They almost never come to college right away.
One student-athlete I work with left for boarding school when he was sixteen, then played junior hockey in four different states, getting traded several times. Each time he had to pack his bags and move to a different part of the country. He decided to play college hockey at Fredonia without ever having visited campus.
You can’t measure that kind of experience with a GPA, even though the resilience it builds is more important to the future well-being of the student.