The Bastrop football star and top national recruit will make the decision on where he will spend the next three to four years of his life. Today is National Signing Day, the day five-star recruits change the fortunes of college programs, or keep the program’s momentum at full steam. Randle’s decision will make some fans’ day and break many others’ hearts.
Many of those fans will watch in anticipation as Randle, as well as hundreds of other sought-after athletes, pick schools. Matt deGraauw will be among the many paying attention to what program Randle will join. Unlike most fans, though, deGraauw has his own recruiting decisions to make.
The Abbeville native and St. Thomas More product is looking into a college baseball and football career. His recruiting process has not received the attention of Randle’s. The process has not even gone the way some may have imagined after deGraauw’s junior season for the Cougars. The slow nature of things has not surprised deGraauw, though.
“I knew it would be slow football-wise,” deGraauw said. “I had broken my ankle”
DeGraauw suffered the injury early last football season and did not return until week seven. He did not receive a “normal” work load until week 10 against Acadiana.
“I know my injury kind of kept me back,” deGraauw explained.
The injury may have slowed deGraauw on the field and caused some larger schools to look other places, but it did not make deGraauw invisible to college coaches. DeGraauw has taken two official recruiting visits for football. One was to Louisiana Tech, a football program many consider on the rise under head coach Derek Dooley.
“I went up there last weekend,” deGraauw said. “I spoke to coach Dooley and they said they really like me. They started looking at me late in the season and he said they had given out all of their scholarships.
“Coach Dooley said we will stay in touch and see what happens.”
DeGraauw could walk on at Louisiana Tech. He can also sign with McNeese State, the other school where deGraauw made an official visit.
Cowboys coaches see deGraauw as a tight end. The spot would not be a complete move for deGraauw, who spent time as an H-back (a hybrid of the fullback and tight end spots) at STM.
“I would be up for the challenge,” deGraauw said.
The 6-2, 230-pound deGraauw played quarterback at times during his high-school career. His brother, Frank, was the quarterback for Vermilion Catholic when the Eagles won the Class 1A title in 2003. Has he given up on that spot at the next level?
“It has been a while since I played quarterback,” deGraauw said. “I think I could get back into that.”
McNeese offers an intriguing spot for deGraauw. Cowboys head football coach Matt Viator and his staff will allow deGraauw the opportunity to play baseball, too.
“I have a chance to sign with McNeese today,” deGraauw said. “They offered me both (sports).”
Baseball plays an important factor in what deGraauw will do. He has yet to receive a baseball-only offer. That could change if the Cougars’ third baseman/pitcher continues to put up stellar numbers. He hit .421, pounded 10 doubles, six homers and drove in 39 runs as a junior. He went 8-3 on the mound with a 2.91 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.
“Baseball is going to play into it,” deGraauw said. “But I am not ready to give up football, either.
“It’s going to be a tough decision.”
So, is that tough decision made today? McNeese coaches said they will wait on deGraauw as he ponders any potential baseball offers through the spring.
“The McNeese coaches told me it was fine,” deGraauw said. “They said I could always come back to football.
“They were real helpful. They want me to be comfortable with my decision.”
At the end of today, it appears that is the path deGraauw will take.
“I am pretty sure I am going to wait it out for baseball,” deGraauw said. “I have talked to my parents and we felt that is the thing to do because I am unsure.”
With that said, deGrauuw has enjoyed the experience the recruiting process has brought.
“It’s definitely an experience,” deGraauw said. “Going to camps and talking to big-time coaches, it’s definitely something to go through.”