coaches talk recruiting

Photo: Arkansas Athletics

Recruiting Column: College World Series coaches talk recruiting

Baseball

Recruiting Column: College World Series coaches talk recruiting

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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.

(Photo- Louisville Athletics)

The College World Series is upon us once again and if you’re a baseball fan, there’s nothing like Omaha in June! It’s a special time of the year and I thought it would be fitting to revisit our conversations with a few of the coaches competing for this year’s National Championship. Here is what the best coaches in the country want you to know about the college recruiting process.

Dan McDonnell, Louisville

Q: Does the scholarship amount you offer a young man predict his playing time?

A: Not at all. This is not a situation where mom or dad is running the booster club, therefore their son has to play type thing! This is the best players are going to be on the field type thing. Scholarship or no scholarship, playing time will never be determined by anything other than who the best nine players are, on any given day. As a staff, we are extremely transparent with our guys during the recruiting process. We don’t make promises and we make sure we’re very clear that if you get on the field at Louisville, it’s because you’ve earned it. For us to recruit you and make you an offer simply means we like you and we feel you have a great opportunity here. But, understand that you’ve got to perform. You’ve got to produce between the lines. We want to win championships and get you ready for pro ball. If we played you based on your scholarship amount, we’d be doing you a tremendous disservice. That’s just not how baseball works at the college level and beyond.

Q: What advice do you have for a high school player not getting much attention from college coaches?

A: The great thing about college baseball is that there are so many levels and opportunities out there. If you love this game and you’re a pretty good player, you’re going to have a chance to play at the next level. Take the junior college level as an example of what’s great about our game. Maybe as a senior in high school, a young man isn’t quite ready for a big-time 4-year school. Well, he can go to a junior college, where he can get on the field and play immediately, which is crucial for the development of any baseball player. A young man can change so much from the age of 18, to 20. You can literally go from no offers, to a power five school in a matter of 2 years. My advice to a guy not getting much attention is to trust the process of your development and go somewhere you can get on the field. If you can commit to getting better and you can accept the right opportunity for your circumstances, you can find a place to play.

Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt

Q: What would you like every high school athlete to know about the recruiting process?

A: It will take time, so don’t feel like you need to rush when you’re deciding on which school is right for you. This is such an individualized process and unfortunately, I think young men and women lose track of that, at times. Quit worrying about what everyone else has going on or when they’re committing. Your circumstances are completely different, so don’t feel like your process needs to match the speed of someone else’s process.

Also, it’s important to understand that being recruited is such a gift, at any level. Sure, it’s going to be competitive and with competition, you can’t always expect your situation to be comfortable. That’s just the nature of college athletics. But to have your athletic ability provide you with the opportunity of a college education, is truly a gift. So, enjoy it and open your present slowly!

Q: What advice do you have for a high school player not getting much attention from college coaches?

A: It’s all about building relationships and understanding your conditions. Don’t be afraid to knock on some doors and make an introduction. As a coach, my goal when I’m recruiting a player is to ensure that what we’re doing at Vanderbilt, aligns with what he’s wanting and needing as a student, and as an athlete. Just because we like you, doesn’t mean you need to like us. The main objective is to find a place that fits your goals and we want to help you do that, regardless if it’s here or not. You can figure out where you belong through the relationships you develop and nurture. The ability to communicate your intentions will take you a long way in this process.

(Photo- Arkansas Athletics)

Nate Thompson, Arkansas 

Q: What would you like high school athletes to know about the recruiting process?

A: The first thing every high school athlete should know is this: the grades you get as a freshman are going to be on your transcripts. From the very first grade you get as a freshman, it matters, and it matters now. I’ve seen plenty of athletes screw up opportunities for themselves because they didn’t care about school until it was too late. Any and every program in the country is going to take a better student, over a lesser student, if everything else is comparable. Don’t limit yourself to the few opportunities you’ll have because of average grades. Take care of business in the classroom, from day one.

The other thing I would tell a high school athlete is this: focus on becoming a better player, and not so much on promoting yourself. It boggles my mind to see the number of emails we get from kids, on a regular basis, trying to market themselves to our program. It makes me think that you’re spending more time in front of the computer, than you are on a baseball field. I’m not opposed to a young man making an introduction and working to get in front of us, but what are your true priorities?

Because here’s the thing about becoming the best player you can be: the cream always rises to the top. Eventually, the talent gets found. I would advise any high school athlete to focus on becoming the best player, not the most popular recruit.

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Recruiting Column: College World Series coaches talk recruiting
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