Remember four and a half years ago, hundreds of high school football players announced their college choices on the first Wednesday of February?
At least one new employee at every school seemed to go through the process of picking one of the hats on the table in front of them and revealing their choice.
Those rituals still exist, but they are becoming more and more rare.
Early in the process for high school athletes, between the early signing period with December as the new National Signing Day, the NCAA transfer portal, and the impact of NCAA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it began in 2017. Decision.
If you wait too long, you risk being left behind.
“Now it’s a music chair,” said Ryan Schneider, a soccer coach at Cocoa High School. “Music is playing and there are a certain number of chairs. I always tell my subordinates:” When the music stops, take a seat. ” That is the truth.
“I talked to multiple schools and the DI school in Florida told me that there were 3 free slots. Another school has 8 people. It all comes down to numbers.”
The availability of only a certain number of scholarships to universities is not a new phenomenon. What’s new is that high school players have to compete with hundreds of college students on the transfer portal.
Previously, a college might bring in a few junior college players to conclude a signature class.
Currently, in some cases, it is reversed.
Texas State University didn’t sign a high school player last yearInstead, we chose Power 5 programs in Arkansas, Cal, Kansas, North Carolina, Pitt, and transfer from groups of five schools. Florida didn’t sign a high school player in February However, I chose to transfer 4 times.
Are college coaches who are not blessed with stable employment a better decision to hire a player who wants a high school future, or a player who is already in a college program and may be able to help faster? You need to decide if it’s a good decision to hire.
ACC’s assistant coach, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “I think we all want to hire high school students if we have our own choice.” And I want to grow into a really good player on the field. I think that’s what everyone wants, but a very good player wants to leave and in his position. You may fall into the specific situation of upgrading, and then you certainly need to weigh the pros and cons. “
What this means is that the average high school new hire may be forced to make an immediate decision or may be absent.
“I think boys should secure their place before the senior season,” said an assistant at the SEC. “There aren’t many players waiting for the school. You may definitely not be there later, so you definitely need to fix it in your place. If you hire 23 players, 23 wide You won’t hire a receiver. You might get one, so once you get it, that place is gone. “
Big Ten’s assistant coach told USA Today Network that his school’s signature class would be fully completed by July or August, at least four months before a high school player sighs at the National Letter of Intent. He said he expected it to be full.
Higher high school students have no trouble finding a home and can wait as long as they like.
Keanu Court at Bello Beach converted from Louisiana State University to Alabama during the early signing period last December. However, the court was an elite edge rush and a consensus four-star recruitment.
In reality, not many players fall into that category. Evans High Rising Senior 4-Star Safe Markeith Williams is one of the lucky ones this year.
“I don’t think his pressure is so bad for kids like Mercace because everyone wants him,” said Kenard, Evans coach, who assisted Florida International in the last two seasons. Lang said: “The pressure is on two-star and three-star children. Four-star, everyone will want. Two or three, they recruit them at eight schools. After that, those schools went to the portal and are now two or one. It’s nice to know where you’re going (immediately after the process). ), Here’s how we do it is where you commit and that’s the school you go to. When you commit, you’re married. “
That’s why so many players started out on the road last Tuesday, the first Tuesday after the NCAA’s dead period.
It’s important for high school student athletes to go to campus and be around the coach, just as a college coach will eventually see the players in person.
New employees were allowed to visit the university campus informally during the dead period, but were unable to contact the coaching staff while on site.
“I told (my player) to kill two birds with one stone. They are interested in you, go to the camp you are interested in and make it unofficial It will be used as a visit and camp, ”said Matt Forest, a Matanzas coach who previously staffed four FCS programs. “I can see the campus, I can see the town. The decision must be made quickly. I don’t like the town, I don’t like it, I really don’t like the atmosphere of the school, at least you” You go there or camp You will also find out when you go camping. “
To further complicate matters for this year’s third-year high school, the NCAA qualifies fall student athletes for a year, whether or not the team has played, in response to a pandemic. ..
“It was a difficult time for the country and it was a difficult situation,” Schneider said. “It’s something I’ve never experienced before. They did what they thought was the best. When they made the decision (August last year), Big Ten wasn’t playing. School players “
This has long-term implications that go far beyond the reality that the program is limited to 85 scholarship students. These effects include finances, as schools now have the unexpected expense of keeping “super seniors” on campus for five or six years. When those players arrived in 2016 or 2017, it certainly wasn’t taken into account.
“I think we need about $ 100,000 per player to put them on campus for a year,” said the SEC’s assistant coach. “That’s one of the things that came out at the conference. A year. Is one of the problems that cannot be counted. “
At some point, finances will catch up with these programs. Some FBS programs plan to sign fewer players this year (and perhaps in the future) to help mitigate these costs and keep the 85 scholarship limits comfortable.
“School-to-school,” said Big Ten’s assistant. “We plan to sign full classes, but some schools aren’t budget-friendly. Other schools are always in the black, so I don’t feel that limitation either. “
The bottom line is that there are fewer scholarships for high school students this year.
And the clock is ticking.
“Adding a transfer portal has made it harder and extends the qualification by a year,” said Vero Beach coach Lenny Jankowski. “It is difficult to hire high school students”
The time for players to make college decisions is ticking
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