Question: Is it too late for me if I didn't commit by the start of my junior year? (I am in my junior year, and I've just started my college search.)
Answer: Early Commitments Absolutely not! While highly visible players on well-known travel teams who are identified as top prospects for the bigger name Div. I schools may commit as juniors*, here's a little known fact. In any given graduating class (for example the 2015 class), only about 10-15% of those players who will eventually be recruited/select a college team will make their decisions before spring of their junior year.
You may hear about the high profile commitments, but in truth, since 75% of all college teams (and therefore all college players) are at D-II, D-III and NAIA schools, it's very important to remember that many, if not most, of these coaches don't start actively recruiting players before the players are well into their junior year. And quite a few colleges won't make decisions on players until the players are seniors.
If you expect or hope to play at a Top 25 D-I school, you do need to get on their radar early---e.g., start your college search by your sophomore year. However, one of the more glaring examples of the "it's not fair!" rule of recruiting is that not all players mature physically or experientially at the same rate. And getting noticed by a big D-I school as a freshman or sophomore can be very difficult.
If you love the game and truly want to play in college, you will find a team...when it's right for you. Do the work, be patient, look at all types of colleges, and be proactive! Some coach will be lucky to get you!
** There are younger players---8th, 9th, 10th graders---who committed to Div. I college teams prior to the implementation of the new NCAA Div. I recruiting guidelines. (April 2018) However, within a few years, the overwhelming majority of athletes won't choose a college before their junior---and in many cases, their senior---year!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RECRUITING www.fastpitchrecruiting.com