©Colette Lewis 2006
Arizona’s Tyler Hochwalt has verbally committed to Coach Andy Jackson’s Florida Gators and will join the team in the fall of 2007.
"I made an unofficial visit back in February, and I loved it there,” said Hochwalt, who told Jackson of his decision on Wednesday. “It was the first school I had visited, but with Coach Jackson and all the guys on the team, it seemed a perfect fit for me."
Hochwalt, ranked 11th nationally among seniors by tennisrecruiting.net, was interested in making an early commitment, but the July 1st direct contact period was key in his decision-making process.
"I wanted to speak to the coaches directly about what they could offer in terms of where I want to take my tennis,” said Hochwalt, who is currently training at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego and home schooling through Laurel Springs. “Coach Jackson came out to San Diego on that day (July 1). He watched me practice and we talked about my plans."
"After that I talked with other coaches and it took me about a week and a half to make my decision,” Hochwalt said, "but all this was a good experience for me, learning about the schools and their programs.”
Other possibilities he considered were UCLA, Texas and Miami, but the sunshine was an important factor for the Scottsdale native.
"There are other schools that I really respect the programs and the coaches, but I just wasn’t going to go there," Hochwalt said. “I’m not a cold weather kid.”
Admitting to some relief that the decision is behind him, Hochwalt now heads to Rockville, Maryland for the National Clay Court Championships, a place that holds special memories for him. In 2005, he swept both the singles and the doubles titles in the 16s division; this year he is moving up, and is seeded in the 5-8 group in the 18s.
It's one step in a series that he will make over the next year, but he’s ready for the challenge of college tennis.
"Coach Jackson is a great person and a great coach. I’m excited about playing for him."