Also, what happens in October? Do you mean before the ED window?
Sorry one more question! If he does decide to let the coach of the school he likes know that they’re his first choice, is he ethically obligated to stop visiting other schools? Or is it unwise to stop the recruiting process elsewhere, in case the favorite doesn’t pan out for whatever reason? How do you protect yourself while not offending coaches?
Thank you so much.
In our experience, coaches wanted an answer by early October, so that they could make offers to other players, in time for ED applications. They knew he was looking at several schools and could only apply ED at one.
This whole thing is a dance, the coaches know that. For super-selective schools, where you likely really need a coach's pull to be admitted, you need to apply ED with support (slot, likely letter, be on the list, whatever they have at that school). At such schools, "committing" means telling the coach that you will be applying ED with his support/slot, then you can't apply anywhere else. Coach usually has a set number of players he can support, he should be clear about what kind of support you are getting - you want to be on that list. When you commit to ED, he will likely tell other players that he can't support them (but might say he'd have them on the team if they get in on their own).
Don't know what "they have a slot for him - if he commits this week they'll start the pre-read" means. Usually they'll have done a pre-read before offering a slot (depending on what is meant by "slot"). You know your son's GPA/SAT/ACT, see how they compare to the school's averages. Get some clarity on that, and in the meantime, no, don't turn away anything until you have to. If he has other options, he should tell the first coach that he is considering several options, and see what he says.
Also, visiting during the semester is really important, imo. Everything is pretty abstract until you meet the coach and players, and see how they live.
There were some other good recent threads about this: