In order to “commit” to a program, yes, you must first have an official scholarship offer!
You may be getting tons of mail, emails, phone calls, texts but unless you’ve actually been offered an official scholarship, there is nothing to commit to. A few times a year we would get kids calling to commit to our program when they hadn’t been offered a scholarship, just receiving mail or emails.
Coaches break down each position and decide how many scholarships they will allot for each position. They then evaluate their “Watch List” and rank the players at each position, and scholarship offers usually begin to go out in that order. Coaches will work further down their lists as their more higher-rated players begin committing to other programs or eliminating them from consideration. Most coaches also offer a few players at the same time for the same scholarship, telling recruits they’d be happy with any of those offered and it will belong to whoever accepts it first, or sometimes not being open with recruits that they have offered other players that same scholarship.
A good question to ask if you are getting some interest from a program (mail, event invites, phone calls) but no offer yet is, “How many players at my position do you plan to sign in my graduating class?” You don’t want to eliminate or turn down other programs if you only have a slim-to-none-chance to get a scholarship offer from that particular program.