High School Athletes Feel The Pressure To Sign With A School


By Ashley Thompson

Today is National Signing Day for high school football athletes across the nation. Students have to decide which college they want to represent for the next few years and with that often comes pressure.

National Signing Day has become somewhat of a spectacle. It's turned into a highly publicized event with athletes often using press conferences to pick a university. Along with the heightened exposure comes more pressure. Shaun Rupert, a Carver High School student who signed with the University of Missouri says he felt stress to sign with several different schools just hours before selecting one.

"When it came down to signing day, different coaches called, put a lot of pressure on you," he says. "They just try to make me feel like their school was the place for me."

Carver High School Football Coach Billy Gresham says coaches and recruiters are relentless when trying to persuade athletes to play for their school.

"Some people call those guys everyday and all times of the night," he tells us.

Gresham says the world of social media has put Signing Day at center stage.

"College coaches are checking twitter to make sure their guys are signing to their schools."

And schools wont stop at just using the internet to persuade signees. Carver High School's Harvey Harris, who signed on to play at Alabama A&M says he was surprised when he checked his mailbox one day this week.

"Oh, it's been a lot of stress," says Harris. "Hampton sent me like 20 letters like three days ago."

Harris says one of the hardest parts about choosing one university over another is losing touch with certain personnel.

"I'd build a connection with the coaches and then it's just all going to come to an end because you won't keep in contact with them anymore because you signed with another school," he explains.

Between sports analysts, coaches, recruiters, even friends and family - it seems like everyone has an opinion for where an athlete should end up. But TJ Presley, who signed with Alabama State University says he had to ignore some counsel and do what he felt was right.

"Some people told me I should get away, get out of the city but it's home to me. I really enjoy being here," he says.

All three of these recruits told Alabama News Network that their mothers and high school coaches were influential in helping them to choose a university to sign with.

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