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The Only College Fencing Recruiting Thread You Need to Read


Replies to: The Only College Fencing Recruiting Thread You Need to Read

  • stencilsstencils Registered User Posts: 387 Member
    Welcome @SaberJR !

    I'm just back from a week of business travel, and have only a small bit to add to the excellent commentary above. My D was a half-step below sevendad's D in the recruiting pecking order, but the process was nearly identical.

    She had 5 or 6 coach interviews during SNs, many with coaches that she was meeting face to face for the first time. All were pre-arranged via email prior to arrival. This led to two D1 official visits, one unofficial visit, and two D3 coach/school visits the during senior year. I attended all of the meetings, but my D did 90%+ of the talking.

    Coaches were honest on where my D was in recruiting order during the meetings. One coach that we met with during SNs said my D was probably below the cutoff on their recruiting list contacted her again later in the fall as a couple of their higher level recruits made other decisions, so @SevenDad 's comment that "sometimes various dominos have to fall into place before the lower tiers of fencers get serious consideration" was definitely our experience as well.
  • SaberJRSaberJR Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you @helmut? @SpaceVoyager @SevenDad and @Stencils for the warm welcome and feedback. We have done some unofficial visits this spring to his top school choices and have talked with a few coaches. Thought maybe it was at the summer nationals when the more formal discussions start but sounds like we are doing the right things and will see where this all leads. I was able to look back at some of the post from a few of you last December and very helpful to see your timelines of when/how things fell into line. Sounds like it can all be a bit different for everyone and like several have said it also depends on what each school needs, what other fencers decide to do, and of course academics always a top requirement. Really appreciate this thread and all of your wisdom and guidance for those who have gone through this ahead of us!!!
  • CorralenoCorraleno Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    edited April 28
    I'm going to disagree a little bit about the number of top fencers who commit well before Nationals. My son was one of the top 3 recruits in his weapon/year, and of the top three, one committed before Nationals, my son committed at Nationals after meeting with multiple coaches (he had already made an unofficial visit to his first choice, but he wanted to compare offers), and the other did not commit until October of senior year, after taking official visits at his top three choices. At least one other kid who was in the top 10 for weapon/year was still talking to several colleges in August and ultimately committed to an Ivy in September (after the August SAT scores were released).

    I also know that one of the very highest recruits in any gender/weapon last year did not commit until Nationals (or even later), because I saw the student, with parent and personal coach in tow, in a very earnest meeting with several coaches from one of the top fencing programs. This student later committed to a different program.

    I think the early commits are more likely to be fencers for whom finances are not an issue. Those who need to take finances into account may be more likely to wait until Nationals, in order to meet with multiple coaches and compare offers. I think this is especially true when academic scholarships are also involved, since most kids are still taking SATs/ACTs in spring of Junior year. And in the case of the student I mentioned above who committed in September, his Ivy offer was contingent on hitting a certain score on the August SAT; if he had not gotten the score he needed, he would have moved on to his second choice school, and the coach would have moved on to his second choice recruit.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,371 Senior Member
    @Corraleno: FWIW, I did hedge my statement about this: "I think the SN-meeting process is really more for the fencers below the top tier"....I didn't say it was exclusively for the sub-top tier groups. I think you make a great point about the early-early commits likely being fencers for whom finances are not an issue.
  • helmut?helmut? Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    @Corraleno : no disagreement here. College recruiting experience, especially timing, will depend on the Year, college, coach, weapon, gender, fencer, in no particular order.

    You make an outstanding point about potential scholarship or financial aid as a critical factor in the timing for some.

    In addition, certain colleges, or at least their coaches, are not in a position to be able to make early commitments, even informal ones. This seems to be true, especially on the far West Coast.

  • chelsea465chelsea465 Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    edited April 29
    @SaberJR, we went through this last year as well. You definitely need to be pro-active. Yes, there are college coaches reaching out to club coaches, but you need to broadcast interest. I think DS was #3 or 4 in his graduating year. He didn't hear back from a single 'on-line recruiting form' submission and resorted to direct email around Winter Break.

    Re Maturity and independence, he usually showed me the emails before sending. I went to the meetings but let kid take the lead and only chimed in when I had legitimate questions.

    By Summer NAC it was a handshake and letting the other schools know so they could move on.

    FYI, Saber seems to be in demand. 'not sure why, but I hear about Ivies fighting over Saber recruits more than other weapons. 'could just be rumors though.
    Good Luck!

    Oh Gawd, it was already 2 years ago. Feels like yesterday
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,371 Senior Member
    edited April 30
    Recently, I received a few questions from a fellow parent that I think prospective families would appreciate seeing, along with my responses. I realize that there is some risk in me giving hard numbers (even a range) for recruitment opportunities, and I’m totally open to being shot down/corrected. I figured that at the very worst, we could have a constructive dialog about the topic. The questions were edited slightly for clarity.

    - How many fencers are recruited for given weapon/gender/graduating class?

    While I appreciate the desire for some hard numbers or even estimates, this is a very tough question to answer.

