Fall Signing Week '12: McCord Chooses the Aggies
by Keith Kropp, 16 November 2012
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Junior tennis players make choices all the time.
Electing to go for a big second serve, choosing when to lob or anticipating having to hit a backhand on a service return are choices made on the court. Others, those primarily considered off the court, might be selecting a doubles partner, altering practice routines or deciding what college to attend. Jana McCord
has made all those decisions. However, choosing the school where she would play her college tennis was one the San Diego resident wrestled with the most.
Many top juniors consider 10 or more schools during the recruiting process. McCord's list was a little shorter, but as she explored her options with more scrutiny the blue-chip recruit became convinced Texas A&M was the best fit.
"After I made my last official visit, this was the hardest decision I ever faced," McCord said. "I was really stressing about it. I visited Notre Dame and that was great. But I love Texas. ... I don't know why, but I do."
Her heartfelt feelings for Texas eventually persuaded McCord to come to College Station and continue her tennis career with the Aggies.
McCord, 17, has no family in Texas and has never lived there, but as a 9-year-old she played a Little Mo tournament in San Antonio and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The opportunity to join a program on the rise and at the same time benefit from the tutelage of Aggies coach Howard Joffe were other factors in her decision.
"From the beginning coach Joffe began recruiting me," McCord said. "He's really passionate, funny, motivated and wants to take A&M to the next level."
Joffe, a South African who played at Pepperdine in the 1990s, came to Texas A&M from Maryland and in his first year coaching the Aggies led the team to a 19-6 record and final ranking of No. 17 in the nation.
"A&M is on the rise with a good chance to be top five or top 10," McCord said. "It's cool to be a part of that."
McCord, once ranked No. 4 in USTA Girls 18 singles in Southern California and still in the top 10, is coming off an impressive performance earlier this summer at the USTA Girls 18s National Team Championships in Claremont, Calif.
The three-day event, which used the dual-match format used in college matches, attracted many top players from various sections across the nation. McCord was one of seven girls chosen to represent Southern California and captured three of her four singles matches.