The Stress of Being The Best: The recruiting process

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Numerous bags filled with recruiting letters were all addressed to the state’s top linebacker, Rashaan Evans. Each letter was a pitch, requesting Evans come play for their football program.

What started as letters eventually turned into emails, text messages, phone calls, and even in-home visits from some of college football’s most successful coaches.

“You really have to be prepared mentally, because it can overwhelm you,” Evans said.

Overwhelming is perhaps an understatement considering Rashaan has been getting looks since he was a freshman at Auburn High School.

“You can’t rush and can’t make a decision off emotion,” said Rashaan’s father, Alan. “You have to take everything into account when you help your son or daughter make a decision, because it can affect the next 30 or 40 years of their life.”

And Alan Evans knows that impact. He was an All-American running back who played for Auburn.

Now, more than 30 years later, he and his wife Chevanis were tasked with helping their son open the door to the next chapter of his life.

“It’s very stressful in terms of making the right decisions for him,” Chenavis said. “You want to please everybody, but the reality is you can’t.”

His decision wasn’t made until Wednesday, or National Signing Day. Evans committed to play football in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama.

Meanwhile, Keith Holcombe, another one of the state’s top linebackers, followed his heart as soon as he received the offer of a lifetime.

“It was always a dream of playing at Alabama,” Holcombe said.

That was before he entered his senior year at Hillcrest High School. However, in those months leading up to the day that he committed, he spent countless hours being recruited by several Division 1 programs.

“Out of seven days in a week, five solid days you are thinking about it, hearing from coaches,” Holcombe said.

At the end of the day, sometimes it’s easy to wonder if a recruit is a school’s top target. If not, then who will they be after tomorrow?

“They are selling their product. They are selling their school,” said Holcombe’s mother, Kendra.

Like Rashaan, Keith is fortunate to have a father who has been through the same process. Danny Holcombe was a center at Alabama under Paul “Bear” Bryant.

For Danny, making the “right” decision was what he wanted most for Keith.

“It’s a memory maker is what it is,” Danny said. “When you sit back and look back over the whole experience, you go, ‘I can’t believe we did that.’ But we did it because we had to. We wanted to put him in the best position to live out his dreams.”

Now it’s over and the letters of intent have been signed.

Fortunately for Rashaan and Keith, there is still some time left to enjoy being a normal teenager again.

“It’s been a long process, because I haven’t had a good month of just Rashaan and my family and doing the things I used to do before all of this got started,” Rashaan said. “I am really going to appreciate that more.”

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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