7th Grader Receives D1 Offer - What this means for YOU
This week another picture of a 12 year old with a college coach made it rounds on social media. No it wasn't "take your kid to work day" at the University of Florida. It was Florida Softball coach Tim Walton posing with his new prized recruit, 12 year old Keagan Rothrock from Indiana. She's the SECOND 12 year old to commit to Florida's 12 year old recruiting class (Class of 2023), as a few months ago Mia Williams commited to the Gators.
What does all this mean? Well for starters, not much. These "verbal commitments" are non-binding in either direction. So the coach can pull the offer or the athlete can change their mind all the way up until signing day sometime during the athletes Senior year (NOTE: sports have different signing day timeframes). It's much more likely usually that the coach will have moved on to another job in 6 years when the athlete graduates high school than it is that this verbal commitment becomes a reality.
Want a good example? One of the more famous early recruiting examples occurred in 2010 when then USC Football Coach Lane Kiffin offered 6th grade QB standout David Sills after watching just one YouTube clip? It made National news and it also made lots of eager dads go out and start YouTubing their 11 year old sons. Well here is what happended next...
-Lane Kiffin got fired by USC
-Lane Kiffin got hired as an Assistant at Alabama
-Lane Kiffin got hired as head coach at Florida Atlantic
-Sports Illustrated named Davids Sills one of the best QB prospects EVER after his Freshman year of high school
-David Sills missed some time in high school because his dad started an on-line Football High School
-David Sills eventually signed with West Virginia and got buried on the QB depth chart
-David Sills transferred to a Junior College in California
-David Sills returns to West Virgnia and is doing well, as a WIDE RECEIVER!
So, why do coaches do it? Well, recruiting is competitive and their are only so many real real good players out there. Even the coach leaves the school he's at the relationship with the talented prospect could help down the line. Currently at FAU Lane Kiffin has offered a whole bunch of 10-12 year olds. Does anyone really think Lane Kiffin will be at FAU in 5-10 years. I'd be worried about him being there NEXT year if I was a Senior in high school.
There is possibly some changes coming here. Recruiting rules differ in each sport and just recently the sport of Lacrosse has passed some legislation that makes contacting prospects during their early years illegal. Will this be successful and become the norm in other sports?
But here's how all this comes back to YOU. I think it's a little crazy when parents of seniors with NO D2, NAIA, or D3 SCHOOLS are recruiting their kids yet the parents and athlete still desire major D1 opportunities. Yet D1 schools are WAY WAY past even considering them, as they already have their lists narrowed down and are now offering 7th graders. That's a serious disconnect there from what the parents are thinking and what the coaches are thinking. It's not hard to find the right school... but you HAVE to be realistic and understand this process from the coaches point of view. Are you willing to see what's in front of you and not be blinded by the non-sense all around you?
For the record, I don't agree with offering 7th graders and think it's crazy. Regardless of your opinion of whether or not it should go on, it SHOULD make you aware of the mindset of college coaches at the D1 level. They are not scouring the club teams and recruiting showcases looking for that one Senior nobody is recruiting. They've narrowed their list down YEARS ago. So if you are a Junior or Senior, you need to focus on finding your fit... not continuing to hope for a last minute recruiting miracle!
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