Last week we discussed the CIF football playoffs and the recruiting mistakes athletes commit when waiting until late in their career to start thinking about recruiting. Now we shift the focus to several athletes on the teams playing for state championships to learn where they are in the recruiting process, and what that means for your recruiting.
The Top Schools are in the Final Steps with the Athletes they Want, and Most are Verbally Committed
Michael Hutchings 6’1″ 210lb OLB
Hutchings plays for De La Salle High School, who will play Westlake Village High School this weekend in the California Open Division Championship. Rivals has him listed as a four star recruit. Hutchings verbally committed to the University of Southern California on July 1, 2012. That means that he fully completed his recruiting process before the beginning of his senior year by focusing on it earlier than other athletes. He already knew where he was going prior to pursuing a state championship in his senior year.
Dashon Hunt 5’10” 175 CB
Hunt plays for De La Salle opponent Westlake Village High School. Hunt has offers from at least 13 schools including UCLA, Washington, California, Oregon State, Boise State, and Nebraska. He isn’t committed yet, but he has taken official visits to Oregon State, Boise State, and Nebraska. He plans on announcing his decision December 30, but like Hutchings, he has already completed much of the recruiting process relatively early in his senior year.
Cameron Judge 6’2″ 200lb OLB
Judge is Hunt’s teammate at Westlake Village High School. Like Hutchings, he is already committed, and will attend UCLA next year. He has been committed to UCLA since June. He recently took his official visit to UCLA in November. You may wonder why an athlete would commit to a college before taking an official visit. The answer is he likely took at least one, if not more, unofficial visit. Unofficial visits allow athletes to see campuses, meet coaches, and get their name out there much earlier than their senior year.
These Guys Aren’t the Exception to the Rule: Most Top Teams Have at Least 15-20 Athletes Verbally Committed
You may be thinking: these guys are four star recruits, of course they generated attention and offers from coaches, and you would be right. The thing that is important to understand is that all schools at the top level have made offers to the athletes they want at this point of the year. If you are a senior, you must start looking at lower division levels. There are still opportunities out there because coaches at division 1AA, II, and NAIA schools wait to see what happens with the top recruits. This leaves a small window for seniors to find opportunities, but those opportunities usually don’t come at the top-level schools at this point.
If you are an underclassman, you can’t wait until your senior year to start thinking about your recruiting, because if you do most of the opportunities you will want may already be gone. Think about the schools you are interested in now, and start trying to get in touch with those coaches. This includes filling out recruiting questionnaires, sending emails, making phone calls, going to camps run by these coaches, and connect with schools on various social media channels. The goal is to be finalizing your college decision by your senior season, not starting it.