FROM THE BLEACHERS: Skipping his Senior Season to Play in College

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BY DR. JACK WELCH  

Last week, Jaydon Blue from Klein Cain High School, made the announcement on Twitter he is skipping his senior season to focus on academics and play for the University of Texas in 2022.  He helped the Hurricanes to an 8-3 season in 2020.  He rushed for 2,155 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Many people are questioning his decision.  Some want to know if the Texas coaching staff was involved in encouraging him to opt out of his senior season.  Others question how this will affect high school sports in the future.  Will this begin a new trend?

How will his teammates and coaches feel about him skipping his senior season?  There is no doubt this young man has a lot of talent, but would he have been a top recruit without his teammates and coaches?  Could he have showcased his talent without a good group of players around him?  How about the offensive line creating holes for him to run through?  How about his coaches designing plays allowing him to be an impactful player?

About twenty-five years ago, colleges started a trend of receiving commitments from high school players early in their high school career.  This trend totally changed how many division one colleges recruit high school players today.  After an early commitment, some players do not give the same effort their senior season because they do not want to risk losing their college offer if they should get hurt.

These trends hurt high school teams.  The dynamics of the team changes when star athletes do not give the same effort their senior season as before.  Coaches have a harder time in preparing for the season.  Will their star athlete be a prima donna, or will they continue to give the great effort as before?  Now, having a star athlete forego his senior season because he is opting out, presents coaches with more challenges. 

If a player chooses not to play his senior season so he will not get hurt, does this raise   questions for the University of Texas?  Will the Texas coaching staff support his decision and retain his commitment?  Does this question the University of Texas coaching staff loyalty to high school football?  Will Texas high school coaches support this new coaching staff in the future? 

If a prominent Texas high school program has some star athletes, will they encourage the football staff at Texas to recruit their players? If the Texas coaching staff supports this young man’s decision to opt out his senior season, will Texas high school coaches wonder if the Longhorn staff will talk to their athlete about opting out of their senior season also? 

Missing one or two top players on a team can have devastating results.  The believe that a team is not made up by one player is true, but one player can make the difference between a district and state championship.  Many high school coaches will be watching this situation as it unfolds. 

“Try to set standards that will make other people wish they were on your team.” 

-Ken Horne

 

Dr. Jack Welch is a college football coach.   He holds a Doctor of Education degree and has been a college and high school football coach for 39 years. He is author of the book titled Foundations of Coaching (2020). He can be reached at [email protected]. 

 

 

           

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