• Cypress Bay High School - Weston, FL
  • November 30, 2020
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BY SKYLER PRIETO

The college recruiting process has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as college scouts have been unable to watch athletes play in person. With the recruitment process currently lacking the in-person element, student-athletes are finding alternate methods for catching the eyes of college recruiters.  Athletes have to rely on previous years’ game film to showcase their skills as seasons remain canceled. Hayden Giles, quarterback of the Bay’s football team said he’s been unable to attend in-person events to execute his skills on the field.

“I am being looked at by many different schools and have one offer so far, but I haven’t committed,” Giles said. “I would’ve loved to be at all these camps and combines to show what kind of talent I have to these coaches and recruits.”

Giles said he has been in contact with college coaches during quarantine through emails and zoom meetings. Since it is his senior year, he said he hopes to be able to have a season and prove what talent he has on the field to further his recruiting process and make it to the next level. Although Giles said he wants to have a season, he is cognizant of the safety requirements that must be met before this can happen.

“As much as I want to be out on the field every day and playing on Friday nights, we need to be careful and stay healthy before getting back to that,” Giles said. “We will definitely be back out there as soon as possible.”

Marcella Proenca, the Bay’s varsity volleyball libero, has been utilizing Youtube as a platform to upload her highlight videos. However, COVID-19 restrictions have hindered her ability to gather new films to upload. 

“I have always used Youtube as my highlight videos platform,” Proenca said. “I believe it’s the easiest way of getting people to see it and also to share it with someone.”

Proenca said the pandemic stripped college seniors of their final season so the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is allowing senior student-athletes to have an extra year of eligibility which could minimize the number of spots on teams for the incoming college freshman. She said colleges also now have less money for athletic scholarships; therefore, student-athletes are having to consider more schools in hopes of furthering their careers. 

“The NCAA is allowing seniors to do one more year as a student-athlete,” Proenca said. “So the spots for our class have been limited and this particularly has been a tough adjustment I have had to make, having to pick way more schools that I would consider going to and if they had my major.” 

The Bay’s varsity volleyball outside hitter Cecilia Robert said she committed to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida in early September. She said the commitment process was more challenging due to the pandemic.

“My experience committing was very challenging because due to the pandemic, all club tournaments were canceled and the recruiting process was affected,” Robert said. “[I committed to Eckerd because] I loved the volleyball program and how it’s on the beach.”

During her time being recruited during COVID, Robert’s said college coaches that showed an interest in her were unable to come to her tournaments due to them all being canceled. She said delays in the recruiting timeline were challenging. 

“The delay in the recruiting timeline affected me because it made it more difficult to obtain visibility in the schools that I was interested in,” Robert said. “This meant that college coaches that were coming to watch me play and were interested in me couldn’t make it.”

Melissa Boorom, the guidance counselor for the Bay’s athletes, said she advises student-athletes to stay on top of things and check college websites for recruiting forms, fill them out, and attach film. 

Two things [I suggest during the recruiting process are] one, grades, keep up your grades as you are way more marketable the better your grades are, fix anything that needs to be fixed early on,” Boorom said. “Two, go for it!  Although being a college athlete is the toughest thing you will do it is also the best.” 

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