Back in the day of football recruiting, mail, phone calls, and in-house visits were the primary means of communication between a recruit and a school/coach. These days, a lot of recruiting takes place on a social media website: Twitter.
Back in 2016, the NCAA made changes to the recruiting rules involving Twitter. Before, a coach could follow and direct message a recruit, but now, a coach can retweet or like an athlete’s post. This has proved to be a success because athletes have shared that this lets them know how much interest a program has in him. Twitter allows recruits to market themselves to teams as well as allowing teams to market to potential players.
Jeremy Hathcock, a former high school football coach, said “If my kids aren’t posting and the kids next door are, I’m doing mine a disservice. If Johnny, who I really like, is not saying he’s getting offered, and then there’s Bobby, who says he has five offers, it looks like Bobby is the better player. Could not be entirely true, but that’s marketing.”
Twitter gives players the opportunity to share their highlight videos, stats, and offers, but also lets them communicate with coaches in an easier way.
While Twitter can be useful and help recruits gain the attention of their dream school, it can also backfire. Most schools have an intense screening process they go through when examining the recruits’ Twitter accounts. If a recruit tweets, likes, or retweets something inappropriate, coaches will take note and not offer them, no matter how good they are. They even go so far as to look at their friends accounts. Most of the time, recruits will try to keep their profiles clean, but their friends can easily cost them an offer. Coaches find it is important to have good players that are also good people. Recruits have to be very careful how they present themselves, and the addition of Twitter into recruiting makes that a harder task.
There are positives and negatives to using Twitter in recruiting, but personally, I believe it to be a good thing rather than bad. It makes the process more transparent. All in all, Twitter is changing how recruiting is done, and in return, recruiting is changing how Twitter is used.