Local Athletes Struggle for Recognition

video preview image

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – In 2013, Crater football players Derrick Turituri and RJ Morgan signed letters of intent to play for the University of Arizona. Comets head coach John Beck reflected on the challenges those athletes faced.

“The University of Arizona coaches said Northern California and Southern Oregon are the most under-recruited areas in the nation,” Beck said.

“Why these kids aren’t being snatched up, I don’t know,” Eagle Point head coach Seth Womack said.

This year Eagle Point’s Peyton Dole was the only Southern Oregon football player to sign a letter of intent to play Division I football.

“There’s a lot of good athletes in Southern Oregon,” Dole said, “but I think what a lot of kids don’t realize is when you’re trying to get a Division I scholarship, I don’t think
they realize how good a lot of the competition is. Even if you’re the best player in your conference, you still might not be one of the best players in the Northwest, and when
you’re competing for a scholarship, you’re competing against thousands and thousands and thousands of people.”

That makes the accomplishments of Dole, Turituri and Morgan that much more impressive.

“Peyton’s an extremely focused young man,” Eagle Point athletic director Bryan Wood said. “It’s been a lifelong goal of his and he’s worked hard for it and stayed focused on it.”
“He’s very focused,” Womack said. “He knew what he wanted. He knew that the opportunity is going to be there.”

But it isn’t just about staying focused. In order to gain the attention of Division I coaches, a football player must attend camps, create a solid tape and put it on websites like YouTube and HUDL. Peyton says a team of support is essential to getting noticed.

“Northwest Elite Index really liked me so they were willing to help me out,” Dole said, “and between them and Coach Womack and my dad trying to get me out there, I think that really helped get me the attention that I needed.”

And that means Peyton could focus on football.

“You’re going to have to be better than you think you’re going to have to be,” Dole said. “If you think you deserve a Division I scholarship, you’re going to need to get better than
that because this area isn’t super highly recruited.

And if an athlete just wants to play football, but a Division I scholarship isn’t in the cards, Eagles head coach Seth Womack says the opportunity is still there.

“If they work hard enough,” Womack said, “and they’re willing to travel, there’s a school out there that will take them. If I was still coaching college football or I ever go back to coaching college football, I would definitely target Southern Oregon a whole lot more than what I did in the past as a college coach, but there is definitely some good talent here.”