Advice for Unsigned Seniors Still Looking





Unsigned Seniors,

Let’s be honest. This probably isn’t the way that you planned it. But don’t worry, we are here to help.

As you can imagine, not signing your National Letter of Intent in the early signing period has many players in panic mode. But, for you, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Talented players sign or commit at different times every year. And, it isn’t just to Division I level programs.

So, here is our advice …

Still think you are a Division I prospect?

First, if you have received Division I interest, touch base with schools you are interested in and see where they are in the recruiting process. Do they still have a need for your position? Are you still on their board? These are just a few of the questions to ask. Please remember, schools need players late every year as their roster and needs change during the season.  

However, the odds of landing a scholarship in the spring are much smaller than the prior summer and fall. Remember, a Division I program will have a maximum of 27 guys on scholarship. If you do the math, that means that a program will have a minimum of eight walk on players, but more than likely that number will be around 10. Most schools spend their academic money in the fall. So, act wisely as you evaluate your options. 

The World Beyond DI Baseball

If you aren’t a Division I level prospect, that is fine. Find your fit at lower levels of play. Very few are going to make a living playing this game, so you need to ask yourself, “What is most important when selecting my future college home?”

Exploring Division II and NAIA Programs

Players looking at Division II or NAIA options, you probably have a chip on your shoulder because the Division I programs haven’t come calling. Or, if they did, maybe it was just a roster spot.

There is plenty of good baseball played at the Division II and NAIA levels. Take a look at the list of players in the current or past classes that have committed to Division II programs on the web site. There are really talented players at those programs or headed to those programs.

So, remember, weigh all the factors going into the decision making process. In addition to the baseball program, coaching staff, facilities, and support, you need to understand the financial packages at those specific schools. For most, the cost of going to school is an important factor in the decision making process. Are you a candidate for an athletic scholarship at one of these schools? Will you qualify for academic money as well?

The World of D3 Baseball

If you are looking at Division III programs, the process is a bit different. Remember, they cannot provide athletic aid. With the fall signing period ending, these schools begin to ramp up their communication as they get a better feel on the players left uncommitted. Expect their phone calls and communication to ramp up, if it hasn’t already. If you aren’t sure about a program, our advice, regardless of the level, is this: always return calls; develop relationships with coaches; talk with current and/or former players; and take your visits. Division III programs have plenty to offer student-athletes.

Also, cost is often an even bigger issue at the Division III level. Many of these schools require that you complete paperwork through admissions before notification of your potential costs for attending their university. So, don’t wait. What schools are you seriously interested in attending? Complete applications their applications, so that you can make an informed decision with plenty of time to weigh your options.

JUCO Baseball

Last but not least, there is the Junior College level. As stated above, few players will make their living playing this game, but many athletes choose a school based on baseball only. Financial responsibilities are the last thing on their mind, and five years later they have a lot of student debt. College is an investment, and with the lack of college baseball scholarships, almost everyone will have to pay something. 

But if there was a way to keep your expenses down (sometimes free with scholarships), take your general studies classes that you would take at a four-year school, and still have an opportunity to play at the highest levels of college baseball, would you take it? That is the Junior College level in a nutshell.

So, where do you go from here?

You have reached a critical juncture. It is time for more hard work during the off-season to become a better and more developed prospect. This is your last chance. Make the most out of winter camps or showcases and put yourself in the best possible position to succeed come spring.

As your high school season is about to begin, make a small list of schools you want to come see you play. As you put together that list, call those recruiting coordinators yourself and make them aware of your interest. Let them know you are going to forward them your schedule .  

As your season progresses, keep those coaches aware of your standing interest and how you are playing. It is a good idea to have your coach reach out to the coach staffs of those schools as well. This provides third party validation to your growth and performance during your senior year.

The Decision

At some point, it will be time for the decision. For many of you, this will be your first “adult” decision. And, it probably won’t be easy.

Talk with your parents or guardians. Seek advice from those that you trust. Explore all the options. And, make a decision based on all the factors on the table, not just baseball.

Because, when it is all said and done, this decision isn’t just about the game.

More than likely, the next four years will shape your life in ways that you don’t realize at this stage. You will develop skills and knowledge in preparation for your future jobs. You will build  friendships with your teammates, coaches, and classmates that will last a life time. And, you may just meet your future wife along the way.

Best of luck and please stay in contact along your journey.

Brent Alwine
Director of Scouting
PBR Michigan