There is no doubt that one of the toughest questions high school athletes with scholarship offers has to answer at this point in the recruiting process (especially for football recruiting) is if they should end the process before the season kicks off. Is it better to end things or wait it out until after the season?
Both situations have pros and cons that you need to think about before the season officially kicks off. So this article will focus on the benefits of waiting as well as the disadvantages of finalizing your college plans early on.
Pros of an early decision
The reason to decide in August before the football season really gets underway is so that you don’t have to worry about it all fall. If you have a solid commitment to a program, then you can tell all the other schools to quit bugging you with calls. You can also just make visits to this college program and not have to worry about other travel arrangements to various schools recruiting you.
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While your life won’t be stress free, you will have a lot less to worry about during the football season. You can concentrate on playing your best football and having fun in your final year in high school. Again, calls and visits will bog you down a lot less and give you more time to spend with friends and family.
Another factor is that schools have a limited amount of scholarships. If they are only taking three offensive linemen, you better jump on board before three others do. Making a decision early usually means that the offers are still on the table when you decide.
In the end, I think the biggest reasons for a football recruiting decision in April is to not have to worry about it during the fall. Calls are one of the biggest things that athletes don’t want to bother dealing with and a college decision makes those go away for the most part.
Cons of an early decision
The goal for most athletes is to have all the scholarships on the table before making a final decision. The problem with that is this rarely happens. Schools need a variety of options so they may not offer this early in the process. What is scary about this is if you spent your life growing up a Notre Dame fan. Say you are a B recruit for the Irish but have ten offers on the table.
If you make a firm verbal commitment and Notre Dame comes offering, then you are going to have to take the backlash from changing your mind. If you wait, you won’t feel bad about your decision to go to Notre Dame. The problem of this obviously is that you really have no idea where you sit with the Irish and if they are going to offer you. That makes it tough to wait for them. But in waiting, you do get to look and see all of the schools that come.
A summer football decision would also limit you from seeing other schools. If you really do have ten offers, you could go on five official visits and check out programs and campuses you have never seen before. This may be worth doing to broaden your horizons in the long term.
You will also get a chance to meet more coaches and people on your visits. It will be tougher going to different schools every week but getting a chance to attend college games for free is something that many wish they could do.
In the end, you have to decide what will make you happiest. If you do make a decision, be sure that you are 100% confident in the school that you will be attending. It is never easy but you want to be confident about it and make sure you are happy with your future home.