Following a stellar high school career at Oak Grove High School in Alabama, Kori Benson chose to attend Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL. She declined several offers from NCAA and NAIA schools because Kori wanted to show high level DI programs that she had what it takes to play with the best in the country. And, by all accounts, she made the right decision.
Playing third base and catching for the 2013 Lions, Kori made an impact from the start both offensively and defensively. On her way to setting a WSCC single season home run record with 23 round-trippers, Kori was a major contributor in the team’s post season run to winning the NJCAA Division I national crown held in St. George, UT, outlasting Salt Lake, 7-3, in the championship rubber game. In that game, Kori had two hits, one being a home run in the second inning, and a game-high four runs batted in.
During the previously unranked team’s incredible title chase, Kori was named the ACC regional tournament MVP, the NJCAA All-Tournament team and the national tournament’s defensive MVP. The NFCA also chose her to be a member of their highly selective All-America team.
We are very proud to represent Kori to college coaches across America and following what is arguably the most impressive year of any Wallace State freshman ever, it’s likely that her dream of playing at the penultimate level of college softball will come true.
As a high school athlete wanting to play sports at the college level, the decisions you make this summer could mean rising or falling on college recruiting depth charts. Moreover, those same decisions could instantly cause your house of cards to crumble. Make good calls in tough situations and you have a shot to climb and survive. Make bad ones, though, and all that potential and promise can easily disappear before your own eyes like a beautiful car would in a David Copperfield magic trick. Which will it be for you?
It’s sad, actually, because all the good decisions you make probably will never be noticed. They will not be flashed on the 11:00 news or captured in a headline on the local newspaper or community Web site. Your pals are unlikely to line up and pat you on the back or call with congratulations. College coaches, too, will be unaware that you’ve done something really good for you and your future. But that anonymity comes with the territory. In the end, and more importantly, all the good moves you choose will eventually stack high and be noticed as a true testament to your good character.
Bad decisions, though? Different story. When you’re asked to go for a ride with friends drinking alcohol or taking drugs or planning to get into some innocent trouble, there will be a brief moment when you will literally hold your future in your own hands. You’ll know when that moment comes, too, because you are no dummy, not stupid, nor unaware of the downside consequences. Regardless of how well guarded your reputation has been up to that singular point in time, it could all tumble down in a pile of regret and life-changing disappointment, that is, if you agree to get in that car and drive off into uncertainty.
Stupidity is not an excuse for making bad decisions. Think you won’t get caught? Think again. You’ve seen other kids just like you at your school or in your neighborhood that have suffered from bad choices. You can call them ignorant or unlucky, but had they not elected to go down that road in the first place they could have dodged the situation altogether. Yet, they didn’t. The fun, the risk, seemed worth it. And their lives will forever be tainted by what happened to them as a result.
Be smart this summer. Do what’s right and safe for your future and your health. During that moment when you are faced with the decision, Do I or don’t I, somehow, some way imagine if things go awfully sour and all you’ve worked so hard for is lost forever in the blink of an eye. And then honestly ask yourself, Is it really worth it?
Everything today is measurable in athletics. And college coaches are sticklers for stats.
As a high school athlete wanting to advance to the next level, there are plateaus to reach, particularly in terms of strength and speed, which place you in the sphere of recruiting consideration for each division. You either fit into the DI, DII or DIII box. Knowing where you stand and being able to readily prove it allows coaches to more quickly and accurately evaluate you.
With summer beginning, it’s worthwhile to plan your workouts for the next several months. When will you workout? Where? And, what are your speed and strength stage as well as final goals? Without these in place, working out holds far less significance.
Email or call college coaches and ask them, “Where should I be as a rising junior (or senior, or sophomore, or freshman) at my position for you to want to give me a shot?” This is allowable by the NCAA and NAIA and it will give you clear targets to hit. Call a DI, DII and DIII assistant coach. Let him or her know that you are serious about being recruited but that you want goals to shoot for by summer’s end.
Then, take a tracking form with you to each workout. Document each station or drill. Push yourself to make small, but important advancements. Learn how to properly warm up and cool down. Take plenty of liquids. And, keep your eye on the end game while giving yourself credit and kudos for reaching daily objectives. Accept that you will have good and no-so-good days, but always stay focused on the endgame.
Post your workouts in your room. Look at it often, especially before you go to bed or when you wake up. Keep it there. Make it a part of your routine. And, never quit on yourself. The results will come if you plan and work hard to make it happen.
Should ninth, eighth and even seventh graders tap into the powerful promotional machine that is National Scouting Report? Absolutely. Why? It’s simple, really. Name recognition is invaluable at those young ages.
College coaches in every sport attend camps, tournaments, combines and showcases. It’s the accepted way of evaluating as much talent as possible in one place. And when coaches enter the doors or gates, they first pour over rosters looking for the prospects they came there to see, the athletes on their white boards.
