We at SportsForce would like to congratulate Ethan Widoff for his commitment to Southwestern University on a baseball scholarship.  Here is Ethan’s recruiting story and interview from after he committed.  We wish Ethan the best as a Pirate.

1.   Share your recruiting story and status (ex. what was the process like? when did you commit/sign?)

My recruiting story started somewhere around 18 years ago when I first fell in love with baseball.  My parents like to tell the story that my first word was “ball,” and that I could throw a baseball before I could even sit up.  Needless to say, it has been my dream to play collegiate baseball since I was a little kid, and I always kept pushing towards that goal. I first began visiting colleges casually as a freshman and attended my first college showcase my sophomore summer.  After my team and I won the State Championship that summer, I sent out an email with my athletic, academic, and philanthropic stats along with a skills video to nearly 100 college coaches and waited to see what kind of response I would get.  It was around this time that my family and I made the choice to join the SportsForce team based off of a recommendation from my high school coach, who has been coaching for over 40 years now, and our initial conversation with my future SportsForce advisor, Andrew Beinbrink.  Being the first child in the family, my parents and I had never dealt with any sort of recruiting since my parents were in high school, and so we knew that joining SportsForce was a necessary step to reaching my dream of playing collegiate baseball. At that point in time, I traveled around the country, participating in showcases at DI, DII, and DIII colleges, while visiting as many campuses that I could. I began to make initial connections with coaches that became very valuable down the road. After a strong spring season, I entered the summer heading into my senior year ready to find a home for the next four years.  Among other places, I headed to Sacramento, CA for the Head First Honor Roll Showcase, which was an incredible event that focused on getting strong student-athletes seen by as many equally strong academic schools as possible. While playing collegiate baseball was my dream, going to a strong academic school was my number one priority, and this showcase was a great event to find schools that fit the bill for my athletic and academic abilities. After this event and the end of my summer, I headed into the fall with my list narrowed to 5 schools- Macalester College, Washington University in St. Louis, Southwestern University, The College of Wooster, and Centre College. I was able to take official visits to all of these schools in just three weekends! I got very accustomed to long plane rides and little sleep.  At the end of the day, the official visits were a lot of fun, but I was ready to make a decision.  I think from the moment I stepped on campus, I did know what school was right for me, but I wanted to consider all of my options and make an educated decision.  I remember getting ready for bed one night about a week after all of my official visits, looking in the mirror, and thinking to myself, “You know where you want to go; Southwestern is going to be your home for the next four years.” I sat my parents down and told them that I had made my decision.  It certainly wasn’t easy because I truly did believe that all five of the schools that I saw would have been great fits, and even more importantly, the people at those schools all treated my family and me with more respect and kindness than I could ever ask for.  It was tough having to call the other four coaches and tell them that I wasn’t going to be going to their school, but I will never forget the phone call with Coach Thomas when I told him that I was going to verbally commit to Southwestern University.  I thank my parents, family, friends, coaches, and the entire SportsForce Team for helping me reach my dream.  Without them, there is no way I would be signing this coming Wednesday and realizing my childhood dream.

2.   What school are you going to, and why did you choose them?

I will be attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX.  In the end, I chose to be a Pirate because it felt like home.  I have always loved Texas, the country music, BBQ, and big trucks.  My parents both went to our rival school, Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, so I have spent a lot of time in Texas, and many of my parents’ best friends whom I have grown very close to still live there.  My grandparents, aunt, uncle, and two little cousins live in Austin, only about 20 minutes from my campus. But most importantly, everyone at SU, from my admissions counselor, Mara Weidmann, to Coach Thomas and the rest of his coaching staff, and all of the students on campus made me feel wanted when I was on campus.  I felt like I would have the opportunity to go there for four years and accomplish some great things on and off the field because of the support system that I had built there, and this, in the end, was why I chose SU.

3.   How did SportsForce help in the process?

SportsForce was instrumental in my recruiting process because my family had never dealt with something like this before, and so SportsForce was there every step of the way to guide us through the whole process.  From late night calls or text with my recruiting coach, Andrew Beinbrink, on when I should call coaches, what I should ask, and how to make my decision, to the team putting together my recruiting video, they were there for us every step of the way.  The recruiting process is an overwhelming, and even scary time, but SportsForce was always there to give me the confidence that I needed to eventually reach my childhood dream of playing at the college level.

4.   What advice would you give to other players and parents with the recruiting process (ex. start early, get a highlight video)?

I think the biggest thing is to be proactive in the entire process.  I have always believed that if you want something that badly, you have to work your tail end off so that you can go out there and take it. On the field, in the classroom, or in the recruiting world- it is no different.  Always call coaches back right away, introduce yourself to as many people as you can, and when you get the opportunity to show your skills, make the most of it.  But at the end of the day, don’t forget to have fun.  Being recruited is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me, and it only happens once, so I would tell any young kid to never take it for granted. Coaches love to see enthusiasm and character, so just be yourself, play as hard as you can, and leave it all out there.  If you are going to make mistakes- that’s ok, just make them by being too aggressive. Always attack, and never shy away from the pressure.  Have the time of your life, and at the end of the day, always believe that things will work out.  I promise you, they will.

5.   How excited are you for your future in college?

I can’t put into words how excited I am to get to SU next year.  I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to join such a great community, and I can’t wait to get to work there. My clothes, car decals, screensavers, etc. are all black and yellow right now… I can’t wait to be a Pirate and see all the great things we can accomplish there together.

6.    How much money do you anticipate your family saving in college expenses because of you being recruited?

Since Southwestern is DIII, they can’t offer any athletic scholarship, but at a minimum, I have been awarded $96,000 over the four years for academics.

7.   Would you recommend SportsForce to any other student-athletes? Why?Absolutely.  Anyone can tell you to go to a bunch of showcases and send out highlight videos, but what separates SportsForce from the rest is the people there.  They truly care about you the student-athlete.  As mentioned early, the recruiting process can be a difficult time, and there are going to be days where you feel lost and defeated.  The people at SportsForce understand what it is like, and understand how to turn the headaches into smiles.  Their dream is your dream, and they won’t stop working until that dream has been achieved.  I can’t thank the SportsForce team enough for helping me reach my dream, and I would advise any aspiring collegiate athlete to join to SportsForce team so that one day, their dream can become a reality too.

Over the last five years, SportsForce has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

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