I taught middle-school Civics for five years in the inner-city of Miami. There was once a drive-by shooting outside my classroom. One of my student’s had her four-year-old sister shot and killed when a bullet went astray in their neighborhood. I knew multiple teenagers that were homeless. I was the only white person in the building at times and I even explained to my students, despite them believing it was racist, why I voted for Trump in 2016. Often I found myself politely telling a kid in the hallway, “Yo, I’m pretty sure his mom didn’t name him n*****,” before sitting with the youngster to explain why his grandmother wouldn’t find that to be a term of endearment. I stuck out like a sore thumb in that building every day. But I loved every minute of it. And they seemed to love me. I even won Teacher of the Year one time! (Ha, tricked them!)
The reason it worked out was because I always spoke the truth to those kids. They appreciated somebody who would listen without judging. And when it came time for me to speak, they’d listen back because they knew I had heard them. Every year, I’d have my Civics students close their eyes and think about all the times they’d been told, “You can be President of the United States.” Next, I’d tell them to open their eyes and look at me while I explained that they’d never become President because of who they are and where they come from. And then we’d spend the rest of the week talking about the excellent opportunities that were realistic and how they can capture them.
Dear Uncommitted 2021’s,
My inbox has been stuffed with messages from desperate 2021 high school players over the past month. I could’ve made enough money to instantly build the best travel program in the country, but I refused to make empty promises in exchange for the almighty dollar. For example, I wouldn’t tell a 2021 HS family that I can help them get committed to a D1. For an uncommitted high school senior right now, finding even a PWO at a D1 school is like trying to get Trump to wear a mask while he’s infected with COVID-19. It’s nearly impossible. (Just a joke… not a political statement!)
Can an uncommitted 2021 HS player sign with a D1 school over the next few months? Yes, absolutely. It will 100% happen on more than one occasion. But the likelihood that you’re that guy is well below 1%.
The fact is that we have a transfer portal packed with thousands of high-caliber players that are incredibly more appealing than an uncommitted high school kid. We’re talking about recruits that were at the top of their graduating class just a year ago. We’re talking about young men who have already played multiple seasons at the Division I level. We’re talking about 23-year-old graduate transfers who have no choice but to move on from their programs because it doesn’t offer a fifth-year option. We’re talking about future draft picks.
And all of this comes before we even mention the thousands of JUCO prospects that need a four-year school in 2021.
Think about it. Which would you recruit – a teenager who can go weeks without shaving and still have a baby face, or a young man who’s proven he can handle three college classes in the morning before going to the park and eating 90 MPH fastballs for lunch? Even in a normal year, committing to a D1 as a high school senior is becoming less and less common. Throw in a pandemic and… well… good luck.
This isn’t meant to discourage anyone from chasing their dream. It’s meant to encourage someone to capture reality. Last time I checked, there were roughly 1,600 college baseball programs in this country. That would mean around 80% of the collegiate programs are NOT from Division I. There’s a deep well of excellent destinations for aspiring college baseball players who are determined to seek them out.
I’m all for the “D1 or Bust” mentality. If that’s your preference, then good for you. I’m happy you have a clear path to follow. But if you’re an uncommitted 2021 high school grad without a clear road map, then pull over for a minute. Ask yourself what is the real dream you’re chasing? Is it becoming a D1 commit, or is it becoming a professional ballplayer? If it’s the latter, then you must continue playing – and I mean playing. Don’t let ignorance drag your baseball career into the guillotine. If you’re the uncommitted 2021 who says you’ll do anything for an opportunity, then start reaching out to D2, D3, NAIA and JUCO programs right now. Opportunities await!