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Freshman Grades in HS Now More Important for Recruits

Posted Wednesday, December 08, 2010 by ESPN Rise

Freshman year even more important for recruits

Starting your high school career off well can make a large impact on college coaches

Joel White (11) of Syracuse University turns the corner after stealing the ball from John Glynn (20) of Cornell University during the final seconds of regulation during the Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. Syracuse defeated Cornell 10-9 in overtime for the national title. Larry French/NCAA Photos (NCAA Photos via AP Images)
High school athletes can have more opportunities with better grades. Photo By: Larry French/NCAA Photos
RELATED LINKS:  2011 Boys Verbal Commitments 2011 Girls Verbal Commitments | 2012 Boys Verbal Commitments

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Why are freshman-year grades important in the recruiting process?

EDITORS NOTE: ESPN RISE editors release a new lacrosse story in the weekly series Recruiting Road every Tuesday. We feature coaches' and recruiters' answers to some of the most asked recruiting questions.

As athletes commit to college earlier – many committing before the start of their junior year – the amount of information college coaches have to evaluate decreases.

Because of the shortened window, freshman year grades have taken on a larger focus. It gives college coaches an idea of where that athlete will be academically once the admissions process begins.

A poor freshman year can affect what schools will recruit an athlete so it’s important to get off to a good start to keep your options open.

ESPN RISE: Why are freshman-year grades important in the recruiting process?

Lelan Rogers, Syracuse Recruiting Coordinator
“Typically high school kids don’t do well as freshman – it’s their trial year and they’re trying to wet their feet. But when you’re doing all this early recruiting you only have their freshman and sophomore year to go off of. I think you’re going to see a lot more kids make commitments verbally and then not get in [due to grades]."

Growing Pains
Lacrosse is growing rapidly in high school, according to a US Lacrosse report the sport has grown from more than 250,000 participants in 2001 to more than 560,000 in 2009.

In contrast,
according to LaxPower.com, NCAA Division I lacrosse has gone from 50 teams in 1981 to only 60 in 2010. The number of participants has grown from 1,600 to a modest 2,500. With more high school athletes vying for a Division I scholarship, the process has grown more competitive.

Charles Toomey, Loyola
“It’s important that they listen to their coaches. Get some exposure to these different schools earlier than your sophomore or junior year. We’re looking at PSAT’s. Those are becoming important years and important tests because it gives us an indication of where they’re going to be when they’re making their commitment [as juniors].

“The most important thing they can do is reach out to the coaches. A lot of times they’ll go online or talk to the admissions office. Maybe they get an overview of what the freshman class looks like based on applicants. We can always receive a phone call from a recruit and maybe we can spend a half-hour with them. Coaches will always take time to talk to an athlete about the admissions process.”

Next up: ESPN RISE will begin talking with Division III coaches about recruiting.

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