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Recruiting 101
Spring Signing Week '16: How Much Should Team Rankings Matter?
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Rankings. They have kept you on edge throughout your junior tennis career. But if you are a senior looking at different colleges and their tennis programs, you are now on the other end. As you go through your list of candidate schools, you wonder to yourself how much the rankings of the teams you are considering really matter.

Long gone are the days when the California schools ruled the ITA college ranking system. It used to be that everyone wanted to go to Stanford or Southern California, while schools such as Texas Tech, LSU, and Oklahoma State were struggling to get the best players.

Times have certainly changed. While Stanford is still an excellent school with a great team, you'll find schools such as North Carolina and TCU at the top of the men's rankings - and Ohio State and Vanderbilt leading the women.

These teams haven't suddenly shot to the top. It is extremely competitive out there, and - especially in the last few years - we are seeing college teams in the Top 10 (and even Top 5) that couldn't even get on the list ten years ago.

Ten years is actually a key number, as it can take that long for a coach to build winning teams that start winning dual matches and make deep runs in the postseason.

Where does this leave an incoming recruit? With a lot of research to do. You don't just want to look at the current rankings of teams you are interested in joining, but you instead want to look at all the factors.

Here are some of the questions you need to take into consideration:

  • What has been the ranking of the team over the last five years?

  • Has there been a coach change?

  • Did a lot of freshman come in during this time?

  • How have new players affected the team?

Next, you want to take a look at who will be on your team if you choose to go to that school. This includes current players and recruits who have already signed.

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