The recruitment process differs from athlete to athlete. As an athlete or parent, it is important to seek advice for the recruitment process from those who have gone through it.
Kyler Murphy was a college athlete who just knew he was going to make it to the Majors. He was on track until an injury and a global pandemic sidelined him. However, he didn’t let that shatter his dreams of working in baseball. Murphy continues to work with young athletes and coaches as they pursue playing at the college level and beyond.
Murphy grew up in Peoria, Arizona in a sports-playing family. His older brother played baseball, his sister played softball and his younger brother is currently playing college baseball for the University of Arizona. Baseball is simply in his blood. Murphy was a standout high school catcher and left-handed hitter making him attractive to college scouts. He ultimately received 35 Division 1 offers and ended up choosing Seattle University – a small, private university in Seattle, Washington. For him it was the location in a city different from where he had grown up, the connection he made with the team’s coaches, the baseball scholarship that was offered to him, the university’s academic reputation and small class sizes, and the fact that he could be a starting player as a freshman that guided his decision.
“You have to do a gut check and make sure that you’re in the place that’s right for you,” Murphy says.
Seattle University was a great fit for Kyler. He made life-long relationships while he was there – including one with his future wife. After graduating in 2019 with a double degree in Forensic Science and Business Administration, Kyler signed with the Texas Rangers organization. He ultimately decided that Major League Baseball wasn’t for him, but he found another way to use his talents and passion for the game. Throughout his career, he has focused on making an impact and he extends that same advice to the athletes he mentors: “A coach can see talent all day long, but it’s more about who you are as a person. Always think about the kids in the stands and your character.”
Advice for student-athletes
Choosing where to go to college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life, Murphy says. His advice for the recruitment process and for athletes who want to play at the college level:
- Think about the finances and where you’ll get the most money and playtime. While the goal may be a Division 1 team, don’t rule out Division 2, 3 or junior colleges depending on your abilities, academic needs, and where you’ll get the most playing time.
- Go on as many college visits as you can and try to get a sense of the coaching staff and how you you’ll fit in with the team dynamic. Don’t try to make something work that doesn’t feel right no matter what the coaches may offer. Talk to others who have been there and see what their stories are.
- Don’t lose sight of academic success. Baseball is only part of the equation. The things you learn in the classroom will be there for you when you’re playing days are over.
Advice to Parents
Murphy’s advice for parents during the recruitment process:
- Don’t try to live through your kid. It ultimately puts more pressure on them to perform, which can be harmful. Support them but remember that you are not walking in their shoes.
- Educate yourself on all the different options and help guide your child, but don’t make decisions for them.
- Don’t communicate with coaches on behalf of your child. Let them learn to manage those relationships in high school so they’re prepared for going out on their own.
The recruitment process can be stressful and overwhelming, but it’s important to slow down and take in every moment: “There’s always a learning experience in everything you do.” Even if things don’t work out how you had planned, stay true to who you are. “Find your own success story and make it your own,” Murphy says.