If you were a high school athlete, chances are your goal was to play sports in college. If you did play for your college, you probably made that decision to play in your junior or senior year of high school. Unfortunately, the number of kids who recruit early is shooting through the roof, and to nobody’s benefit.
This is a problem whose roots spread all the way down through middle schools. It seems like every season, multiple college recruits make some headlines- in the 8th grade! How are freshman and sophomores supposed to be able to make a college decision, let alone 13 and 14-year-olds? Now, if a really talented athlete is getting offers at the Division 1 level, an underclassmen could choose a college because of the athletics program’s fame. And they may be right, that they are a good fit for the team and want the challenge of playing at that level. However, nobody this young should make a college decision, because they need to know what schools will fit their academic and social needs also.
If you are a sports fan, you probably know the name LaMelo Ball. He is currently a sophomore at Chino Hills High School, CA, where he is a point guard on the varsity basketball team. He decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and play at UCLA. He committed when he was 13 year old. After scoring 91 points in one game with Chino Hills this year, nobody doubts his ability to play at a very high level; however, there are so many unknowns about college, especially for kids who commit before even finishing a semester of high school.
Forry Smith, a freshman on the Johns Hopkins Lacrosse team, played in high school for the Haverford School of Pennsylvania, a national lacrosse powerhouse. He too made his decision in his freshman year of high school. Now a college freshman who starts at attack, he is thriving at Hopkins and meeting all athletic and academic requirements. Unfortunately, fellow teammate Patrick Foley has to miss the 2017 season because of his failure to meet the academic requirements.
This widespread predicament of early recruiting is a guessing game. Sometimes, it works out great for kids but often times the pressure to decide so soon forces kids to make a decision based only on their sport. As only a few college coaches push to ban all recruiting until a player’s junior year, we can only hope it all turns out good for those who commit early.