What Do Upperclassmen Athletes Have to Say about College Recruiting?


Mason Kane

Now-senior Jadyn Renth battles for the ball during a game against Collinsville last season.

Lindsey Lankford, Staff Writer

If there’s one question that high school students, especially seniors, hate to hear, it’s “where are you going to college?”

For most students, choosing a college is a stressful decision based on the location of the college, the price of tuition, what majors are offered and the size of the school. 

For student athletes, a strong team, dedicated coaching staff and sufficient resources also play a large role in where they go. 

EHS is home to 28 sports teams. Though many senior athletes choose to end their athletic career in high school, others choose to pursue college athletics. 

Senior Nasim Cairo began communicating with coaches for Division 1 college football as early as his sophomore season.

Since then, he has received offers from many different schools. He is currently choosing among three D1 colleges, all of which have offered him full athletic scholarships: Indiana State, Southeast Missouri State University and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Cairo says that although the recruiting process is fun and exciting at times, it can also be stressful. 

“What my coach, coach Martin, told me was: talking to a recruiter is like talking to a girl that you don’t know [if] she likes you,” Cairo said. “You don’t know if they’re talking to you because they’re bored, then you don’t know if they want you [or if] they’re just playing with your feelings.”

Although he has not yet committed to a school, which he will be doing in the upcoming weeks, Cairo has learned valuable lessons about the recruiting process. His advice for aspiring college athletes is to remain focused in the classroom.

“They would rather take a lesser athlete that they know for sure that they wouldn’t have to bench because of their grades rather than taking a better athlete and their grades are worse,” Cairo said. 

Like Cairo, senior Jadyn Renth considered several schools before ultimately committing to play soccer at Northeastern State University, a Division II school, on Oct. 30.

“It was a very hard decision between other schools,” Renth said, “but in the end NSU felt like home.”

Renth was initially contacted by coach Chase after he saw her highlight video from the 2020 club soccer season. After going through several other people, coach Chase found Renth’s email and has been in contact with her since. 

Although Renth found a college and a team that worked for her, she wished she would have reached out to colleges sooner.

“Even when they can’t email you back, get your name out there,” she said.

Senior Ryan Watts’ story is similar to those of Cairo and Renth in the way that he had many schools trying to recruit him. He committed to run cross-country at Iowa State University in mid-November. 

This school was not his first choice, however.

“I thought I had my dream school picked out,” Watts said, “but after I went through a major injury, that school as well as many others completely dropped me.”

Unlike some of the other schools considering Watts, Iowa State University maintained the offer they gave him at the beginning of his senior cross-country season.

Though not his first choice, Iowa State remained a good option for Watts.

“I fell in love with the coaches’ plans and background of success,” Watts said. “And the opportunity to compete for a national championship year after year was something I couldn’t turn down.”

Watts could not see into the future to know that his plans for college would change, but he managed to recover and find a college that will work with him where he is.

“If you put in the work, the right people will find you,” Watts said. “And no matter how stressful the process is, you will almost always find your way home.”