Wed September 26, 2012
By Chris Valentine
The official start of fall has hit, and with it, two of the top players in Ohio’s Class of 2014 gave their college commitments and several others have begun to collect offers from schools around the Midwest and South.
On Monday, Mentor right-handed pitcher, Kade McClure, pledged his commitment to the University of Louisville while Gahanna Lincoln’s two-way prospect Evan White made an early commitment to Kent State.
Earlier this month, Amelia’s Trevor Simon gave his pledge to Marshall. And, prior to the start of their sophomore season’s, Kilbourne’s Jacob Niggemeyer, Moeller’s Zack Shannon, and St. Xavier’s Jordan McDonough all gave commitments to The Ohio State University.
Meanwhile, many seniors in the Class of 2013 are still waiting to make their decisions.
If you look back five years, one wouldn’t find near as many early commitments at this point from a junior class, but the recruiting process continues to change.
And, it’s only moving faster.
In many ways, baseball is catching up to other sports. Over the past several years, football combines and all-star events as well as AAU basketball tournaments have provided college coaches an early opportunity to view, evaluate, and recruit underclass prospects.
All the while, Scout.com and Rivals.com have continually covered these events for football and basketball, and as a result of that coverage, players are being recognized and recruited earlier and earlier.
When you combine the two factors, it isn’t a shock that many players in football and basketball make their college commitment prior to the start of their sophomore or junior seasons.
Now, baseball is next, and we are seeing it happen before our eyes.
Colleges in the South and West got the ball rolling, and schools in the North are doing all they can to catch up.
Coaches in the SEC, ACC, BIG 12, and PAC 12 are continually looking for ways to gain a recruiting advantage over their opponents.
When you couple the competiveness of those conferences with the ability to evaluate local and regional players in game like settings nearly year-round, it is easy to understand the large number of early commitments to Southern and Western baseball programs.
Now, in an attempt to keep the top players in the Midwest close to home, several schools are beginning to offer scholarships earlier and earlier.
Louisville and Kentucky are recognized for being more aggressive schools in the recruiting process, but we are beginning to see more movement earlier than usual from schools in the Midwest region.
Offers have gone out by many, but already, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Kent State, Illinois, Purdue, and Notre Dame have collected commitments from players in the Class of 2014 and/or Class of 2015.
The times are changing, and here at PBR, we look forward to doing our part to help promote high school baseball and, ultimately, help prep athletes achieve their dreams of playing baseball at the next level.