By Ellen Amico
For most, the fall of senior year is a stressful and overwhelming time – going back to school, fall sports, and most importantly, applying to college. However, for a select few, that process becomes a little easier. Top student-athletes can be recruited by colleges to play for their school, which increases your chances of admission!
The athletic recruitment process is a lengthy and confusing process, so here’s a quick breakdown of what happens, with insight from some of Byram’s very own committed athletes…
Recruitment is when a coach or representative from a college invites a high school athlete to play a sport for that college. An athlete can receive emails, phone calls, and letters from a school that’s interested, or the player may contact coaches themselves. The student and coach can also have a conversation in person, known as ‘contact’. These coaches may also watch games or tournaments, which is called ‘evaluation’ – the process by which many of Byram’s student-athletes were recruited. Griffen Rakower, who is committed to Princeton for lacrosse, says the recruitment process “took about three years” for him. He played on a club team, where “at these tournaments [he] was exposed to hundreds of college coaches.” Similarly, Tyler Harp, who committed to Carnegie Mellon for soccer, recalls “they came to watch me play at a tournament in California.” Recruitment can be an exciting and rewarding process for a hard-working athlete. “It makes you feel very special and reminds you that the countless hours of hard work are paying off,” says Carson Frye, who recently committed to Georgetown for baseball.
After what may be multiple evaluations, conversations, and campus visits, the player is offered a scholarship and a spot on the college or university’s team. The player then commits, which happens in two ways: verbally and with a signing. A verbal commitment is when a student-athlete agrees to play at a college before he/she is able to sign the National Letter of Intent, which is the signing. By signing this letter, the player agrees to attend and play at the college for at least one year. The verbal commitment isn’t binding, but the letter is. For these Byram athletes, they verbally committed, and will ultimately sign the National Letter of Intent.
So, how does recruitment help with the college process? Committing doesn’t mean you’re automatically accepted to college – athletes still have to apply like everyone else! However, committing does improve your chances of getting in. Usually, coaches only recruit an athlete if they think he/she will be able to gain admission to the school. “If everything works out on the talent side of things, the coach will collect the player’s academic information (including transcripts and test scores), and get a pre-read from admissions to see if the player can get into the school,” adds Carson.
For a student-athlete, committing to a college for a sport is “insanely gratifying and rewarding,” says Griffen. It’s just the beginning, however. “There is still a lot of work to be done before I step on the field this fall,” he says. Committing signifies that the years of hard work have paid off. “I am able to go to my dream school doing something I love. It’s a great synthesis of two very important things coming together in my life,” reflects Tyler. Come support these recruited athletes play in their last seasons at the high school level and be sure to follow them across the nation next year as they take their games to the next level!