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Insider

Saying Yes: When should a recruit pledge?

8/20/2013

Some colleges like to fill their classes early, while some wait until the end to add superstars.

While high schools aren’t about recruiting kids to their programs, the art of getting one of their stars to commit is as much a plan as is the team’s playbook.

Some, like Cleveland Glenville’s Ted Ginn Sr., want their kids to wait until the bitter end. Others like Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal coach Aaron Beck, prefer things to be done early.

Some, like Mentor (Ohio) coach Steve Trivisonno, prefer it early, but understand the importance of the decision.

Then there are those like Detroit Cass Tech’s Thomas Wilcher, who has had standouts commit at all points of the recruiting process.

For Glenville, it’s all about sticking to the plan. Ginn has ESPN 300 standouts Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith going through the recruiting ringer now.

Offensive guard Marcelys Jones is the albatross for the Tarblooders. He committed to Ohio State on Christmas.

But most at Glenville wait. Schools like Ohio State, which gets a good share of Ginn’s stars, know that and they all accept it.

“The kids need to experience it all,” Ginn said. “They need to take a look at everybody. A lot of the kids that commit early, no one is excited for them on signing day.

“By experience, I mean taking visits and seeing other schools. A lot of times kids commit early, someone else likes them later and it might be a place they really wanted to go to. We try to do the right thing for the program.”

By doing what is right, he means holding off on a commitment to help the young prospects in the program. The belief is if coach A comes out to see target B, he’ll notice recruit C, who happens to be a sophomore or junior.

For Beck, who has four committed pledges in this class, including ESPN 300 stars Daniel Gresham and Demetrius Knox, the time to commit has come and gone.

The seasoned coach wants his kids concentrating only on their high school team during the season.

“When kids start getting recruited as a sophomore, this process gets to be cumbersome,” Beck said. “Especially for a guy like Demetrius who, I think could have gone to any school he wanted to go to. Six months ago it was, ‘Coach I want to commit at the Army All-America game.' Then it was 'I want to commit and get this over with.’”

Trivisonno has had his share of stars in North Carolina signee Mitch Trubisky, UNC commit Brandon Fritts and Michigan standout Tom Strobel.

All committed early in the process, all are happy with their choices.

That said, even though Trivisonno has Fritts, Conner Krizancic and Kent Berger as pledged seniors this season, he sees both sides of the issue.

“If you’re the kid that has every choice he wants, he can wait,” Trivisonno said. “The kid that could lose the scholarship is the one you have to worry about. It depends where you are in the pecking order.

“I don’t mind it early because they don’t have to worry about it. They’re done and can move on. Now, you can focus on what you need to, but it depends on the kid.”

For Wilcher, it depends on the situation. He wants his stars to commit when the iron is hot.

But more importantly, he wants the parents involved. Wilcher will add his opinion, but only when it’s necessary and when it’s needed.

He’s had countless athletes commit to Michigan, but has seen his stars give pledges to some of the biggest universities in the nation.

Wilcher also wants his kids to do their homework. While 2015 quarterback Jayru Campbell committed to Michigan State a full two years before he could step on campus, the standout has visited the Spartans at least six times before he made his pledge.

“The plan is commit while there’s love,” Wilcher said. “The most important thing for me is to have the kid go on campus and have his parents involved.

“That way when they commit, it is firm and they stay committed and they understand what it means. I want the kid to be happy and understand. A lot of time kids can get caught up in big plans.”