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Is early enrollment in college for football recruits overrated?

I’m emptying out my notes from over the last month, and one of the most interesting things that I had forgotten to use was a quote from Warren Marshall, the father of UGA running back Keith Marshall.

He has another son named Marcus Marshall, who signed with Georgia Tech earlier this month.

I asked the father what advice did Keith give his younger brother about the recruiting process?

Georgia Tech RB signee Marcus Marshall (right) with his father and brother (left), UGA RB Keith Marshall (Special)

“The biggest thing I’ve heard Keith tell Marcus is basically not to enroll early in college,” Warren said. “Marcus graduated early and was going to enroll early in college. But Keith discouraged it even though it worked well for Keith. He got down to UGA early and obviously played the next season. But he just thought for Marcus it would be better to slow down and enjoy things for these last few months before he started college this summer.”

Keith’s advice, ironically, worked out very well for UGA’s archrival, Georgia Tech. Because if Marcus had stuck to his original plan of early enrolling, he would’ve been taking classes on a campus in January – rather than available to take his official visit on Jan. 23 to Tech – which led directly to him committing to the Yellow Jackets.

When I bump into former celebrity recruits from Atlanta who enrolled early and ask them to reflect on it, I seem to get mixed reactions. Some liked it, some hated it, and some say they liked it because they’re embarrassed that they really hated it.

Here are some pros on enrolling early: It’s an early start on getting away from home and eased into the college life. It’s an early start on academics, and takes a lot of pressure off you scholastically during your first football season. And it allows you to get a head start on competing for playing time.

Some of the negatives? You give up your last bit of freedom before the colleges basically own you for the next 4-5 years, including summers. Avoid football burnout. Have fun and enjoy being a high school kid while it lasts. Go to your senior prom and your senior trip, and play all those spring sports for your high school that you’re not as good at as football but have just as much fun doing. Be a kid while you still can.

UGA had seven early enrollees last month, while Georgia Tech welcomed four.

To me, I think enrolling early in college makes a lot of sense if you’re a recruit “completely bored” with high school and ready to move forward with the next stage of your life. Or if you have a clear-cut opportunity to start as a true freshman. Otherwise, I’d lean toward passing on it – well, unless my scholarship offer was dependent on me enrolling early.

What’s your opinion? Please post below.

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