Robert Upshaw (Fresno, Calif./San Joaquin Memorial) is a very structured, systematic kind of guy. The 6-foot-11 center is locked into a pattern with his recruitment to the point that even his phone calls are becoming predictable.
It seems like once a month, my phone rings late at night, around 11 p.m. and Upshaw’s on the other end. He does an amazing job of keeping you in the loop regarding his recruitment. When the phone rings with his area code and it’s dark outside, I know he’s eliminated schools or there’s news to report.
This time, Upshaw updated us with his final four. Fresno State, Georgetown, Kansas State and Louisville made the cut. Following nine in-home visits, Upshaw knocked out five schools and true to his word, the next phase of his process are the official visits. By the way, he’s taking every one of them.
“There’s going to be a visit to every school,” Upshaw said. “They’re all going to be different, there is no order now. It won’t be like the last school has an advantage. I’ll sit down and go through my options when it’s over.”
Upshaw is a savvy, informed recruit intent on making one decision, one time. He has never wavered from his very structured and process-oriented plan. “For myself, I’ve set individual goals for the recruiting process,” Upshaw said. “I’m not going to be one of those guys who transfers and goes home. I know better, so I took it step by step. I went from 38 schools that offered me to nine schools and I narrowed it down to the ones I have now.”
When you see a recruit handling his situation with the maturity and planning Upshaw employs, it goes to show that this situation, no matter how challenging, can be managed. The neat thing about Upshaw is that all of the schools recruiting him know exactly where he stands. They can sleep at night knowing they won’t awake to a surprise pledge. They can plan accordingly, make their pitch and do so knowing the playing field, in terms of access and communication, is level.
The lone piece of uncertainty for big Robert is when he’ll decide. He’s left open the possibility of either signing early or late. Outside of the decision itself, early or late is the only aspect of his decision that is up in the air.
By the way, Upshaw’s great uncle was Gene Upshaw of NFL fame. He never met the man, but he knows his family lineage traces back to him. “My family is so big and spread out from here to Texas to Alabama,” Upshaw said. “I even think the kid (football player) Courtney Upshaw from Alabama, is a distant relative.”