#TwitterandCreepyRecruiting

By Chad Peltier on May 3, 2012 at 4:00p
39 Comments
Be glad Twitterball isn't a sportRT if you want me to score a #TD!

Never before have fans had such intimate yet superficial connections with 16 and 17 year old football players. Twitter has given college football fans instantenous game updates (assuming we have enough time to type out tweets in between plays in Urban’s offense), the ability to directly contact players, journalists and coaches, and a constant stream of information to feed your Ohio State addiction.

Not to mention a connection with other Buckeyes - how cool was it when #dealwithit was trending after the Wiscy game in 2011? It's also cool to have 140 character conversations about music with players, like the one Luke posted between himself and Posey. Twitter allows players to directly dissmenate information, rather than relying upon traditional media sources. It also provides high school recruits an alternative to the all-too-prevalent hat ceremony, like this: 

A simple, direct, and humble way to announce your decision.   

I love Twitter. Luke captured my sentiments well in his eulogy for OSU players’ twitters (that thankfully wasn’t ultimately needed). There’s also no denying that it has been the most transformational social media tool for sports yet - for better and for worse. I thought it might be a worthwhile endeavor to take a minute or two and reflect on how exactly Twitter has changed recruiting specifically.

While the ability to contact players and recuits can humanize the people we spend hours discussing in article comments and forums, there’s undoubtedly a darkside to so much contact and transparency. One obvious issue is that high school kids can embarrass themselves and the university in front of a large online audience. Will Hill was just the beginning. Remember Yuri Wright? He reportedly lost a scholarship offer due to his tweeting habits. 

On the flip side are the problems that arise from fans contacting recruits. I understand the draw. It starts off as a “noble” thing - by simply saying “we want you in the Scarlet and Gray!” or “Urban has a history of developing TEs - look at Hernandez!” you can influence a kid’s decision. Anyone can be a recruiter and support their team.

Yet instead of making a life-altering college decision based upon the input of close family, friends, and coaches, modern recruits have hundreds if not thousands of twitter followers acting as unsolicited advisors. 81,000 fans cramming into the Shoe for the spring game is certainly impressive to a recruit. But it's also impressive when your every thought is retweeted by multiple fanbases every day. Similar is when recruits stage retweet and follow wars between fanbases to get the most new followers or retweets. Imagine how hard it must be to stay humble as a high school student athlete. And we are responsible. This makes really humble recruits all the more impressive. Think about guys like Eli Woodard, Tyvis Powell, and Cam Burrows - these are recruits who have already represented the university well.

It gets really bad when a recruit decides against your school. Fanbases and commentariats do a 180 and decide that a formerly heavily-desired recuit sucks:

Joey may be handling it well here, but seriously, this kind of behavior exemplifies what is wrong with modern recruiting. Joey Bosa, a consensus 4/5-star recruit, didn't have a commitable offer to your school? Please. What's more, Twitter allows anyone access to recruits - effectively giving anyone the ability to "talk shit about a 16 year old" with relative anonymity.

Top tight end, subject of tweet wars The subject of intense tweet wars. 

The recruitment of Josh McNeil is just one recent example illustrating how much of a circus recruiting is on Twitter. Let me be clear: I do not think Josh is to blame for this circus. Instead, the somewhat creepy dynamic between superfans (in this case, those willing to continually tweet recruits) and the recruits themselves has become the norm. The thought is that if you're a highschool recruit who isn't getting this type of attention, then you must not be worth your weight in star rankings. However, I've seen this kid get (and then retweet) dozens of messages each day from various fan bases in what amounts to a war to see which fanbase cares more about his commitment. Will this ultimately affect his decision? Who knows. 

There’s certainly a gray area between congratulating a recruit, getting information for a blog post, and creepily tweeting high schoolers, but the absolute worst has to be pandering for retweets. Clichéd motivational quotes with a “sure would love a RT or followback!” have to be some of the worst parts of the twitter-era of recruiting. Everyone has heard enough Muhammad Ali quotes to last a lifetime. If that doesn’t dissuade you, think about how tweeting uncommitted recruits is actually an NCAA punishable offense. Thanks to Mark Pantoni (who you should be following if you're not already) for retweeting this:

In the end, I think we encourage high school and college athletes to feel entitled. Recruiting is fun and so is twitter, but spamming high schoolers isn't cool. Feel free, however, to RT this article to all your followers.  

39 Comments

Comments

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Are the two Bosa tweets supposed to be the same?

