As the 2020 recruiting cycle comes to a close, some TJ athletes will go on and play at the collegiate level.
This year National Signing Day was Wednesday, February 5th, and TJ had seven athletes sign to play at the next level. Signing Day celebrates the end of a year-long process to be recruited by a college for an athlete’s excellence in athletics and academics. National Signing Day recognizes all athletes for their hard work and dedication to their sport.
The athletes that were recruited to play in colleges are all-stars, on and off the field. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), there are over 460,000 student athletes playing at the collegiate level across three different divisions. Each recruiting process is unique and different, to each individual sport and athlete. While the processes are vastly different, one thing remains the same: National Signing Day. The athletes sign a document called a National Letter of Intent. By signing this document, the athletes have committed to enroll in their selected school for at least a year, which officially ends the recruiting process.
A lot of factors go into picking a college to continue both their academic and athletic careers. Division, location, academics, major, and scholarship opportunities are all important factors to consider. Senior Elle Maggio commented “I knew I wanted a high academic school where I could compete at a high level. Something that was also important to me was being able to play as a freshman. Also, I wanted to get out of the state and try something new.” Football player and senior, Craig Patterson, made sure that his new team had “a supportive coaching staff and for it to be close to home.”
Seven TJ athletes signed to a wide variety of schools for a variety of sports. Four football players, one volleyball player, and two lacrosse players signed their National Letter of Intent. For seven athletes to sign from TJ says a lot about the athletics program. Athletic director Anne Rice commented, “When we can show the type of success or the type of benefits that could come from that, like a scholarship to college or being recruited to multiple colleges, it shows other kids at TJ that they can do the same thing and that they should be working hard.” To be a part of this day meant a lot to the athletes, parents, teachers, and coaches. Maggio stated, “It meant a lot. It helped me take in all the hard work that I have put in and celebrate it with my family and friends.” Though this day celebrates their hard work during high school, it also gives the athletes something to be excited about for the future. Patterson explained, “The support that comes from playing at the college level. It is going to be a bigger atmosphere with much higher competition compared to other levels like TJ.”
With the class of 2020 ending the recruiting process for the year, the recruits leave a bit of advice for next year’s class of recruits. “Be very proactive. Reach out to a lot of schools. Try to have as many phone calls as possible even if it is not with a school you are not super interested in. It is always good to get practice talking to coaches and taking good videos,” advised Maggio. In addition to being proactive, Rice also gives this advice to students: “Make sure your grades are good. Recruiters look at social media; clean up your social media. Everything you put out online is part of your brand.”
National Signing Day celebrates both an athlete’s athletic and academic success. As students leave TJ and play at the next level, the support from their teachers, peers, and coaches will always remain a constant. They will continue to be leaders on and off the field, and National Signing Day helped celebrate that.