“What to do if you aren’t getting the top-level D-1 exposure you want”

There was never an official start date to my recruiting process. There was no big announcement to the world stating that I was now seeking offers for scholarships, nor was there a big ceremony when the clock struck midnight on an idle Tuesday, signaling my start of the recruiting process. Instead, the entire progression just slowly became something out of nothing.
As my sophomore year of high school progressed, I had grand visions that the University of Florida would magically hear about my insane talent and come spring time would show up at my games, salivating at the thought of my footsteps gracing their campus. Very soon into the process I was invited to a showcase tournament down in Florida and decided that this is where my introduction to Florida would be consummated. Six games and ninety six hours later my entire outlook on the recruiting process was permanently altered.  Perhaps it was the dozens of Dominicans that filled the rosters, all looking like they were the next Manny Ramirez. Or perhaps it was simply observing so much talent in such a concentrated area that floored me. Returning back home to the cold northeast climate I knew that getting recruited by the top D1 programs was going to be far more difficult than I could have ever imagined. The next two years proved this intuition so.
The question very quickly materialized on what I should do now that I saw the difficulty in getting the exposure I wanted from top D1 schools.  Sure I would get the occasional letter from a University of Virginia type caliber program, and even a sporadic invite to (unofficially) visit a top athletic school, but for the most part I had to hastily reassess my goals and strategy and if I wanted to find a college team to play on.
I did not run a 6.5 60-yard dash, nor throw 94 MPH, so the first thing I learned was that I had to be proactive. I had watched too many movies about the big “Blue Chip” college football prospect who just sat back and waited for college coaches to come knocking at his door. If I wasn’t getting recruited by big D1 schools it either meant I was not good enough or I was not exposed enough. My first mission was to find out which one was true, if not both. Seeing where I was starting to get letters of interest from, I began to judge that I was somewhere in between a mid Division I player and a top Division III player. The opinion of my high school coach and AAU coach helped confirm this estimation. That was the easy part. Now the challenge was to become a highly demanded commodity in the marketplace known as “college recruiting.”
I started by emailing every coach who was at a school that fit both my academic and athletic criteria. I followed this email up with a video showcasing my abilities. With the development of YouTube and digital cameras it took no more than an afternoon with my dad to film me taking some swings and throwing some balls in from the outfield. I knew a coach would never recruit me without seeing me in person, but getting on his radar was a start. Once I planned out my post-junior year summer schedule, including which showcases I was going to attend, it was time to tell any coach willing to listen of my itinerary. I understood that the coaches were receiving bucketfuls of emails and videos each day but hoped that when they did see me play in person my name would trigger some memory of my email(s) and/or video. I had wisely chosen showcases and tournaments to attend that fit my conditions for school and had seen a lot of success from the ones geared towards good academic institutions.
I continued to work on my game throughout the summer and strived to get my “showcase tools” (60-yard dash, outfield throws, ect.) as refined as possible. As the calendar turned to August and my senior year was slowly approaching I had not only created a network of college coaches who were interested in me, but had become a better baseball player throughout the process as well. All of the work and effort seemed to pay off when my eventual school, Binghamton University, saw me play at a Perfect Game showcase in Massachusetts. I knew it was important to get go to a showcase sponsored by Perfect Game as they provided me a ranking that I could use to backup my claims of why I thought I should be a Division I scholarship athlete. Actually getting recruited by Binghamton there was a side benefit.
As the signing period in November neared, it was time to make a decision. Although the Florida Gators never did show any interest in me and my 7.2 60-yard dash time, my other skills had proven good enough to have the next tier of schools take a serious look at me. Wanting to play Division I ball, I had to sacrifice warm weather, pretty buildings, and a large locker room for the prospects of attending a reputable academic institution that offered me the opportunity to play a solid brand of baseball.
When the time I came I signed my National Letter of Intent (NLI) and officially became a Binghamton Bearcat. Unable to believe that I had accomplished my goal, albeit fine-tuned from when I first set out on the journey, I thought the hardest part was done. I was in for a rude awakening a few months later when stepping onto campus for the first time as a student I discovered  that the coach who had recruited me so passionately was no longer with the program.  The real test for me was just beginning.

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