Over the last decade, college recruiting has evolved into a more competitive industry than ever. With Perfect Game and USA Baseball taking center stage with their tournaments and events, their are countless other camps and "showcases" for players to attend and for parents to spend $1000's of dollars on over the course of their kids' high school career. On top of that, 3 years ago a prominent west coast D1 program committed a 7th grader and several additional D1 programs committed players that haven't even played a high school game yet. Add in social media and the constant reminder that some players are being recruited, how can parents and players not worry that they're behind the curve and need to start investing more time and money in getting the college exposure they think they need.
Although the college recruiting process starts for some players by the time they first step foot on a high school campus, it doesn't mean that that particular player is going to receive college attention right away. In fact, 80-90% of players will not start receiving that attention until during their junior year in high school. So why is there such a panic in the lack of college attention among many high school baseball players today? To help put things in perspective, here is a rough estimate of when players verbally commit to play baseball for a college program, keep in mind their are exceptions:
- 5%: College committed by the end of their freshman year (mostly NCAA D1 programs)
- 25%: College committed between the summer before their sophomore year and end of their junior year (mostly D1 programs, but D2, D3, and NAIA schools start to identify and begin recruiting players)
- 20%: College committed during the summer after their junior year (mostly D1 programs, but players start verbally committing to D2, D3 and NAIA programs)
- 40%: College committed during their senior year (some NCAA D1, but majority are NCAA D2, D3, NAIA, & JC's)
- 10%: Summer after their Senior Year (mostly JC's, but some NCAA and NAIA programs)
With all of the noise and confusion out there, one of our goals as a program is to help educate our players and parents in this area in hopes of diverting the attention back towards the on-field development. The priority should still be to get better on the field, stronger, faster, more athletic, and to make smarter decisions in between the lines. And although most of you will not be NCAA Division-1 baseball players, there is a place to play college baseball if you really want it. And if you continue to take care of what can be controlled on the field, you will be more prepared than your peers when college exposure does become the focal point.
I hope this provides some clarity for you!