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

pcon258's picture

thank you for echoing this sentiment. I have a twitter, and i reluctantly admit to following recruits and current players. even that feels creepy. people take it way to far when they start whoring themselves out for retweets ("[not particularly special recruit about whom you know nothing] is my favorite buckeye ever!!!!!!! can I get a RT?"). There is nothing creepier. 
I have no problem with congratulating someone for deciding to come to the greatest place in the history of the world osu, but I think anyone who tweets at a recruit more than once (other than for media reasons, etc.), should be denied entry to the stadium. 

William's picture

I don't follow any of the players, I do however follow most of the coaching staff, which makes for a good laugh or two. Vrabel talks some serious sh*t at times.

btalbert25's picture

I did follow a few players when I first started my Twitter page.  I don't follow any current players and don't follow high school recruits.  I'm just not interested in following kids and tweeting to them.  I can get on this site and figure out what they are saying/doing.  I don't think there's any value in a 30 year old dude like me who likes Ohio State following current players and high school kids.  I don't write for a blog or work on recruiting sites. 

J.Mo's picture

Thanks for be holier than thou. I follow players and some recruits. Twitter is a place where you follow people that you are interested in what they say. I was interested in Bosa after he referred to TTUN as "That team up north".
The only difference is I don't tweet at them (except I congratulated seniors after their final game and wished them luck). Talking shit on the Internet to ameuater athletes is where twitter becomes ridiculous. 

Chad Peltier's picture

Yeah I think following whoever on twitter isn't weird, it's trash talking, asking for retweets, and incessantly tweeting at recruits that weirds me out. 

buckeye76BHop's picture

Agreed Chad...just leave them alone for crying out loud.  They're young kids making some important life decisions and we as grown men should give them freedom to choose whatever they want.  When I saw that some OSU fans (may or did) go after L. Neal as reported by M. Chung, I was very disappointed.  It makes NO sense to do that.  I just hope if Neal reconsiders (or is allowed to) he forgets about those idiots who made OSU look like cry babies just like the others who went after Bosa.  I just really hope it's not true OSU fans actually did that.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

btalbert25's picture

Not knocking anyone for doing it just not for me.  I just know if I were that age, I'd probably be a bit creeped 30+ year old people begging me to go to their school or talking shit to me, and all the other business.  Therefore, I don't want to be the kind of dude who would of creeped me out as a kid. 

buckeyedude's picture

That sounds like a confession, BT. Are you sure you're coming completely clean?

 

 

741's picture

Grown men should not be following 16 year old boys on Twitter... Not Bieber, and certainly not potential OSU football recruits. There are enough misguided souls creating an environment in this town that leads to things such as an active secondary market in current player memoribilia items (rings, trophies, gloves, shoes, autographs, and whatnot). Please don't interact with recruits and potentially subject our athletic department to additional sanctions in the future. Just enjoy the games, and let the pro's (i.e., credentialed reporters, and our basement dwelling 11W bloggers) stalk the boys online. Thanks!

Riggins's picture

I'd like to say thank you to Alex and the rest of the staff for transcribing all the recruiting stuff for us to read at 11W.  There is no way I'm following a bunch of 17 and 18 year old dudes who would do nothing but blow my feed up with 17 and 18 year old banter.  I don't follow anyone unless they're funny, or consistently put out information that is interesting to me. 
 

Doc's picture

I really don't get the entire twitter concept.  Who gives a rats ass what I had for lunch, or that my latest dump looked like Meatchicken.  So, why would I care about what others are tweeting.  To me it is really creepy and quite weird.  But, I also don't like Facebook.  I guess at almost 42 I'm old and a fuddy duddy

"Say my name."

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Twitter is my news reel for stuff I want to know about.  Find the right folks/blogs/whatevers to follow and it's a solid source.

Doc's picture

Isn't that what Eleven Warriors are for.  If it ain't on 11W it ain't worth knowing' in my book.  That goes for real news too.

"Say my name."

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

11W is THE source for OSU athletics and some other stuff.  I love our Buckeyes but I am drawn to so much more and twitter provides a ton of info.

Doc's picture

Haven't you ever heard of the axiom "Ignorance is bliss"?  You should try it some time. It is wonderful!

"Say my name."

