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The recruiting process during a player’s senior year can look different between players. Some may already be committed to schools, while others are just starting the process.
There is still time during a player’s year to begin their recruiting process and hopefully find the right school for the. Whether a player is committed or not, senior year marks the stage where players will begin applying to colleges, and ultimately decide where they want to go.
Senior year has a lot of moving parts, but with some focus, players can successfully enjoy their senior year and prepare themselves well for their future college baseball career.
1. Confirm Eligibility
If a player is already committed to a school, they should sit down with their guidance counselor and confirm they are meeting all of the required courses, GPA, and test scores required to participate in their school’s respective division. More can be learned here.
If a player is not yet committed to a school, if possible, remaining eligible at all levels of college athletics will help keep as many options open as possible. Good academic performance can carry a lot of weight during the recruiting process and can keep the door open for a late commitment.
2. Keep up the Good Grades
On the same note as eligibility, continue to maintain good grades throughout senior year. The worst-case scenario would be losing a scholarship or roster spot at a school due to GPA falling below eligibility requirements. Meeting with a guidance counselor can help ensure players are on the right track and stay ahead of any potential issues.
Maintaining a high GPA will also help with academic scholarships at whatever school the player ends up attending. This could be a savings of tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a player’s college career.
3. Apply to Colleges
For players that have committed to a school, it obviously makes applying to colleges easy. They have the luxury of just applying to that school without much else to worry about.
For players that are still in search of a school to play college baseball at, this process can be a little tricky. Our recommendation is to apply to a few schools that would be great to attend regardless if playing baseball is an option or not. This will vary between individuals, but having some backup options is a good idea. From there, if there are schools expressing heavy interest, it may be worth applying to those schools as well.
Applying to multiple colleges can be expensive, and also a lot of work, so this is going to be a very individualized decision between players and their families. Players can also seek out the advice of the guidance counselor who can help to determine which schools players should apply to and when.
1. Fall Ball & Summer Ball
Fall Ball can serve multiple purposes depending on where players are at in the recruiting process. It can serve as an opportunity to further develop their game with experience against good competition, or it can serve as continued exposure to college coaches for the players who have not committed to a school yet.
Summer ball after a player’s senior season is also important. At this point, almost all graduating seniors will know where they are going to play in college. The summer season is important to stay sharp and in shape going into fall ball at their college. Showing up on campus in game shape is the best way to make a good initial impression.
2. Off-Season Training
The off-season should be spent getting stronger and faster while further developing every skill related to the game. College baseball is an equalizer for many players, meaning they can no longer rely solely on their natural ability. Everyone is talented, and incoming freshmen must work extra hard to catch-up physically to the next level of competition.
The weight room is where many college athletes separate themselves from others. Creating good habits and a strong work ethic in the weight room in high school can give players a jump start on this part of competing at the next level.
3. High School Season
Whether a player has committed to a college or is still trying to find a program to play for, it shouldn’t change their approach to their season. First of all, players should enjoy their senior season and not take it for granted. For most, it’s the last time they’ll be on the field with their best friends, and there is never a guaranteed tomorrow in sports.
For players that are committed to a school, remember that committing isn’t the finish line. Committing is just the start of a college career, and now the real work begins. Treat every game as an opportunity to improve as a player both physically and mentally, and do not be content in any way. Don’t waste the reps that high school baseball provides.
Players that are still searching for a school should just stay focused and keep playing hard. It’s never too late to catch the attention of a college coach. Recruiting classes change, commits become ineligible, and players get injured, so college coaches are often in a situation where they are looking for a graduating senior to fill a spot in their recruiting class.
Research & Recruiting
1. If You Have Already Committed
If a player is committed, their recruiting process is basically complete. Take time to celebrate with family and friends, but don’t mistake the accomplishment as an opportunity to be lazy. There are new challenges to prepare for as a player, and the focus should be on developing as an athlete in preparation for college.
2. If You Haven’t Already Committed
For players that have not found a college program as a graduating senior, it does not mean they should give up on the dream. If they are absolutely determined to find a place to play, it’s possible. However, this means they will need to be less picky with their preferences, and consider options they weren’t before.
Typically the best option for players in this situation is JUCO. We wrote an article about the benefits of JUCO and who this option is a good fit for. In summary, JUCO is a great option for players that need more time to develop athletically, academically, or both.
JUCO is competitive, and there is no guarantee of making the team or playing time but is a great opportunity for many players. It also keeps the dream alive of playing for a 4-year university. Many JUCO players transfer to nationally ranked NCAA DI schools after a year or two of JUCO, an opportunity that they did not have straight out of high school.
3. Contacting Schools & Continued Outreach
Players that have not committed to a school should continue to send intro emails and updates to college coaches of all levels. Regular updates of schedules and confirmed interest can help led to the exposure necessary to land a roster spot at a school. As a senior, it may be time to expand this list, and perhaps consider other schools at different levels than were originally targeted.
If players keep working hard and consider all options, they can find a place in college baseball.