High school athletes dealing with changes to recruiting

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020

COVID-19 has effectively shut down the sports world, including college recruiting.

Spring sports across the United States have been cancelled, both collegiately and at the high school level.

This means the entire process of recruiting has had to change.

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Athletes at the high school level looking to move to the next level are stuck wondering if they’ve done enough to earn the attention of college teams.

Moving up into the next tier of competition is extremely difficult even with a full set of seasons available for recruiters to analyze, and now high school athletes are missing out on the chance to improve their portfolio.

According to NCAA.com, in 2018-2019 there were nearly eight million high school athletes, but only 495,000 of those went on to play in NCAA schools.

Even with the availability of junior college programs and other avenues of competition for athletes, the sheer number of those who don’t make it indicates it’s a tall task, and that’s before entire seasons were lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rhett Garrett, who is a senior outfielder for the Poplarville Hornets baseball team, said that not having the ability to play his final season hurt his chances of getting a college offer.

“Normally the teams who are winning and deep in the playoffs, there’s a reason they’re there and they get looked at more,” Garrett said.

Now Garrett and fellow senior teammate, catcher Hunter Blackwell, are left wondering what offers they would’ve received if they had made a playoff run.

“The way the season was going, me and my other seniors with me, we would’ve had a good opportunity to get looked at,” Blackwell said.

Prior to the cancellation of spring sports, Blackwell was optimistic there’d be another chance to show college programs what he could potentially bring to the table.

Not only so that he could possibly garner interest, but so other athletes also had the opportunity to chase their dreams of playing at the next level.

“That way everybody around us that plays and has that dream of going somewhere and playing somewhere has a chance. Not just me,” Blackwell said.

Instead Garrett, Blackwell and other senior athletes in the United States who didn’t already have college offers are left with a new set of challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it has had a big effect. I think (the cancellation of spring sports) had to be done. It is a pandemic. I’ve just learned to control what you can control and that’s all,” Garrett said.