I can only speak about son's recruitment path. He was a 2015 grad, so fairly recent. We live in very rural south GA. He played on fairly local travel teams until he was "discovered" at an All Star high school game after his sophomore year. It was on the campus of a good kid major program, and the coach brought us in to talk after the game was over. No offer was made, but he wanted us to come back in a few weeks for a visit and offer. We did and son received a good offer. We had no idea what the future held, but he was starting to get some attention from the big in state D1 who saw him at the All Star game. We thanked the HC for the offer and asked if there was a time limit. He said no time limit per se, but they were recruiting and once there offers were accepted, the scholarship money would be gone.
I completely understand parents concerns. This was my one and only son. When you get a scholarship offer from anyone, your first instinct is to jump at it, especially if the school is a good fit. This program checked all the boxes for son. His older cousin had just finished as a 4 year starter at catcher for this program, so we knew the coach and program pretty good. Still, son had hopes for the big D1. As a dad, I was nervous because I didn't really know how good son was.
Son had done a PG showcase the prior summer just to get some unbiased measurables. He graded at an 8 and was on the top prospect list for the showcase. As a rising 9th grader he was 2 or 3 in outfield velo, at 89 I think. He has always had a strong arm and received a good write up from PG scouts.
The following fall (start of jr year) he was invited to play on the top travel team in GA. In October, he attended a camp at LSU, being this was his dream school. At the beginning of the camp, one of the assistant coaches pulled son and two other kids aside and gave us a private tour. This caught us both off guard as we didn't know how LSU would have any idea who son was. Son did well at the camp. I think he hit 87 or so on mound. Coach Dunn pulled him to he side and told him they liked what they saw, but he needed to see son pitch the following summer in game situations and not a camp setting before he could make an offer. Through the fall and into the summer, we continued to sit on the single, mid major offer. Most all of the kids on the summer team had committed. I was really sweating it, but I kept this from son.
Summer after JR year son throws in a PG tourney with 50+ college coaches and pro scouts present. They were there to see him and he knew it because his summer coach had told him to be ready because everyone was gonna be there. I thought this might affect son but it didn't. The game didn't start until 9:00pm and ended around midnight. The next morning his phone had blown up with texts and phone calls from coaches wanting him to call them immediately. His recruitment went from 25mph to 100mph literally overnight. He did get the offer and accepted it from his dream school.
I know this has been long, but I just want to tell the parents that are in the middle of this thing, slow down. TPM and others that have said this are 100% right IMHO. If your kid has the tools, the schools will find the money if they really want you. If you get that offer and say yes as a 9th or even 10th grader, you better go into it with eyes wide open. He schools have all, not some but ALL, the leverage. Once you say yes, you are essentially off the market. If things change for you at the school over the next year or so, now you are scrambling for a spot.
Sort of my same take on the draft vs college. If you are good enough to be drafted out of high school, don't you think you will be in an even better position 3 years later? I understand injuries can happen. I also will admit it would be nearly impossible to turn down 1st or 2nd round money. But outside of that, for us, it was college all the way. Sorry for the chapter!