All it takes is one
The first offer came April 16 from Georgia State, according to Mays’ Twitter account. He announced Mercer followed on May 13, then Kennesaw State on May 21. After going to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a camp, Mays posted Wake Forest had offered June 7. He announced the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) offered two days later. Mays then said he visited Cincinnati two days after that for another camp and received a Bearcats offer.
“Most kids go to clinics and combines to get recognized,” Land said. “They’re going for exposure. The thing about a Nate Mays or Watts Dantzler is they’re going because they’re being invited by the schools.”
The invitations are much like a job interview. If an invitee shines in front of the coaches against the rest of the field, a scholarship offer can be quick to follow.
“What I’m told by most D-I coaches is they won’t offer a kid unless they are on their campus at their clinic,” Land said. “If they can’t get their hands on a kid and watch them run and jump and play, they won’t offer him.”
“The reason these college coaches want these kids on their campus is everybody has a combine and the combines are really losing their luster. They’re finding the combines aren’t being run by reputable people.”
Once the first D-I offer came, others followed. After one major program gives the green light, Land said, others are OK doing the same.
“Some of these schools don’t need to see the kid,” Land said. “They know these other schools are seeing him. When a Jacksonville State offers, a Middle Tennessee State or Eastern Kentucky will offer.
“That’s why the most important offer you get is the first offer. Once you get the first one, the others come in.”
It’s been a busy summer for Mays, who said he isn’t at all intimidated by the process or importance of the decision.
“This is what I love doing and basically this is my career,” he said, “so I’m not losing any summer.
“Traveling isn’t really a problem. It’s fun to go out and see all of these places.”
Luckily, he has a coaching staff willing to help along the way.
“Part of my job, as a head coach, is to help him find those systems that helps him the best,” Land said, noting he doesn’t want players spending every day during the summer going to camps. Land noted the body only can take so much and could break down from all the drills, which doesn’t help anyone.
“I think that’s the key for a coach — to navigate the waters for them.”