William's picture

This. It's proven to be a nice little news reel. Also provides for some humor, The Most Interesting Man in the World account is hysterical.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Jose Canseco's twitter account was really funny till he took it down a week ago...not sure if it's back up and running with his off the wall comments.  Man some of them were absolutely hilarious;-)  He's really serious about some of them which is the funniest part about it.  Like being the commisioner of MLB and how he'd change this and that...LMAO!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

DMcDougal24's picture

oh it's back. I think he's still waiting for Lorne Green to contact him about hosting SNL.. and that comment about how it's too bad that global warming didn't happen 100 years ago so that it would have melted the "icycles" that sunk the Titanic - comedic gold.

buckeye76BHop's picture

Nothing wrong with that...or following some of these kids on Twitter.  But going so far as to talk shit to them over a decision and make ignorant comments on Twitter that you wouldn't have made otherwise if they committed is what I have a MAJOR problem with.  We're the ones who are supposed to be adults and leave trash talking on Twitter for the youngsters or CBS/ESPN writers ;-).  Not just IMO...it's the way it should be.  These types of people who bash recruits on Twitter need to grow up.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

Doc's picture

Anonymity is a powerful drug.  The ability to talk shit with no consequence is a devilish ability.

"Say my name."

pcon258's picture

holy shit, that guya tweeted at players all the time, he creeped me out even when i thought he was just an overly crazed fan. wow, thats messed up

btalbert25's picture

and now 30 year old dude following the recruits and players will definitely be looked kind of funny.  Definitely not going to start following these kids now.  The pictures of the dude in the SB nation piece Luke Zimmerman creeped me out.  That guy looked like something wasn't quite right. 

Adamant73's picture

If you are under the age of 25 respectful Tweeting with these recruits is acceptable. 45 year old dude with kid named Woody, dog named Brutus and thinks it's cool to theme the WHOLE house with OSU gear should not be stalking I mean Tweeting with recruits. IMO

buckeyedude's picture

I think you're discriminating against us 40 somethings. Creepy is what we do. Hell, did you see the super tanned lady that got in trouble for tanning her 5 year old kid?
For the record: I don't tweet.

 

 

CowCat's picture

I've tweeted 'Welcome to Buckeye Nation' when a recruit commits, but that's as much as I want to do with it. They're just kids. I don't need to follow them.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Buckeye414's picture

Kegs and eggs beat you to this story a week ago.  SIMPSONSSSSSSS DID IT!

-Go Bucks!

703Buckeye's picture

I'm only 21, so I guess I'm not at the creeper age yet!
I follow some of these kids, seeing as what they have to say as entertaining and/or interesting. I might throw them a response once in awhile or say a positive word about OSU, but I definitely do not blow-up these kids accounts.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

Buckeyeneer's picture

It is kind of sad to slowly see myself turning into a technological dinosaur. I used to be the person people came to with computer issues and was always up on the latest trends. Now I am one of the few holdouts who has avoided purchasing a smart phone, I love owning Blu-rays/DVDs/CDs and other "hard" media because I don't trust my music/movies/games to be saved on some hard drive either at my home or in a "cloud", and I think Twitter is stupid. I think Abe Simpson said it best, "I used to be with it. Then they changed what "it" was."
Now get off of my lawn!!!!!!!!!!

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

One big solar flare and *poof* no more cloud...
I back-up on portable hard drives that can hold lots.

German Buckeye's picture

I have a very easy solution to all this - don't get a twitter account.  Twitter is a sign the apocalypse is nigh.  Absolutely hate it and everything about it.  Certainly understand I am the minority here and probably 99% of the civlilized worlld, but this goes along with reality TV (Jersey Shore makes me literally puke just typing the letters).  Sigh.

UrbzRenewal's picture

It's by far the easiest, most concise way to get news and stay informed on the world and friends around you. You could also say email is a sign of the apocalypse, or Facebook; but in reality they're just tools to keep you connected.

I do agree though in some ways...there are some people that should not get one.

Pam's picture

May 4th,1970- Sitting in my friends car outside of our HS during lunch getting high and listening to WCOL. They break to report that 4 kids had been shot and killed at Kent State during an anti-war demonstration. It was a real "Holy shit" moment if there ever was one.
Little trivia about that day: Nick Saban was a student and on campus that day

RBuck's picture

This is something that folks of our generation will never forget.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnOoNM0U6oc

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

703Buckeye's picture

My grandfather was a radio broadcaster in Cleveland at the time, and a good friend of Governor Rhodes. A few days after the shooting, my grandpa got a hold of Rhodes on the phone and chewed his ear off, arguing that Rhodes made the wrong decision to send the national guard to Kent. As a result, my grandpa was not allowed back to interview the governor until Rhodes left, both times.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter