An Look Into the Athletic Recruitment Process

Atreya Mallanna and Ryan Asarpour

This fall, the annual cycle of college athletic recruitment came to a close, marking the end of a year filled with scouting, calls, offers, and decisions. 

Lexington High School athletes Alan Zhang, Ava Criniti, and Sean Crogan announced their commitments to the University of Pennsylvania for swimming, Northwestern University for track and field, and Johns Hopkins University for lacrosse, respectively.

Student-athletes typically start receiving attention from colleges during their junior year and occasionally the summer following their sophomore year.

“Sophomore summer going into the junior year is the big recruiting summer, the summer that you play with sidelines packed with recruiting coaches,” Crogan said.

However, the recruitment process reaches its peak during the spring of junior year, when communication and official visits escalate. 

“Around my junior year, spring was definitely when the recruitment process accelerated … and that was when I started visiting schools on official visits and meeting the team and coaches,” Zhang said. 

Additionally, Criniti emphasized the importance of coach-athlete communication and the frequent conversations that ultimately convinced her to commit to Northwestern.

“I was in contact with the coach from Northwestern for a while, and I think his communications with me were very helpful. He was really proactive for every chance to meet with me, check in on me, see how the process was going, and I think [he] wanted the best for me, whether that meant going to his school or going to a different school, which really stood out to me,” Criniti said. 

Crogan attributed his connection with the coach as a significant component in his commitment decision.

“I really clicked with the coach since the first phone call we ever had,” Crogan said.

Official school visits play a large role in making commitment decisions. Zhang expressed the valuable experiences and information he gained during these visits.

“They would fly us out for two to three days, and we would live with the teammates, eat with them, train with them a little bit. It helped you get the vibe of the school, and without the official visits, recruiting would be a lot harder because the visits offer you a first-person perspective as to what going to that school really feels like,” Zhang said.

College commitment is only the beginning of these athletes’ journeys. 

“I know it’s just the start and that I have to keep working hard. I can’t slack off now just because I am committed; I need to keep putting in the work, if not more,” Crogan said.