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Spring Signing Week '16: National Roundup
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Signing Week has arrived! As senior tennis players begin signing National Letters of Intent with Division I and Division II schools, we will be covering all the action. In addition to tracking verbal commitments for several months (boys, girls), you can find live commitment announcements from a number of highly recruited boys and girls on the site this week.

First, let's check in with a group of select seniors from around the country as they prepare to sign NLIs during the spring signing period, which officially begins tomorrow. Find out their schools of choice and which factors proved pivotal in their decisions.

Here are the athletes we interviewed:

Take a look at what they had to say ...

 

Dylan Flanagan (Montclair, N.J.) to Villanova

As a key player for the Newark Academy Minutemen, Dylan Flanagan has proven himself to be a consistent performer with long-term potential. In his first three years of high school competition, he lost just four matches, prompting his coach Arky Crook to describe him as "probably the gutsiest kid we have." Now a four-star senior, Flanagan is looking forward to becoming part of a new team as he follows a family legacy to Villanova's Pennsylvania campus.

 

Congratulations on your commitment to play for the Wildcats. What were the primary factors in your decision?

I was mostly looking at Division I schools in the northeast that had a good balance between academics and tennis. Finding a good academic fit was always the first priority, and then I was able to narrow down my decision by looking at each school's tennis program.

 

What are your favorite things about Villanova?

Villanova had a great combination of everything I was looking for in a college. On the tennis side, it is a Division I team in a competitive conference. Plus, I've always been impressed with the academic quality. I was looking to study business in college, and Villanova is well known for its business program. Both my mom and my aunt went there as well, so I have been around the school throughout my life. The location is great, too. It is not a city school, but it's very close to Philadelphia if I ever wanted to go into the city to get off campus.

 

Did you take an official or unofficial visit? What impressed you most?

I took an official visit and really enjoyed everything about it. I had a great time with all the guys on the team who showed me a typical day academically, socially and on the tennis court. Coach [Brad] Adams also gave me a great tour of the campus, and I was really impressed with the quality of the facilities.

 

You mention Coach Adams. What do you like about the coaching staff overall?

I'd been talking with Coach Adams for a little while before my commitment, and he watched me play in a couple of showcases over the past two summers. I was always really impressed with the way he recruited me, and the time he gave me to make my decision. I also know he was a very accomplished player for Villanova with very high expectations for the current team, so I hope to learn a lot from him over the next four years.

 

Speaking of the current team, did you meet your future teammates during your visit?

I knew a couple guys on the team from the USTA Eastern section prior to my visit, but I met most of them when I visited the school. Though I really liked how passionate they were and how hard they worked on the court, what stood out most was how close they were off the court. The cohesiveness of the team was something I paid attention to on all of my visits, and I really liked the relationships they had on Villanova's team.

 

Jordan Strickland (Cary, N.C.) to Western Carolina

Four-star senior Jordan Strickland entered the recruiting process in hopes of finding a mid-sized school where she could make an immediate impact. A decorated player out of Panther Creek High School, she led her team to three state championships and captured four state doubles titles with partner, Samantha Smith. Perhaps more importantly, she became known for her exemplary attitude on the court, claiming multiple sportsmanship awards. After sifting through more than two-dozen potential college programs, Strickland decided to take her tennis and leadership skills to Cullowhee, N.C., where she'll join the Western Carolina Catamounts.

 

What colleges were you considering when you started the recruiting process?

I started with a list of around 30 colleges that met some basic criteria in areas like majors offered, facilities, food and especially coaching staff. I was primarily looking at east coast schools in mid-major conferences - Southern, Big South, Colonial - that were close to home.

 

What was it about the Western Carolina coaches that caught your eye?

Michaela [Kissell-Eddins] and her husband Jacob traveled to watch several of my matches during the recruiting process, and they stayed in touch/answered questions by phone and email. They put in more work than anyone else in the recruiting process when it came to getting to know me and my style of play. I also liked hanging with their daughter, Kylie!

 

What do you like most about their program?

I like the family atmosphere of the team and the fact that they are all determined to improve and compete for championships. They all care for and support one another on the court and in other areas of their lives. I also like that I will end up being a Catamount in high school and in college. I thought that was a good omen. All the pieces are coming together to allow the team to accomplish new things in their tennis program.

 

What are your thoughts on your future Catamount teammates?

I met them on both of my visits, and I also knew several of them from junior tennis in North Carolina. I liked how they were all very outgoing and fun to be around. My best friend is going to be playing there also. That's an added bonus!

 

Do you have goals or expectations for your freshman year at Western Carolina?

Personally, I want to finish the season with a winning record, which would be a great accomplishment. To do that, I will be working hard with the training staff and coaches to improve my overall speed and agility on the court. As a part of the team, I want to do my part to help us get to a conference championship. I also have a goal of not falling during the Freshman Run, where WCU's incoming freshman class sprints onto the football field at the first home game.

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