    Part of the challenge is defining what “recruited” means. The most definite sense of the word would be being offered an NLI or LL or one of the equivalents like the Stanford “pink envelope”. In these cases, assuming academic thresholds are met and no injuries or discipline problems arise, the prospect is a presumed admit. Then there is the system of “slots and tips” that I’ve heard about for some Div3 schools (for other sports), where a slot carries weight of an LL and a tip is a recommendation, but less sure. And then there are coaches letters of support, which seem to vary on a program by program basis in terms of the degree of influence it has on admissions.

    But since I know that people want numbers, not my equivocating, given that there are 40+ NCAA fencing teams across all three divisions (I, II, and III) and the assumption that not all weapons/genders will have an LL or slot in every year, I think it’s safe to say that there are 15-25 available roster positions per weapon/gender in a given year that get some degree of coach support.

    This number is going to ebb and flow from year to year as needs change for various schools. I kept pretty good track of the Class of 2022 WE and those numbers seem to match up with what I see on rosters. Again, I am making some assumptions on just how much support various people received.

    - Is it possible to get recruited without being on the Junior National Rolling Points list?

    Again, I think a lot is going to depend on how you define “recruited”. If we rephrase the question to “Is it possible to make an NCAA fencing team without being on the Junior National Rolling points list?” the answer is a definite “Yes”. In the group of fencers I am most familiar with, I count at least 6 people who were not the points list — including one who saw significant strip time for an Ivy. I don’t know how many were walk-ons vs. recipients of LLs/LL-equivalents (or something in-between).

    Obviously, being on the points list (and the higher, the better) helps make a case to college coaches that you’d be a good addition to their squad. But keep in mind that you are only competing against your own graduating class, so you can be in the high 30/low 40s on the NRPS and still be within the top 10 of a graduating class.

    Another possibility are international fencers who don’t fence in USFA competitions. This past year, Northwestern had a freshman WE from Poland who was ranked #12 on the FIE Junior points list, but was not on the US points list. She’s an excellent fencer, and qualified for the NCAA Championships.
  • BrooklynRyeBrooklynRye Registered User Posts: 675 Member
    For those looking at recruitment specifically matriculating in Fall 2019 (Class of 2023), an interesting wrinkle to consider unique to this recruiting year -- There are several top fencers at the most competitive programs that will take a gap year to compete for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. This may leave top teams short in certain gender/weapons. By my count there are at least 3 top epeeists, 2 top foilists, and a couple of sabreists, at a minimum, who will take off the 2019-2020 NCAA season. Research these as you head into Columbus for final coach recruiting meetings. You may have more leverage than you think.
  • BrooklynRyeBrooklynRye Registered User Posts: 675 Member
    Correction: Looking at matriculation in Fall 2020 (Class of 2024). The reason this occurred to me was due to the uncertainty of actual returning fencers.
  • RRRtexRRRtex Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    @BrooklynRye If they’re taking the 19-20 year off, wouldn’t this benefit those looking for entrance in this coming year, not 20-21?
  • BrooklynRyeBrooklynRye Registered User Posts: 675 Member
    Yup. My bad. Losing track of recruiting time. The only potential value lies in fencers who opt not to return to Ncaa fencing in 2020-2021.
  • helmut?helmut? Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    The other potential impact would be that a small number of extremely strong college fencers will graduate one or two years after their original class. This could have an impact on recruiting classes after the Olympic qualifying year.
  • BrooklynRyeBrooklynRye Registered User Posts: 675 Member
    Good point @helmut? There are always questions about returning fencers as well. Some are already disenchanted with undergrad and/or with NCAA fencing. Others will view either missing or making 2020 as a sign they should devote full time to making 2024. All kinds of permutations, but I am willing to bet that not all of those taking off from college to compete for 2020 will return to college.
  • BrooklynRyeBrooklynRye Registered User Posts: 675 Member
    edited May 15
    For those of us who follow Ancient Epee's annual "Unverifiable Rumors and Dubious Gossip" data relating to collegiate acceptances at NCAA fencing program schools, it is heartening to see a wealth of team slots, clearly not limited to A-rated fencers. First, however, some important caveats: (i) Not all listed fencers are official recruits. Some may just be reporting admission. There is also no guarantee that each fencer will be an active combatant, let alone a starter; (ii) Assessing international fencer rankings can be difficult, so leaving these to the side, (iii) the list is not etched in stone or necessarily exhaustive. Not everyone reports, people change their mind, etc., and (iv) for the most part we are not talking about the most competitive programs. With few exceptions, sub-A rated fencers fell outside of the Ivy and most competitive Big Box schools.

    With this said, upwards of 1/3 of fencers reporting school commitments have a rating of "B" or less. This includes a healthy amount of "C" rated fencers and even a few Unrated ones. Notably, there are at least 3 sub-A's reporting admission to Ivies, including 2 to Brown and 1 to Yale. There is even a sub-A at Notre Dame!

    It will be interesting, come the fall when teams announce their official 2019-2020 rosters (with some ID'ing official recruits), to revisit this rough data.
  • ShanFerg3ShanFerg3 Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    edited May 21
    Typically fencers added to Ancient Epee’s list this late got in RD, and without being recruits. This list shows where this class of fencers are attending school. Not all were recruited or intend to fence in college.
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