Entertaining Estey

Highly recruited Jerod Estey tells of experiences with coaches, free trips and the whole process

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If anyone has a question about NCAA recruiting rules, Moffat County High School senior Jerod Estey is the local expert.

The 2001 4A Baseball Player of the Year in Colorado is well versed in NCAA rules jargon after a summer of being recruited by schools from Hawaii to Rhode Island.

"After I had a good spring, a couple of people told me to be prepared for a lot of recruiting," said Estey, who batted .519 and hit eight home runs in 20 games last spring for the Bulldogs. "So I started to do some research before the serious recruiting was under way just to know what I could and couldn't do."

One of Estey's main sources for information was Eric Toliver, the associate athletic director of compliance at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

"Jerod contacted us early to make sure that he was doing things correctly and asked a lot of good questions," Toliver said. "Some students wait until their senior year to start the process and it can be long and painful, but Jerod was timely."

What Estey found was that most of the rules are related to coaches' contact with the students. Conversely, the students have one main responsibility.

"I just had to make sure that I didn't accept anything from the schools," he said. "During recruiting, if you receive a hat from the team, it's just as bad as receiving a car."

When July 1 rolled around, coaches were allowed to contact Estey once a week. The highly touted prospect started receiving more calls than a Qwest operator.

"Some nights I would have up to seven calls and each coach would talk for 20 minutes," he said. "At times my whole night was shot."

Estey started to sort out his prospects by listening to the approaches of the coaches on the phone.

"A lot of the calls were the same," he said. "Just coaches talking about how good their teams were and their facilities. But some I could tell were more interested than others."

Two of the schools Estey started to take more seriously were UNLV and the University of Hawaii. Both schools met his criteria of being in the west he told all schools in the east he wasn't interested and a Division I program he liked D-I programs because they were "more first class."

After all of the initial calls, Estey narrowed his choices down to the two aforementioned schools, the University of Utah, New Mexico State University and the Air Force Academy. He then took visits to Hawaii and UNLV.

"They definitely wined and dined me," he said. "The cheerleaders showed me around, I could eat what ever I wanted, and both trips were a blast."

All of the baseball player's long hours in the batting cages, on the road traveling and working out were rewarded by the all-expenses-paid trips.

"It's nice to see all of these people so interested," he said. "It's something I couldn't have ever imagined."

The letters and calls have drastically slowed down for the prep phenom after he recently verbally committed to play baseball for UNLV.

But that's just the beginning.

His post-high school career will not be decided until Major League Baseball's amateur draft in June 2003.

"If I go in the first five rounds, it may be enticing enough to go pro," he said. "It kind of depends on the signing bonus and the opportunity presented."

For now, the Bulldog is glad to have some time to focus on his game and prepare for his last spring in a MCHS uniform.

"I'm glad to have decided on schools early so I don't have to worry about it during the school year," he said. "(The whole process) has been a thrill and I don't regret any of it."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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