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How/why do colleges bother getting verbal commitments from 13-14yos?
1. You don't know how the kid will develop
2. You don't know if the kid will be academically acceptable (this matters for some D1 schools)
3. Most prep kids probably have to go play in the USHL before college anyway
What's the point of these early commits?
The question is why not? It costs the school nothing to get a commitment and keep other schools away. If the player pans out they have the inside track. If he doesn't, they quietly say you'll never play here and the kid decommits.
It's not brain science.