The recruiting process in college baseball, specifically at the Division I level, is unlike any other sport. While we’re able to sign student-athletes to a letter of intent to attend our institution, the possibility exists that student-athletes may be drafted by a Major League Baseball team and elect to sign a professional contract. In the past, this has left colleges and universities scrambling during the summer months to find players to replace departed individuals.
From my perspective, the recruiting process is one of the most interesting and exciting parts of coaching at a university. This is the time that each program gets a chance to evaluate a prospect’s talents and get a sense of his makeup as a person. At Santa Clara , we look for well-rounded baseball players.
While it is paramount that we find individuals with exceptional baseball talent, we also look for students that have excelled in the classroom. Our philosophy is that if one shows the discipline to expand the necessary time and commitment on his school work, he is more likely to show a similar commitment to his development as a baseball player.
My favorite players are the “late bloomer” recruits, or players that may join our team with little fanfare and end up making a name for themselves. While much attention is given to summer showcases, travel ball teams and the like, the truth is that we all miss on players that end up becoming successful ballplayers.
Walk-ons are the lifeblood of any program, and our program is no different. We will have several players that will play significant roles with our club this year that began their careers as walk-on players in our program.
At Santa Clara, we talk with our players on a regular basis about “controlling the controllables.” This can be applied to many different aspects of the game, but in my mind it is critical to the academic responsibilities of ball players and the work ethic that they demonstrate daily. As students and as athletes, it may not be possible to control which school gives us the opportunity to play ball. We can, however, make an effort to work hard in the classroom so that the academic component enhances the ability to play this great game.</p>