In that process, they will roll through hundreds of names. When a prospect’s name is recognizable to them, even if that athlete is not on their to-see list, it is natural for them to pause and say to themselves, “I’ve seen this kid’s name before,” and it is possible, if not likely, that they will at least give them a quick or even extended look-see if the athlete is indeed promising.
That points to the need for young prospects to start early and through NSR they can do this by frequently putting their names in front of every college program in their sport across America. It’s name branding, actually, and it works, giving those that do take the early step a clear advantage over those that choose to sit it out and hope they are discovered. Which, by the way, seldom happens.
The Summer of 2013 will be filled with camps, tournaments and other events for high school prospects to put all their talents on display for college coaches. Regardless of age, this is a time to shine on some of the biggest stages.
Summer camps on college campuses are set up for coaches to supplement their income, yes, but they are also where they first set eyes on future recruits and start the all-important relationship building process. Coaches will of course be looking for skilled athletes, but arguably just as important are the work ethic and attitude of the athletes. A camper can have really good talent, but a poor attitude can spell the end to their hopes of being noticed and recruited. On the other hand, a youngster with marginal-to-above-average talent that demonstrates a keen desire to learn, the ability to quickly duplicate what they’ve been taught while demonstrating gritty determination can stand out in the crowd.
Club and travel tournaments have grown to overwhelming numbers, but when the door opens and a coach walks through, prospects need to make their presence known by hustling and working harder than anyone else competing. Coaches notice this and they take note when athletes don’t take plays off.
As an overview, the odds are against high school athletes in today’s recruiting model. There are just too many athletes for the few available scholarship or roster spots. But, when opportunities present themselves, athletes should be prepared to act and shine through that narrow window from which college coaches will be viewing them.
Back-to-back no-hitters for senior Katie Lang
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: NSR softball prospect, Katie Lang, New Berlin Eisenhower. After sharing the No. 1 role the past two seasons, the senior is the Lions’ clear-cut go-to pitcher this year. “This is her time,” Eisenhower coach Jeff Setz said. Last week Lang made four starts and tossed back-to-back no-hitters in victories over Brown Deer and Pewaukee. She struck out 12 of the 15 batters she faced in a 12-0 victory over Brown Deer Wednesday and 11 in an 8-0 win over Pewaukee Thursday. Those performances came on the heels of 15 strikeouts Monday when Eisenhower got past Kettle Moraine, 7-1. The South Dakota State recruit capped the week by allowing just one run in a 2-1 victory over Menomonee Falls in the first round of the Germantown Invitational.
ON A TEAR: The impact of NSR prospect catcher Carly Sobrilsky’s big bat and experience behind the plate shouldn’t be underestimated. The senior, who hit .600 last year, is hitting .579 (11 for 19) with 10 RBI. Twice she hit home runs to give her team the lead in a 3-2 victory Thursday over Menomonee Falls, the preseason Greater Metro favorite. And defensively, she is flourishing with the added responsibility.
“Carly does all the pitch calls and does a great job moving around behind the plate,” Central coach Doug Lange said.
Here’s the problem – too much info from unreliable sources. In college, athletic recruiting, hearsay is the bane of many families wanting desperately to get their athlete in a good position to be seen and recruited by college coaches. What they hear on the tube is often watered down and only applicable to the highest level of NCAA athletics. But the recruiting rules that relate to the “blue chip” athletes do not always, and usually don’t, apply to athletes that will be recruited to play in Division II or III.
So, where can a family get reliable info? Experts, of course, but there are so many talking heads out there, many of whom are more interested in hearing themselves talk than giving accurate info, which ones can families really depend upon to be spot-on with their advice?
Go to people that work in recruiting full time. Dabblers don’t count, so steer clear of anyone that seems to know a little, but can’t give you the details which make a real difference. When you are doing this vital due diligence, ask these questions and the person with a true grasp of recruiting will surface:
- When can NCAA coaches start evaluating my athlete? What about NAIA and NJCAA coaches, too?
- When can NCAA coaches make first contact with my athlete? (NAIA and NJCAA?)
- What is the NCAA Eligibility Center, when does my athlete register and why do they need to do this?
- Do the NAIA and NJCAA having eligibility centers too?
- When does the recruiting process begin for my athlete?
- When can my athlete get an offer from a college coach?
- What are the differences between NCAA DI, DII and DIII?
A real recruiting expert will be able to explain all this to you. A pretender will fumble around without giving details. That’s when you will know who you can and should trust to give you the guidance you will need to successfully navigate the often rough waters of the highly competitive world of college recruiting.
The key to being recruited to play college athletics is building strong, positive relationships with coaching staffs. Sounds simple, right? But in reality, it’s tough to do.
