Recruiting Trends in the High School Class of 2023

We are seeing a very different early recruiting fall this year for the class of 2023. Having noted the trends over the last eight recruiting cycles, it would appear that high school juniors are taking considerably more time to make their verbal commitments.

There has not been a level playing field during the past five years, which makes apples-to-apples comparisons a bit tricky. In April 2018, the NCAA gave student-athletes 11 more months to take official visits, moving the start date to September 1 of the prospect’s junior year from the first day of classes senior year, where it had been previously. The following April, the NCAA changed the recruiting calendar again. Effective May 1, 2019, prospective student-athletes could begin taking official visits on August 1 after sophomore year.

At SwimSwam, we noticed increased activity in junior year verbal commitments beginning in the fall of 2018. Emily Weiss had announced her verbal commitment to Indiana on July 1, 2017, but she was an anomaly. By December 31, 2017, only nine swimmers had announced their plans for fall 2019. A year later, we had written up 39 verbal commitments from high school juniors in the class of 2020.

By December 31, 2019, that number had jumped to 119 verbal commitments, as juniors took full advantage of the new NCAA official visit rules.

Three months later, college campuses shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA banned in-person visits between coaches and prospects –either official or unofficial– from March 13, 2020 until June 1, 2021. During that stretch, all college recruiting activities were limited to calls, texts, Skypes, Zooms and other remote technologies.

By the fall of 2020, when U.S. college campuses had been shut down for six months and with no end in sight, juniors began to make college decisions. As of December 31, 2020, we had written up 182 verbal commitments from the high school class of 2022.

  • December 31, 2017 – 9 verbal commitments for fall 2019
  • December 31, 2018 – 39 verbal commitments for fall 2020
  • December 31, 2019 – 119 verbal commitments for fall 2021
  • December 31, 2020 – 182 verbal commitments for fall 2022

At this time last year, we had 65 verbal commitments from the junior class. As of today, we have 37 verbals for the high school class of 2023. We believe that now that they CAN see college campuses again, juniors are putting off making their decisions until they have taken their official visits. Auburn and Kentucky have been the quickest out of the gate, earning six and five verbal commitments, respectively for fall 2027. New Auburn head coach Ryan Wochomurka, who had a lot of success at Houston with the women’s team, has brought in five commitments for the women’s team and one for the men’s. The Kentucky women’s team, building off their 2021 SEC title, have already scored five early verbals. For comparison, at this time last year, Florida had seven early verbals while both NC State and Virginia had six.

Class of 2023 Verbal Commitments as of 10/8/21

Team Combined M/W
Auburn 6
Kentucky 5
Alabama 3
Tennessee 3
Florida 2
Indiana 2
Michigan 2
Texas A&M 2
Army West Point 1
Duke 1
Florida State 1
Gardner-Webb 1
Iowa 1
Louisville 1
Missouri 1
NC State 1
Notre Dame 1
Ohio State 1
Texas 1

Another trend we notice this year is that we haven’t heard much from the top-20 recruits from our Way Too Early list of boys and our Way Too Early list of girls. However, it would seem that of the 37 verbals we know about so far, the top-ranked boys have been as active as the girls. Normally, we see a flurry of activity early on from the girls, while the boys are slower to commit. For example, at this time last year, nearly all of the top-20 girls (numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20) and three of the top-20 boys (number 14, 16, 17) had committed. This year, we have only had two top-20 girls (numbers 12 and 17) and two top-20 boys (numbers 7 and 15 announce their college intentions.

High School Class of 2023 Verbal Commitments

High School Class of 2022 Verbal Commitments


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Diver-Swimmer Mom
11 months ago

I have a top 2023 diver being recruited by top diving schools in the Power 5. Numerous coaches reached out starting 6/15 and offered Officials, so no issues there. For what it’s worth, here are my observations: We are finding that at the Power 5 schools, a large majority of the diving athletes offered that extra Covid year are now taking it. Perhaps the extra Covid year caught some of the earlier athletes off guard (2020 and 2021 projected college grads) who were further along in their academics, since they may already had plans for grad school, etc.; but the higher end athletes at least that were freshman and sophomores in college when Covid hit tend to be planning to… Read more »

1 year ago

Sounds like Kentucky will have plenty of open spots because they had five freshman women quit the team already.

Reply to  PASwimDad
1 year ago

where did you hear this from?

1 year ago

War Eagle!

Reply to  WEA
1 year ago

Also, Avery Henke is a male. That should probably be adjusted on the Excel sheet.

1 year ago

Are swimmers putting off making commitments or are colleges delaying offering spots? The class of 2023 seems notably slower especially when looking at #75-250 range….Wonder if colleges will offer the typical number of spots when there are swimmers with an extra year (or two) of eligibility ? Fall trips did have a number of 2022 committed swimmers who never received an official visit.

Reply to  Swimmerfan
1 year ago

Almost all of the commitments are instate too

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  Swimmerfan
1 year ago

The class of 2023 recruiting season also began a little bit later because I think NCAA put restrictions on early recruiting for that class and below, I believe recruiting started September 1st of this year for juniors

Which is why commitments are coming in late

Diver-Swimmer Mom

Nope, started 6/15 with phone calls and visits after 8/1.

Reply to  Swimmerfan
1 year ago

Adding to this point, I also wonder what effect that since the class of 22 and the class of 21 essentially are the same class(in terms # of potential eligibility years remaining) colleges may have to be pickier with who they offer spots to now. They have limited space and an extra super-senior class adds more complexity to recruiting for the next 4 years.

Diver-Swimmer Mom
Reply to  Entgegen
11 months ago

Yes, exactly right. This will heavily affect recruiting through the class of 2024 and maybe even 2025 if some of these Covid athletes red shirt for another reason (injury, etc.).

Diver-Swimmer Mom
Reply to  Swimmerfan
11 months ago

I can only speak for my experience with my 2023 diver (ranked 1), the spots were offered at Power 5 schools but the scholarship money was reduced due to the Covid athletes taking their extra year (s). Some other divers we know that are highly ranked did not get the visits they had hoped for to top dive schools and had to move on to other Power 5 programs. Not in all instances, but in most. And you are correct, although several Power 5s offered July visits for uncommitted 2022s, we had many committed 2022 swimmers and divers on our visits just so that they could experience a recruiting weekend.

Reply to  Diver-Swimmer Mom
11 months ago

I’d be curious to see if that was true across the board. Collegiate coaches are master manipulators, especially in recruiting, and I just assume that they’re all going to tell little fibs to try and get the new athletes to commit for less money, see who takes the bait, and then offer more to the ones who won’t go for it.

Not a critique, really. Just how the game is played, I guess.

Curious times.

Diver-Swimmer Mom
Reply to  quakerboats
11 months ago

It wasn’t about money for some divers, there are kids on the national team that did not get an offer or a spot on teams they were expecting to hear from-especially on the boys side– because slots did not open up.

Only sharing our experience and the information we got from class of 2023.

We are aware coaches do not always show their cards, and there are a few that go beyond that and are somewhat deceitful on amount available. The nice thing about the dive world, it’s pretty small, everyone knows each other, and people talk. We knew the numbers from athletes already on many of the teams, and we knew offers out there to other divers… Read more »

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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