Our son is a public high school Junior middle infielder in the Northeast, at a relatively small school of about 1200 students and he is hoping to play college ball. I'll try to layout below the variables that are swirling through our heads and maybe you kind folks can help us out. I sure hope we don't have so many restrictive variables that we're making it almost impossible to find a fit? And if we do, it will be difficult to decide which restrictions to remove in order to widen the net a bit.
- No plans for pro ball, as he would rather have a career and be home with a family vs. the travelling life of pro ballplayers.
- Nevertheless, he greatly desires to continue playing ball as long as the game allows.
- Prefers structured, competitive varsity ball vs. club or intramural.
- Youth - Like many passionate players, he's played since he was 4, always made All-Stars through LL (4 years Majors) and Babe Ruth (13YO).
- HS Spring - This will be his first year on varsity, after having started at shortstop on JV and freshman teams the past two years.
- HS Summer/fall - Last summer and previous fall, wood bat travel leagues (one was Connie Mack, don't recall the other, but both teams have other college prospects and extremely knowledgeable/experienced coaches). This summer, he's hoping to at least play Jr. Legion and Connie Mack (wood). The Legion team still has many older kids on it (18-19YO), and won't be taking underclassmen who don't also pitch.
- Multisport - Starting shooting guard on varsity basketball team. Keeps him in shape during baseball off-season.
- We'll know his current GPA when report cards come out next week, but he's an all A/B student, w/ a few honors classes per year (no AP yet). Good shot at top 20% of class.
- Hasn't taken SATs yet, but will at least twice this year.
- 5'9", 150 lbs (gained 15 lbs. last summer/fall, weight lifting; hoping for similar results this year).
College Search Parameters:
- DIVISION: We don't wear rose-colored glasses, so we're pretty sure he's not a D1 prospect if he didn't play varsity in freshman or sophomore years. I don't know about D2? D3 seems to be a good fit for non-stud (but good) players who are also above average academically. Also, neither he nor my wife are interested in JUCO (again, if his goal is to go to college, play ball and get a degree, and move into a career, he's not looking to add years to the process).
- LOCATION: Within a couple hour driving commute from RI = RI, CT, MA. Expanding this to 3 hours would open up the NY schools too, but we've seen many of them seem to have very NY-heavy rosters.
- SIZE: Nothing smaller than 4000 students. Private campus over inner-city atmosphere. He's a very social kid, though not a partier (yet? ), but likes to be around the action (i.e. attends lots of HS sporting events). Prefers a bit of a big school atmosphere (which seems to conflict w/ where his baseball skill set might point him -> D3).
- MAJOR: Likely something in business (i.e. finance, investments, marketing) or perhaps Computer Science or Info. Systems. Aptitude tests so far suggest Marketing/Sales (people person).
- ROSTER: Prefers geographic diversity vs. a team entirely comprised of local HS students.
- COST: Ok, here's where it gets a bit tricky. Our daughter is a freshman in college (URI) and we're already spending close to $20k/yr. Our EFC suggests that we can spend $35k/yr on college. That doesn't help now, but during the 2 years when both of our kids are in college, I realize we might actually see some financial aid (other than loan offers). After our daughter graduates though, we likely won't see any aid unless our son's costs are above our EFC. Call us selfish, but my wife and I have no desire to spend $200k for his education, as we just don't feel the need for it (no offense to anyone else who does though). We're targeting retiring in our mid-50s and we believe that not all careers require launching from expensive private schools and that a very comfortable lifestyle can be achieved via public state university education. Maybe if we weren't a double-income family and if finanical aid allowed our children to have their choice of private colleges for costs similar to state schools, we'd feel differently? But we feel like our son can attend URI like our daughter for about $80k; we're not willing to double that (or more) just so he can play baseball too, as we believe the primary goal of college is to find your career. We ARE willing though to spend maybe $10k/yr more than URI ($30k/yr)... IF he gets the opportunity to play baseball somewhere.
So, if we haven't painted ourselves into an impossible situation, we'd like to try to narrow down his focus for which college coaches to start contacting (now?) and which camps/showcases to attend this summer/fall. Keep in mind that this will be his first year on the varsity team. I plan to film many of his games this year in order to put together a demo video (DVD or internet-downloadable?).
- Camps: Are D1 camps a waste of time/money for him because there won't be many/any D2/D3 coaches there? Bryant and Brown both have college prospect camps, but are those more for kids who have the game and grades to actually consider attending there? Franklin Pierce has a camp next week, but he's not in baseball shape yet (still playing HS basketball, though he has been hitting twice per week for a few weeks and began throwing this week in prep for mid-March tryouts). Besides, FP doesn't meet his size requirement, so he would've been going to that camp more to be exposed to other New England college coaches.
- Perfect Games Showcase: We're considering the one in Bristol, CT this summer. Is that a good fit for him? Does it help for college-bound players or is it more for those with pro aspirations?
- How much might scholarships help?: Based on his GPA (seeing he doesn't have SAT scores yet), it looks like at some schools, he might have a shot at anywhere from $5-15k/yr in academic merit aid. Of course, D3s can't offer athletic scholarships, so that would be all the aid we could hope for there. D1s/D2s CAN give athletic scholarships to help further, but again, not if his skill set won't garner attention from them. The ideal combination would seem to be either a D1/D2 that offers him both types of scholarships or a D3 whose academic merit aid is further influenced by the baseball coach. Or are we delusional to hope for any baseball scholarship offers for a player who isn't playing varsity until his Junior year (though if he tears up this Spring... )?
-Contacting coaches: Should he do that now or do they not really want to keep in touch with him before he's played at the varsity level?
I apologize for the length of this post. I've done a fair amount of reading on this site over the years too, including the Recruiting Timeline. But most of what I've read seems to refer to kids who were playing varsity before their Junior year. I know a lot of you have gone through the same process and I look forward to your input. If there are other variables I've omitted that we should consider, please feel free to point those out too.
Thank you very much. I appreciate your help,