Why is it tough? Because you first have to be identified. And sending an email or a profile package to a college coach isn’t enough to get the job done. A high school prospect in today’s recruiting environment has to do more. Much more.
Like winning a tough game, match or meet, recruits have to constantly be on the attack by calculating aggressive, offensive tactics and then executing them to perfection. The trouble with most high school recruits and their families is that they believe that college coaches will make all the moves to connect with them and begin the essential phase of building a relationship with them. It simply doesn’t work that way.
High school prospects are equipped with the tools to reach coaches, yes, but they must understand that until they really connect with a college coaching staff on a personal level through emails, phone calls and campus visits, they will never get on a staff’s white board. And with thousands upon thousands of prospects available to college coaches, it’s the ones that take the process to the next, necessary level that get the attention.
- Register with the NCAA and NAIA Initial Eligibility Centers: If you want to play NCAA DI and DII as well as any level of NAIA athletics, you must register with their clearinghouses before college coaches will seriously consider you for a scholarship and roster spot.
- Take the SAT or ACT: If you have not already taken one of these key tests, register today to take it ASAP. Doing so accomplishes four objectives: A) Lets you know where you stand academically for eligibility purposes. B) Gives you an idea what you need to work on to raise your score to receive more academic money from colleges. C) Signals to college coaches if you will meet the academic entrance requirements for their school. D) Puts the worry behind you of having to take these often required tests.
- Update all your stats: College coaches first glance to see if you have what it takes performance-wise to play at their level. Accurate, updates stats are a key to this first analysis coaches always do before deciding to seriously pursue a prospect.
- Post updated video: If you meet the basics needs of a college coach in terms of stats and grades, then a coach will want to see video on you. For some sports, like baseball, softball, tennis and golf, skill footage is enough to peak their interest. For others such as football, soccer and lacrosse, game footage is required. Either way, have video available which shows your best abilities.
- Reach out to coaches: It’s essential to let coaches know that you are interested in their school. Check first to see if you meet their academic entrance requirements. If so, then send emails and make phone calls to the coaches to let them know that they are high on your list. And, ask if there is a spot open at your position. If not, move on. If the answer is yes, get on their campus for a visit ASAP to start building a relationship with the coaches.
- Get real: It’s time to drop dream schools that have not shown you any interest or that have told you that their recruiting class if full. Yes, it may be disappointing to hear, but it’s time to move on to realistic opportunities and leave those behind.
- Choose a proven promo vehicle: You want options, right? If doing it yourself is not getting results, or if you are waiting for coaches to find you, it’s time to seek out a pro that knows recruiting and how to get your name into the hands of as many college coaches’ hands as possible. There are options which you will never discover on your own or through your coaches because both methods are severely limited in their ability to reach enough college programs.
It’s the kind of high-profile tournament performance high school prospects dream about having. NSR softball prospect Haley Gonzales from West Boca Raton Community High School (FL) walked into the Wide World of Sports Spring Training Tournament at Disney World last week not knowing that she was entering a rare hitting zone which she herself created. And when the dust settled, the multi-talented infielder had a run through the prestigious tournament with a .650 batting average having gone 13 for 20 at the plate with six doubles, eight runs batted in and scoring 11 runs. In her personal essay to college coaches, the 2014 grad with a 3.5 GPA, says, “Everyday I take the field and give 110% of myself that my team and coaches deserve from me. I am on the field 24/7 and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my time. Softball has taught me so much about respect, being a team player, and learning where hard work can take you. When I am not on the field, I am in my backyard taking batting practice in the cage. During the beginning of the high school year, when the season has not yet started, I help coach softball at Loggers Run Middle. I try and pass on to the younger girls that the hard work and determination you put in will help you achieve your goal. I want nothing more than to be able to play softball at the college level.” Haley’s NSR on-the-ground scout and recruiting advisor is a very proud Daniel Gurtov who scouts South Florida for National Scouting Report.
- High school coaches and club organizations can help athletes with recruiting, but they are limited in their effectiveness
- High school athletes wanting to play college sports need planning and preparation
- Football signing period is a much longer haul than Day One for high school seniors
- NSR salutes the second-tier athletes that create the foundation for more talented athletes to garner the attention and praise
- New NCAA rule loosens initial contact restriction for DI coaches in some sports
- aisha frye on Summer offers high school prospects opportunities to shine on big stages
- christopher Lewis on NSR Female AOD: Savannah Irwin, 6’5″ post player from La Costa Canyon High, California with a 3.8 GPA
- Sharon Conrad on Kelly Horrell, 2012 Golfer from Nevada, Female Athlete of the Day
- Luis Alicea on NSR Male AOD: Evan Engelhardt, 6’3″ lefty hurler from Westview High, California, carries a 4.17 GPA
- edward cervantes on College coach asks: There are too many ineffective scouting services, so why should I use NSR?
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