First and foremost, I appreciate your kind words more than you know. I'm retired from coaching because of eyesight and other health issues, my Mrs. is posting this, in addition to other responses and my suggestions. She too is deeply appreciative of your remarks.
Feedback, like what you just posted, is one of the many benefits to a coaching career. As such, I'd like to pass on to you and your family some observations - being that I scouted later in my career, and came to appreciate the environment that young men like yourself will experience. Please do not take this in a negative way. On the other hand, knowledge is key to success in this sport... a sport for a selected few, become a way to make a living.
Ok. Here's what I'd like you and your family to consider.
- Good recruiting programs use their feedback systems of following and acquiring players, very sparingly with respect to money spent, who they get their information from, and potential agendas that are floating around out there beyond their knowledge of what's what. In other words, good recruiting programs work very closely with known production coaches that have supplied said colleges and universities in the past. This is not to say that a quality player outside this network of usual sources is overlooked, but many college and university programs rely on alumni, former players, boaster clubs, and so forth to feed them information relative to talent.
I've seen young men like yourself approached by people saying they represent this college or that college, and if they have a claim that can be validated - Ok. But remember, the college game is not like the pro's. The college game is dictated by strict rules and regulations of who can be approached, contacted, and so forth. If you're only a freshman, and someone tells you that they're interested in you - from a certain college or university, it's now time to look into the regulations of the governing body that this college or university belongs to - The NCAA, NAIA, and so on. In my profession, it is prohibited to approach a young man under a certain age, much less even suggest a position of potential interest. I'm not familiar with the college recruiting protocols, but I'm sure there's something similar to restrict abuse of approaching young men and doing such business.
Also, know who's your competition - talent wise. Subscribe to respected high school baseball magazine that highlights talent, good talent that has certain accomplishments. I use to spend a lot of money every year on every high school, 4 year and junior college, independent senior youth leagues, and so on. Those subscriptions saved me time and money, directing my efforts more productively and on a tight time frame. So, know who your competition is.
As you progress, be honest about your ability. If you're being told that your ERA is the best in the county... where you're pitching fluff and your outfielders are doing all the work catching pop flies in an open field with no fences... maybe the ERA stat isn't what it should be.
Keep your family in the loop. They're your best friends. They only want to see you succeed and your parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and so forth have lived through life... a road that you're about to travel.
I sincerely wish you the best, and please keep us posted on your experiences.