Commitment day is a special day for athletes to celebrate with family and friends as they decide where they’ll be continuing their academic and athletic careers. Throughout the pandemic, these athletes persevered and were still recognized for their talent despite being shorted important contests and face time with potential coaches and teammates. Here are the standout athletes who committed for the fall of 2021.
Jonik Surprenant (Swim) – Johns Hopkins University (Division lll)
Matthew Salter (Golf) – York College (Division lll)
Brian Ayafor (Basketball) – Virginia Union College (Division ll)
Samuel Denu (Soccer) – Thiel College (Division lll)
Bennett Holomah (Football) – Lackawanna College (Division lll)
Mekhi Todman (Football) – Bridgewater College (Division lll)
Aurelius Bailey (Football) – Wagner College (Division l)
Carl Jackson (Soccer) – Hood College (Division lll)
Evan Deans (Lacrosse) – Stockton University (Division lll)
Dylan Cienfuegos (Lacrosse) – Catawba College (Division ll)
Aidan Brown (Lacrosse) – Moravian College (Division lll)
Mathieu Lopez (Baseball) – Erskine College (Division ll)
The main hurdle athletes had to overcome during this recruiting cycle was not being able to interact with coaches. Knowing the coaches and letting them watch you live plays a significant role in the recruiting process. Many athletes had to generate recruiting buzz for themselves. Senior Mathieu Lopez says, “It was a lot of sending film back and forth.”
Most athletes believe they did have a fair opportunity to showcase their talents outside of school, even with the pandemic. Senior Aidan Brown states, “I had an opportunity to showcase for a club team and the team made tournaments happen over the pandemic.”
The pandemic also gave athletes more time to practice and work on their game. Dylan Cienfuegos shares, “I had more time to practice and get into the right place mentally.”
Restrictions hurt a lot of sports, but not the non-contact sports. Matthew Salter says, “Golf courses were some of the only open [facilities] at the start of the pandemic.” Being able to practice all day in the same environment gave some athletes the time to perfect their skills.
While some athletes feel they had the opportunity to showcase their talent, others didn’t. Varsity Golf Coach Sam Silverman says, “The seniors lost their junior year, [which is] when most colleges do their recruiting.” On the other hand, Varsity Football Coach Deshawn Anderson feels, “With the enhancement of technology, social media, and computer software, it is a lot easier for coaches to evaluate athletes.”
All in all, this year has been different for all athletes. Some feel it was fair, some don’t. We should be proud of all of our Blake athletes and thank them for putting the time and effort in to represent us throughout their time here at Blake.