The Recruiting Coaches is introducing a new segment where we hear the recruiting stories of various athletes. We start with Donny Murray, a professional baseball player, telling a story that might sound familiar to a lot of you about being overlooked.
Seven years ago, a junior pitcher from a Massachusetts high school took the mound against a conference rival in an early season matchup. Pitching head to head against the opponent’s best arm, he made sure he brought his A-game that day. Waiting for his turn to take the mound, he noticed college coaches and MLB scouts lineup and ready their radar guns to evaluate the opposing pitcher. After a quick 3-up, 3-down top of the first, he was heading out there. His adrenaline was running with excitement to throw on the gun in front of these scouts. However, when he reached the mound, he noticed that those radar guns had returned back to their bags. This became a trend the rest of the afternoon as the guns came out for his opponent, then back into the bags they went for him.
After five innings, the scouts and coaches had seen all they needed, so they packed their guns one final time and left. Four innings after that, the high school junior unworthy of the radar gun stood in front of local reporters answering questions about his dominant performance in a 2-1 victory. During the interview, he even joked about the interesting radar gun behavior, saying “Their arms must have gotten tired of holding the guns whenever I took the mound.” A witty response in the moment, but after that day, the question still lingered in his mind – “Why am I being overlooked?”
This is a question that athletes on every level of sports ask themselves. They are left wondering – “Why are they not seeing my potential? Why is that guy getting opportunities instead of me? What do I have to do to get noticed?” As common as they questions are to wonder, the answers often come down to a player not having strong guidance and the right approach to recruiting. This is especially true for high school athletes trying to be noticed by colleges.
Fast forward my career seven years with nine Division 1 college scholarship offers, four collegiate seasons, two summers playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League, and two seasons of professional baseball later, I still look back at those high school days when I was overlooked. My junior year of high school was a confusing year for me baseball-wise. I did not understand what I was doing wrong that was causing college teams not to show interest in me. It turned out that it was not what I was doing wrong – It was what I wasn’t doing.
Near the end of my Junior spring season, my father and I began talking to as many people involved in high school and collegiate baseball as possible. We picked their brains about all the in’s and out’s of the recruiting process. Finally, we found a coach who had a wealth of knowledge and contacts in the college baseball world, and who wanted me to come play for his team in Florida. Before doing so, he advised me on how to craft an informative – but not annoying – email draft to send out to college coaches. After he helped me identify the various schools that he thought I could play at with my talent level, I began narrowing this list with schools that were an academic fit as well.
Dozens of emails later, I headed off to pitch down south for a couple of weeks at a few prominent tournaments before coming back home to attend a showcase and play in another local tournament. Most of the schools I emailed were able to see me pitch live, because I let them know where and when they could see me throw that summer. I went into that summer without a single offer from a collegiate program of any level. By the end of October, I had attended five official visits and received nine Division 1 scholarship offers.
My story is a testament to how crucial it is to have the proper guidance and coaching in the college recruiting process. If my family and I had not sought out the right help my junior year, I might not be starting my third professional season this spring.
My advice to families would be – Don’t delay the recruiting process. If college athletics is your goal, then go out and utilize every resource you can to make that happen.
Donny is a graduate of Holy Cross where he was an All-Patriot League Pitcher, and currently ranks third in strikeouts in the programs history. Donny currently pitches professionally for the Utica Unicorns and runs a company called ProsKnowBest, an innovative coaching service where professional players provide a personalized analysis package of your submitted video. You can learn more by clicking here.