Student-athletes gain insight from college recruitment process

September 11, 2019 — by Sina Salehi

Senior Mohan Duvvuri is a star volleyball player, one who plays for both the school team and a club team.

He is also one of thousands of hopefuls who are hoping to play the sport at the next level in the fall of 2020. The next few months will reveal where he ends up.

“I was always kind of hoping, but I never really knew if I’d be good enough or not as it was always kind of a dream, but now it’s actually happening,” Duvvuri said. 

Although Division III colleges have reached out to him, he hopes to be recruited to a prestigious Division I school, such as UC San Diego or UC Irvine. 

The difference between Division I or Division III  schools is huge.

“As a Division I athlete it’s more of a time commitment into the sport,” said senior football player George Bian, a star wide receiver who finds himself looking mostly at Division III schools such as University of Chicago and MIT. “The awesome thing about Division III schools is that most schools only do two-hour practices a day, which is actually less than our high school.”

In the months ahead, a constant danger to recruitment is injury. 

For example, Duvvuri injured his ankle while playing basketball recreationally. “It’s not a bad injury or a big deal,” he said. “But if it happened while the coaches were watching me, they’d probably move on to the next recruit.”

With so many college hopefuls, it’s a challenge for many athletes to stand out and catch the attention of coaches in sports like volleyball and football. Many players send videos clips and reach out directly through emails and during tournaments and camps. However, the college recruitment process for cross country is much more straightforward. 

“For cross country it's really easy to get recruited because all you need is your time,” said senior Shivam Verma, who hadn’t realized he may have a chance at college recruitment until junior year, when he noticed he had competitive times to other top high school athletes. 

“I created a recruiting profile on a couple websites like Next College Student Athlete,” said Verma, who has been mainly reached out to by Division III schools. “I just have to put my time there, so coaches can see people with my time, and when they see my name, they just shoot me an email.”

Considering the difficulty of the process, some athletes ultimately ask whether it’s worth it. This is in part because another key factor athletes look at when deciding whether or not to attend certain schools is how they will manage to balance academics and athletics. 

Much of this can boil down to what career they wish to pursue after college and the amount of time that their sport demands from them.

“Realistically, I’m not pushing too hard to become a Div. I athlete; as a Division I athlete it’s more of a time commitment into the sport and football is more of a hobby for me,” said Bian, who hopes to study either economics or business in college. “I’d like to play football in college, but I don’t want to make it a huge part of my future.”