Some people say it’s too early, but today we’re going to look at 12 of the top volleyball recruits around for 2018. These are the people that volleyball fans and coaches are watching with a close eye, because these athletes are expected to make a huge splash in the competitive field whenever they hit the court. Because it’s hard to guess who’s going to be the best, this list is all about projections to give volleyball fans names to look out for.
But what makes you a top volleyball recruit?
There’s no one get known quick scheme that launches a player to the top of every recruiting list in the world. Some people might say you just gotta play a great game or that you gotta have great grades and a charming personality. Which is partially true, but you gotta do all these things and more to have a chance at joining top recruit lists like the one we’re looking at today.
So here are the things that you and other players can do, to get onto top recruiting lists.
Prove that you’re a hard worker
Volleyball at the college level isn’t easy. Not only are you playing the best of the best from across the entire country, but you’re competing against players who have dreams of hitting pro-level play or who want to hold on to their athletic scholarships. But not just that, you also have to balance your school work to make sure that you stay on top of your grades, because college athletics demand excellence from their players and aren’t going to look for slackers, because what you do off the court reflects on what you’ll do on the court.
So keep your grades up and train as often as you can so that your mind and body stay in fit shape.
Play Club Volleyball
Part of proving that you want to become great in volleyball is keeping your skills fresh all year round. That means that you can’t just wait for the school year to start up again before you get back to playing volleyball. Instead, try looking around for volleyball clubs that play in your area and sign up.
As a tip, make sure that the clubs have solid coaches and can give you the direct names of any college contacts that they deal with. You might even find a club in your area that talks with the top Division I or II colleges, but even if not, the experience of being a year round athlete will make you a better pick when recruiting time rolls around.
What about the Junior Olympics
Another thing to look out for when selecting a volleyball club is whether or not they participate in the Junior Olympics. If your club travels to qualifiers, then that puts you one huge step ahead of the competition, because recruiting coaches keep a close eye on the qualifiers to look for the next talent they want for their teams.
But don’t worry if your local club doesn’t participate in the qualifiers, you could try and make it to Volleyball Festivals or tournaments where you know college recruiters will go, like the Volleyball Festivals in Reno. Best part is, that if you have a good quality camera and a skilled cameraman to handle it, then you can get some great shots for your recruiting video if you play at these events.
Join a Camp
But if all else fails, then you can always try and hit one of the summer Volleyball camps that many universities offer. This gets you in a great position to ask questions to potential recruiting coaches who will be more likely to keep an eye out for you if you impress them.
12 of the Best Volleyball Recruits of 2018
There’s a lot of hot talent that’s been recruited for 2018, so this list isn’t an exhaustive one. While many articles like to guess on who’s definitely going to be the best this year, we want to look at some of the top incoming talent from some of the best universities around. Also, we’ll be looking at both men and women’s volleyball to give a broader look at this volleyballs top talent.
Defensive specialist Mia Ybarra has committed to the UTSA women’s volleyball team. This 5’4’’ back-row player was originally set to play for Louisiana-Monroe but switched. It’s possible that the switch was a response to a coaching change, but she has signed her Letter of Intent with the Roadrunners. She played for the Alamo Volleyball Association’s Alamo 18 Premier Team and played for Clark High School in San Antonio, Texas. She’s one to watch as she has an average of 5.4 digs per set as a senior according to her profile.
One player we’re keeping an eye on for the 2018 season is none other than Hannah Yaconis, who has committed to the Akron University Women’s volleyball program in the MAC. She’s a 6’ middle blocker from Batavia High School in Illinois. She played on the club circuit with Sports Performance VBC and the 18 Navy team. We suspect that Akron is looking to turn their team around after their 6-22 2017 season especially as she will help replace two graduating seniors.
Houston’s women’s indoor volleyball team stands to gain quite a lot from signing on Jordan Russell. As a native of Friendswood texas, this 6’2’’ middle blocker and outside hitter helped notch over 1,000 kills in her career with her best season being her junior year where she recorded 554 kills alone. She played with the Gulf Coast Volleyball Association and had originally committed to Rice University, but an injury delayed her final season of prep which led her to join a different university.
Abby Cheek is an interesting story that we’re going to keep an eye on. As this outside hitter helped the Seguin High School matadors to a 22-16 season in which they went 10-4 in district. They also made it to the quarterfinals in the 2017 UIL State Volleyball Championships. With her average of 3.87 kills per set and 1.76 digs per set, she looks to be doing the Austin Juniors club proud with her performance as she’ll be playing with the University of Arkansas.
Limestone College Men’s Volleyball is looking to field an amazing player in the 6’7’’ Igo who will join the team for offseason prep for the 2019 season. This player attended Sunrise Mountain High School and was set to serve as on February 27. He shows consistent numbers with 2.4 kills per set on a .358 mark which is similar to his sophomore numbers. He played for the Arizona Fear Volleyball Club’s 18 JB team.
Cal STate University-Northridge (CSUN) has recruited Ryan Damm to play for their program. This 6’3’’ setter/right side will start his career in the 2019 season. He played for Eaglecrest High School in La Jolla, California and boasts a 7’10’’ standing reach, an amazing 10’ block jump, and an incredible approach of inches higher than his block jump. He played for the Coast Volleyball Club’s 18-Elite team and benefits from having Tanner Syftestad as an assistant coach as Syftestad is recgnized as the nation’s leader in kills. So we expect great things from Damm.
One player that we’re excited to see more of is Lizzie Thompson who has committed to play for the University of Alabama-Birmingham Beach Volleyball program. As a 2018 recruit, she’s eligible to play for the team in 2019. We expect her to do Statesville High School proud, as she’s played for them after transferring from South Iredell. In Statesville she seems to have shined as she led the team with 466 digs and placed second on the team with 275 kills.
