Make Hall Offers Advice to All High School Recruits19 Sep 2016
By Mark Hall
Being recruited at any level is tough. Put it on a 15 year old kid who can't remember what he had for breakfast the day before and premature decisions will happen. Thankfully, during my recruiting process, I was able to have a lot of control and was hardly put in that position. If I ever was put in that position, I had my parents and coaches to remind me of the right thing to do, and some athletes don't get that chance. I'm just going to give my input on what I think is the right thing to do in the recruiting game and want to help out wrestlers, and athletes in general who might not know what to do. Thoughts are my own, and even if this helps one person, I will feel some type of accomplishment! I am going to relate everything back to wrestling, but if there are athletes of a different breed reading this, just insert your sport, and its all the same.
83 times out of 100, college coaches are absolutely ruthless. They want you to represent their program. They want you in their singlet. They all will tell you their place is the best place to achieve your dreams as a wrestler. Anyone who knows who I am, knows my views, and at the end of the day there is more to life than wrestling. That being said, you CANNOT choose a place for JUST wrestling. Choosing a college just for wrestling is like getting a fruit salad just to eat the grapes in it. There is so much more to this life than wrestling, and I can't stress that enough. When your career is all said and done, you're going to need to get a job and for most people it just doesn't involve being in the sport anymore. Recognize this, and don't let anyone cloud your mind with the idea that wrestling is what college is about.
Pressure can eat away at people, but being pressured by someone on the spot is even worse. It is in the moment, most of the time coming as surprise. Don't let someone pressure you. (Tangent: this is a life tip, too. being in your position there will be people who disguise themselves as friends, and they will try to ruin it all if you let them. Don't risk the rest of your life for one night.) Coaches will pressure you. On one of my recruiting trips, I had a coach sit me down in his office. He had me in front of him while he sat behind his desk. He said something along the lines of "I am 100% with getting the young men who sit in that chair to come here, what do you say we keep it going." In complete awe, it actually made it easier for me to turn him down. There was a decision that I had to make, and I didn't let anyone make it for me. After saying no, he kept pushing the subject and I wouldn't bring myself to cave, even though it would be very easy to. It was an awesome college that I too thought I could be successful at, but in the end it just wasn't the place for me. All college coaches will give their sales pitch and trust me, every single one of them sounds so convincing. They are professionals in what they do, and they all know exactly what to say. Do not cave, do not allow for negative pressure to make your decision for you. Take your time, enjoy the ride, and be open minded.
Don't feel bad. If you are a people pleaser, I am sorry to inform you that you will not be able to please everyone. I am a people pleaser, and this process will actually cause some of the coaches recruiting you to be unpleased to say the very least. It's a wild game and like I said some coaches are just ruthless. When I committed to Penn State, the day after, I had a coach who was recruiting me unfollow me on twitter, and two longtime friends unfollow me as well. Telling them I didn't want to go to their college made me feel bad, but now I feel no remorse. If you have 5 colleges on your radar, 4 are going to end up upset or unpleased. If you have 2 colleges recruiting you hard, 1 is going to end up upset or unpleased. It's just the way things work out, and remember you didn't make your decision to make the coaches happy, you made it to make you happy.
Wait until your senior year, preferably after you visit your desired universities. There will be special cases where when you know, you know. If that's the case with you, then by all means listen to your gut. But, too often we see kids commit to a college, and when they get to be young men, they realize the wrong choice was made. It happens, but it can be avoided if you just wait. Let things play out, wait to see if there are coaching changes, see who your partners will be. See all the places you can, and be open to discussion. When you commit early, you are literally turning away new opportunities that could benefit you in more ways than one. As your senior year kicks off, you are allowed 5 FREE visits to colleges. FREE. THEY PAY FOR EVERYTHING. IT'S GREAT. They fly you in, dine you, cater to you, and you get to meet some POWERFUL people. I met former NFL players, presidents of colleges, athletic directors who are REALLY good at what they do. I got to hold an actual Heisman trophy. The experiences were endless, I could write a blog on those alone. Moral of the story, see the amazing things that happen on official visits. I was lucky enough to be traveling around the USA my whole life, and if you are in the same boat as me then you can see Universities as well. Go to the nearest one for a day visit, it all matters. Again, I want to make it clear. If you know, you know. Pick a place that if everything in their wrestling program gets obliterated, and you were left with half the team you had when you got there, you would still want to finish your career out there. Trust me when I say this, things like that DO happen. Unfortunately, none of us are special, and we should never feel so kingly that it won't happen to us.
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Mark Hall. I am open to help. The wisdom that I received will be past down to you. That same wisdom helped me find the place for me.