Fall Signing Week '12: Blue Chip Update
by Julie Wrege, 12 November 2012
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At long last the Countdown is over, and Signing Week has arrived. This Wednesday, November 14th, is Signing Day: the first day that high school seniors can formally commit to a Division I or Division II tennis program. We have been counting down the days for the past month, but now we switch to our Signing Week coverage.
In this first article, we take a look at our schedule for the week, and we also update you on the status of the Blue Chips.
Signing Week Schedule
All week, TennisRecruiting.net will bring you new features on the seniors. These articles will run in addition to our usual content - the Class Rankings List and RPI rankings that we publish from Tuesday through Friday.
Take a look at our coverage schedule - and then get up-to-date on the Blue Chips...
Blue Chip Update
Quite a few of our Blue Chips recruits - boys and girls - had made progress towards their college decisions when we checked in with them in October. Seventeen of 31 Blue Chip boys and nine of 27 Blue Chip girls had made commitments.
We have been trying to contact the undecideds in the meantime, and today we take one last look at their status before the big day on Wednesday. Several recruits have narrowed their lists, some are thinking seriously about deferring college for a year or turning professional, and a few more have made verbal commitments. Let's take a look at the lists...
The table below shows the updated status of the Blue Chip recruits. The Commitment column shows whether the recruit has made a verbal commitment or is undecided, while the Interests column indicates schools of interest.
Summary of Changes
The Blue Chip commitment count has increased by two - from nine to eleven. Harvard head coach Traci Green got a verbal commitment from Spencer Liang (Potomac, Md.), while Alyssa Smith, the No. 1 recruit from the state of California, committed to head cross country to the Duke Blue Devils.
Spencer Liang has been a fixture at the top of junior tennis, going deep into the draws of major tournaments. Next year Liang will attend college at the grand-daddy of them all - Harvard University.
"Harvard is one of the finest institutions in the world, and I believe that was the most enticing factor for me," said Liang. "Being able to say that I'm going to such a prestigious school holds so much weight and respect in other peoples' eyes. It also makes me feel very proud of myself to know that I have accomplished so much and have such an amazing opportunity."
It doesn't hurt to have connections.
"Some of my closest friends are on the team already, and more are coming with me next year. The team is very close, and I really feel like it's a family away from home. The location was another aspect because it is close to my mother's side of the family."
Liang is also looking forward to having teammates.
"I am really looking forward to playing on a team rather than playing individually. It's nice to know that you have constant support from the girls and coaches. And in general, I believe that the intercollegiate-style will be more fun! One is no longer playing for only oneself, but for a whole team. Teammates can support one another, but push one another at the same time."
Devil in the Details
Alyssa Smith is another recruit who has been a permanent resident of the Top 10 in our rankings. When Smith committed to Duke, she had no reservations.
"I love everything about Duke - the campus, the athletic facility, and Durham," said the 17-year-old Smith. "It was important for me to have a school that could challenge me both academically and athletically. I really feel like Duke is a place where they really want you to excel at both.
"I went on an unofficial visit in April, where I had the opportunity to watch the team and coaches in action at the ACC tournament. I was very impressed with how [Head Coach Jamie Ashworth] and [Coach Marc Spicijaric] coached, and I saw their intensity and enthusiasm during the tournament."
Smith liked atmosphere ad openness she found with the coaches and the team.
"The girls on the team were also extremely welcoming. From the very beginning, they were super-friendly and honest with what they thought of the program and the school. What I really liked about it too was that they were very honest about what a normal day would be like. They were upfront with how they do things - really putting an emphasis on making sure I was well informed and didn't have any misleading information.
"When I went back later on my official visit, it felt like home. I couldn't see myself going anywhere else."
As with any recruiting process, there were times when Smith was nervous. But as is often the case, everything worked out for the best.
"I knew there was only one spot for my year, so naturally I was a little stressed before the visit. I was beyond thrilled when Jamie offered me the scholarship. I couldn't be happier with my decision and am so excited to be a part of the Duke family. Its also exciting that I'm not the lone SoCal player going, as Tj [Pura] is also going next fall to play on the men's team."
Announcements Start Wednesday
We have five significant commitments lined up for later this week. It all starts this Wednesday, Signing Day, when Top-10 recruits Jamie Loeb and Taylor Davidson make their announcements. Later in the week we will hear from top recruits Mia King, Jana McCord, and Alanna Wolff.
Below we see the status for the Blue Chip boys. The table uses the same format as the girls' table above.
Nineteen and Counting
When it comes to the Blue Chips, two more boys are off the board. Top recruit Hayes Brewer of Marietta, Ga., is heading west across the state border to play for Head Coach George Husack at Alabama, and we carried the commitment announcement for Thai Kwiatkowski Last week - when the phenom announced for Virginia.
Just this year, the University of Alabama opened a beautiful new indoor tennis complex - the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Indoor Tennis Facility. The facility impressed Hayes Brewer, the Tide's latest recruit.
"One of the things about Alabama that I loved were all of their new facilities," said Brewer. "They have so many great resources for their student-athletes."
Brewer is also impressed with Head Coach George Husack and Coach Ryler DeHeart.
"I have never seen two coaches as passionate about the sport as George and Ryler. I'm looking forward to continuing my tennis career at Alabama, and I am certain these coaches - along with the team surrounding them - will do big things."
More Announcements Coming
When the week is done, the number of committed Blue Chip boys will rise to at least 24. George Goldhoff, the No. 3 ranked recruit on the Athletic DNA Class Rankings List, starts things off on Siging Day. Goldhoff will announce his choice from among a number of top programs.
Later in the week we will hear from Blue Chip seniors Luca Corinteli, Maxx Lipman, Elliott Orkin, and Konrad Zieba.
Signing Week is just getting started, and we have two more articles for you today. Come by at 1:30pm Eastern / 10:30am Pacific for analysis by Scholarship For Athletes on where top recruits typically play in the lineup at top colleges. Later on at 6pm Eastern / 3pm Pacific, Marcia Frost profiles the strong UCLA recruiting class.
And make sure to come by the website all week for much more. Tomorrow we feature recruits from around the country in our national roundup - leading up to the big day on Wednesday. TennisRecruiting.net gives you a courtside seat to all the Signing Week action!
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