AUTHOR: CHRIS "BEARLIGHT" LEE / @BEARLIGHTCASTS
Hundreds of staff members from colleges across the North American region tuned into Stay Plugged In's one-of-a-kind collegiate online esports recruiting event, Carry2College, this past weekend searching for students that fit their program in a few different ways. Esports directors and coaches were able to catch all of the Rocket League and Overwatch 2 recruits in action during the two-day event, and "all" is not an exaggeration.
"With our Recruiting Events, we strive to provide the best experience for each and every player to ensure they gain as many opportunities as possible. That being said, we were able to stream over 6,000 minutes on 35 Twitch channels, resulting in every, single match being live streamed for any college recruiter to watch." - Kyle Taylor, Co-founder of Stay Plugged In
Every subscribed college also receives a scouting report featuring all recruiting information for players who participated in the event, in case they were unable to catch some of the players they came to scout. In addition, every match was also recorded, and the videos have become available so that colleges in the network can review them at any time following the event. Colleges also received the option to utilize a voice channel within the Stay Plugged In Player Discord server in a virtual college fair designed to connect more students and colleges. A total of 40 colleges opted into the college fair and spoke with students about what they are looking for in a program, and shared information about what their schools could provide them both in esports and in academics. In many instances, scholarships were on the table.
For these student athletes, performing at their highest level is much more important to college representatives than winning. With a vast number of college programs in their infancy stage, the demand for players is extremely high, and not every team is going after the highest ranked players in the game. Opportunities genuinely exist for anyone looking become part of an esports team, community, and family. Let's reflect on the incredible first weekend of the 2023 Carry2College event and the impact it made on players and coaches.
On Saturday, while players used the event time carved out and dedicated to students engaging in the virtual college fair, we spoke with a few college directors from schools across our network to gain some insight on the things that they look for in a recruit. Our guests also gave great advice to future college students about how to approach the college fair and the conversations within.
"Make sure that you are really focusing on your ability to demonstrate your skills as a team player ... For the most part, you're ability to show off what you can do in a competitive environment only really takes place at events like this."
- Dylan Gentilcore, Head Esports Coach, University of Wisconsin - River Falls
"[Recruiting players] that know what it means to be on a team in two ways, [first] interacting with teammates and being that positive force when it comes to competition and the pressure around competition, and [secondly] people that buy into the mission and buy into the culture, and the process."
-Dan Marino, Esports Director, Ball State University
During the broadcast, Stay Plugged In reporters also sat down with a few of the student athletes, each in different places within their own personal recruitment journeys. Johnston Community College student "WASDTAYLOR" spoke with the crew about his commitment to play Rocket League at Concord University through Stay Plugged In.
"Like I've said, Stay Plugged In ... you guys have worked wonders for me, you guys have been life changing for me, and I couldn't thank you guys enough ... everybody behind the scenes, everybody that participates in putting these events on. I couldn't be more thankful..."
- wasdTaylor, on his commitment to Concord University
As for "MESMER", the senior Grandmaster Tank and captain of the Deerfield Warriors out of Chicago, IL, he is still searching for the right school to attend. Mesmer told us in an interview that he has been to college recruiting events like this before in traditional sports, and that Carry2College captures the same great opportunities for esports students.
I play soccer, so I've been to other college events as well, and [Carry2College] is just as high level [quality], if not, a higher level [quality] than college recruiting events I have been to for soccer ... I really love the set up and the connections to colleges and get more information ... it's really interesting and really helpful for seniors and people looking to play esports in college."
- Mesmer, on his experience playing in Carry2College
OVERWATCH 2 OPEN PLAY
3RD-4TH PLACE: Deerfield Warriors & MCEA Elite | 2ND PLACE: Royalty OW
WINNERS: ROLLING RONALDS
OTHER STANDOUT PLAYERS
Name: CLORINE | Team: Rizzless | Year: Senior
Excellent frag ability as a tank, primarily with the hero Ramattra. As tanks have become more heavily relied upon, the fire power is definitely there.
Name: HIPPITY | Team: Royalty OW | Year: Senior
Timely ultimate uses, advanced FPS timing and obvious leadership ability in an oversaturated DPS role. Led a free agent team to the OW2 Open Finals.
Name: MESMER | Team: Deerfield Warriors | Year: Senior
Great balance of offensive DPS styling while providing the cover needed by the rest of the team as a tank. Given Overwatch 2 has reduced number of tanks per team from 2 to 1 in comparison to the original Overwatch, this is extremely useful.
OVERWATCH 2 DIVISIONAL PLAY
3RD PLACE: St. John Bosco Esports (3 - 2) | 2ND PLACE: Dreamland DIV-OW (4 - 1)
WINNERS: TEAM HECTIC (5 - 0)
OTHER STANDOUT PLAYERS
Name: CART3R | Team: St. John Bosco | Year: Senior
Excels in team fights which is typically a sign of great communication skills. Can also thrive in solo plays, the making of a well balanced DPS presence.
Name: ARCHOS | Team: Dreamland | Year: Junior
Big plays in big moments from the DPS main from California. Popped of as Sojourn, a new hero launched with Overwatch 2.
ROCKET LEAGUE OPEN PLAY
3RD-4TH PLACE: 916frosty & Shootas | 2ND PLACE: Humphrey
WINNERS: BAG CHASERS
OTHER STANDOUT PLAYERS
Name: PEEP | Team: Humphrey | Year: Senior
A defensive menace in the group stage, and again on Championship Sunday and the finals. Showed a deadly offensive presence as well. "Well-balanced" is an understatement.
Name: ADRIFT | Team: X13 Black | Year: Junior
If you've been following Stay Plugged In this shouldn't surprise you. Top tier mechanics with a drive to get the team involved on offensive plays. Virtually unstoppable offensively.
Name: SALIDOW | Team: 916frosty | Year: Grad (2022)
The recent 2022 grad from Maryland has RLCS main event experience and plays like it. Stays in the play with or without boost and utilizes strong field recognition to create great plays.
ROCKET LEAGUE DIVISIONAL PLAY
3RD PLACE: Dreamland - DIV RL (5 - 2) | 2ND PLACE: ATA (6 - 1)
WINNERS: PSA MUSTANGS (7 - 0)
OTHER STANDOUT PLAYERS
Name: B0TZY04 | Team: ATA | Year: Senior
Talk about a no quit attitude. Relentless work ethic on the field against the best in the division, and plays the same against teams when they are favored to win.
Name: DECAF | Team: Dreamland | Year: Junior
Constant threat to opposing defenses. High number of shots taken to break down the defense, and high number of goals per game as a result, and to confirm shot efficiency.
A huge thank you goes out to all of our players, college directors/coaches, and parents for participating in yet another exciting and impactful weekend. Rocket League and Overwatch players can visit our events page search through upcoming Stay Plugged In events this season.
If you are a League of Legends and/or Valorant recruit who would like to take part in Carry2College, C2C Winter 2023 continues with our Riot Series the first weekend of February. Register here!