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Recruiting Frenzy: National Signing Day is Wednesday

Bob Jones’ All-State linebacker Drew Davis is expected sign his letter of intent on Feb. 6 with Western Kentucky. Photo by JeffAbbottPhotos.com

Bob Jones’ All-State linebacker Drew Davis is expected sign his letter of intent on Feb. 6 with Western Kentucky. Photo by JeffAbbottPhotos.com

The calls come at all hours of the day and night. Letters overflow the mailbox almost daily. The unexpected visits are aplenty. These are just some of traits of the college recruiter.

The recruiting frenzy is in full gear nearing the National Signing Day scheduled for Feb. 6.

Many of the high school athletes who are lucky enough to be wanted by college athletic programs cherish the excitement that goes along with being recruited for a college athletic scholarship. Recruiters make these young athletes feel special. At times, the attention can be overwhelming. For some, the excitement can wear thin the nerves and recruiters become unbearable. The entire experience can be both fun and bothersome.

“Early on the entire experience was exciting as you soon get the impression that someone out there wants you, but the recruiting is, at times, frustrating,” said Dustin Haraway, senior football player at Bob Jones, who is not expected to sign on the designated day some call ‘the beginning of a dynasty’. “I plan on a couple more visits before I make up my mind on where I want to attend college and play football. I’ll probably make my decision within the next month.”

Meanwhile, All-State linebacker Drew Davis is expected sign his letter of intent on Feb. 6 with Western Kentucky. The school located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, has its football program in Div. I of the NCAA and plays in the Sun Belt Conference. Its new football coach is Bobby Petrino. Davis knew of his intentions to join the Hilltoppers program long before Petrino came on board.

“I visited several other schools, but felt Western Kentucky was the best fit for me,” said Davis, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker who was a two-year starter for Bob Jones and has played football since the fifth grade where he began playing in the Madison Pop Warner Football Program.

The recruiting process is actually very simple: college coaches usually contact the players at certain times of the year by guidance of NCAA rules and regulations and become similar to salespersons or marketing experts.

“The interest for my talents began in the spring as recruiting coaches wanted me to attend a game on their campuses and attend a summer football camp,” said Davis.

Haraway, at 5-foot-11, 180-pound defensive player, is most likely going to play safety in college. Like most of today’s high school athletes, had the luxury of editing together a highlight video off an internet program called Huddle Program. “I guess I put together 150 copies of my highlight reel,” said Haraway. “I would find coaches’ e-mail addresses and e-mail my video to them. Most never responded and that can be very frustrating.”

During the football season, most of the recruits will attend campuses for an official visit. The college pays for roundtrip transportation and has a greeting party awaiting the arrival of the recruits. The special day usually includes a tour of the college’s athletic facilities and a pass for a football game. Davis has visited several schools and said all of the recruits are treated special and become friends. “We meet with the coaches before and after the game and enjoy the atmosphere of the home game festivities,” added Davis who looks to study physical therapy as part of his college education.

Brandon Ray, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound offensive lineman will sign his athletic scholarship with Western Kentucky. He was really undecided about his future in college, where he plans on studying engineering, until the Hilltoppers’ new coach Petrino came to his home in Madison.

“He visited my home and he and my entire family sat for a couple hours and talked about everything I needed to know about the university, the football program and my future in college,” said Ray an honorable mention all-state performer. “After my lengthy conversation with Coach Petrino and knowing my father got along with him very well, I knew exactly where I was going to college. I no longer had to think about it.”

For Haraway, his desire is to play college football and earn his education to where he can become a sports agent. He has thought of possibly trying to walk on at a school and earn a scholarship, but he is currently leaning towards both Murray State and Jacksonville State as his choices, should scholarships be offered.

For any high school athlete the recruiting process can be overtaxing and dreadful.

Ray was courted by numerous colleges, many of them offering scholarships, but Ray waited out the recruiting process. He felt he made the correct choice in waiting and has some advice for others who may go through the recruiting game. He said, “Don’t commit unless you believe in that school. Stay cautious. Remain humble. Wait and see what all schools offer you.”

Davis also has some advice for those who may go through the recruiting frenzy. “Attend camps during the summer and be noticed by colleges prior to season, thus not being overlooked. Tell coaches you are serious about wanting to play. But know the contacts from recruiters come at times you may not be prepared. Enjoy the moment. The experience can be lots of fun.”