Unlike most of beach volleyball recruits, her experience is entirely club based as her school doesn’t have the sport, so it will be interesting to see what she has learned from the Beach South Volleyball Club and the Carolina Juniors.
One player that you won’t want to miss if you follow Men’s volleyball is Danny Sutton-Farrell. This middle blocker has committed to play for the University of Southern California’s program starting in the 2019 season. This athlete is currently viewed as one of the top middle blocker recruits in the country. His 8’9’’ standing reach and incredible 11’1’’ block jump has served him well when he played with the Rise Volleyball Club’s 18’s.
This 2018 recruit has committed to join the Long Beach State Men’s volleyball program for their 2019 season. Standing at 6’3’’, Bollinger plays outside hitter at Huntington Beach High School and for the Huntington Beach Volleyball Club. While with Huntington Beach, he’s played as outside hitter and opposite roles. It’s likely that he’ll remain with his position as the 49ers have three outside hitters already who stand at 6’3’’ or below, but he is seen as one of the top pin recruits. So we’re excited to see what this recruit does once he gets involved with his team.
What will be interesting to see is how Abby Jackson performs when she joins Missouri State in their early years with their recently opened Beach Volleyball program. We suspect that when she joins the team for their 2019 season after completing her prep career, she’ll perform admirably. Because her experience in both indoors and beach volleyball can’t be denied. She’s played with the 692 Beach Texas program that has already produced an immeasurable amount of other college commitments. With the 692, she has finished fifth at the 2017 USA Volleyball Junior Beach Tour Lewisville event for girls at the Level 4A Local 18U Sand ranking.
Jim Barnes, head coach for Tulane Volleyball, has announced the recruitment of Yvette Burcescu to their Green Wave’s 2018 recruiting class. Burcescu will be the fourth member of the volleyball program’s signing class, but that doesn’t mean she should be ignored. This player, hailing from New York where she attended Walter Panas High School, was a five-year volleyball letter winner ranking as her school’s leader in kills and is distinguished in earning First Team All-State honors the past three seasons. With the skills she learned with the Downstate Juniors, she’s been named Gatorade New York Volleyball Player of the Year for her 2016 season recording 663 kills, 125 service aces, and 103 blocks, also leading her team to its first state championship.
As Jim Barnes was quoted in saying, this highly decorated player “…will bring a strong work ethic to our gym. Big things coming from Yvette.”
We have one final shout out for Sheila Borders, who was recruited for Grambling State University as part of the class of 2018. Currently she’s a senior at Harker Heights High School in Texas who also plays for the the Texas Eclipse club. At 5’8’’, this setter could also be used as a defensive specialist, but boasts a surprising 9’5’’ approach and 9’3’’ block and has become a key player in her high school and for the 18 Black team with the Texas Eclipse. Team analysts suspect that she may be set up to replace Diemend Richardson, a senior setter for Grambling State who will be graduates when Borders comes in.
Keep Up to Date on Competitive Volleyball
The list above doesn’t come close to covering all the great players that will be joining the 2018 season. But such a list would be impossible to build, because between the divisions of play, there are thousands of great players that even our writers have trouble keeping up with. What makes it even tougher is that as coaches evaluate their incoming players and hard earned experience shifts the skill of the new talent, any potential list can change season to season. That’s why it’s a great idea to use all the sources you can to keep up to date on the competitive volleyball scene.
But where do you go?
There are a lot of websites that offer information on the latest news of volleyball. This can range from newspapers sports sections and the volleyball sections of sports magazine websites. But when you want to get the best source of information about volleyball, it’s a great idea to go directly to websites that specialize in volleyball as a news site or focus on a particular team.
Let’s look at two examples.
Prepvolleyball.com is a volleyball specialist website that updates constantly with news about volleyball. It offers statistics, information about recruiting commitments, team rankings, player and coach awards, and even has information about the top universities and clubs. Best of all is that the website has an active forum community, so you can interact with volleyball fans and enthusiasts just like you.
Now to get the most from the website you will need to sign up and that requires a subscription with a monthly fee as low as $1.66.
College Websites: Pittsburgh Panthers
Many university teams keep their donors, alumni, and students up to date on their recruits for their team, just like the Panthers did last year in November in this article. They do this to announce the young hopefuls that they’ve signed and to generate hype and excitement for the upcoming season. As you can guess, these websites focus entirely on their own teams.
But if you have your heart set on a particular set of university, it doesn’t hurt to read about their incoming players, especially since you might get to work with them when it’s your turn for recruitment.
In today’s age of Internet articles, Podcasts, and download content, it might seem silly to think about print magazines as a potential source of information. But many magazines have met the call of the modern age by introducing digital versions of magazines so you can get information faster than waiting for it to come in the mail.
Just like with online sources though, when you’re selecting a magazine to follow, you would do best by focusing on magazines that specialize in Volleyball. One of the best that we’ve found online is VolleyballUSA, which releases seasonal digital printings.
The benefit to these magazines is that they feature more timeless and evergreen content, such as tips on better passing or how to not be a sore loser or a rotten winner.
The Future of Collegiate Volleyball
There’s no real sure fire way to definitely say who will rock the charts and push their teams to greatness. Because every volleyball season is full of surprises with players who don’t quite meet their coaches expectations or diamonds that are discovered in the rough. But with the information and sources above, you stand a better chance of knowing who to look up to, what teams to watch out for, and making a name for yourself as a potential volleyball superstar.
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