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High school football players across the country are fighting to be seen on the recruiting trail during a pandemic that has taken away their chances to be seen by coaches across the country. The Sumter Item met with football players from Sumter, Lakewood and Crestwood who have had their recruiting process affected by the coronavirus pandemic to see how they've maneuvered through this process.
DESHAWN MCNIGHT - SUMTER SENIOR LINEBACKER
NOTEWORTHY OFFERS: Committed to Appalachian State
How has the pandemic affected your recruiting process?
To be honest, I feel like it hasn't affected me, but at the same time, I know it's affected others. For me, I'm good, I committed to App State, so it hasn't affected me too much in the whole recruiting process. For me, it's been smooth. I still stay in contact with coach (Justin) Watts, coach (Dale) Jones, (head) coach (Shawn) Clark. I still talk to them every day.
Does committing early in during the pandemic take some pressure off your shoulders in the midst of all these unknowns?
Yeah, it does. It really does.
If football season was moved to the spring, would you potentially accept one of your offers and enroll in college in the spring, skipping your senior season in the process?
Yeah, I'd be going. It was hard (to decide) but I sat and talked through it with my family, friends, coaches and they really helped a lot.
How much would it hurt to not get to play your senior season?
It really would. It would hurt, because as a senior, you don't want to just leave, you want to finish out with a bang with your teammates. It would definitely hurt.
JAYLEAL FULLER - LAKEWOOD SENIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN
NOTEWORTHY OFFERS: The Citadel, East Tennessee State University, Morgan State, University of Tennessee-Martin, Garner-Webb University
The biggest thing that's hurt me is not being able to go on campus. I've been getting recruited a lot and a lot of coaches have been offering me, but my biggest thing is going on campus and getting a nice little tour and see the school. If I'm going to make a decision to go to a college for the next four years, I have to at least take a tour. I feel like the same way we can go in and out of public places with a mask on with hand sanitizer, I feel like it's the same way as far as me going on a college visit.
What would missing out on football this fall do for your plans to play in college?
It'll hurt. Missing out on football this season would really really hurt, because football is something we can go to when we're down, we can go to when we have no one to go to. Football is something that all of us need. This last season is so important because a lot of coaches want to see what else I can do. That's why it's so important. It's not just about me or Lakewood, it's about everyone. Missing out on the last season would hurt bad.
It has crossed my mind. I've talked to a lot of my coaches and we've been discussing me committing a little bit sooner because we might not have a season. As far as the season going back to spring, I can commit around then, but I don't have to. If they're going to push the season back to spring, I can still hold off on making my decision, I don't have to make a decision February 5 or in December. It's not a mandatory date to make a decision, even though it's a big day for everybody.
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