By Doug Samuels –
June 27, 2016
Over the last few months, a lot has been shared about what types of things that coaches hate to see from recruits on social media. In all honesty, the sentiment had turned kind of negative and it’s time that changed.
Over the weekend, I decided to look at the issue from a different angle and reached out a number of coaches to pick their brain on the types of things that coaches want to see in a recruit’s social media.
Below are from conversations I had with college coaches over the weekend as they weighed in, including quotes from them in italics.
1) Are they true fans of the game?
One FBS assistant shared that HS recruits today really seem to struggle to sit down and watch an entire college or NFL game, and that’s a shame because there is so much to learn from simply watching a game from beginning to end. Many coaches shared that they love to see how guys are interpreting decisions being made in real time, like why a team went for two instead of kicking the PAT, or why the defense brought the house on 3rd and 15. They might not always agree with the coaching decisions, but that’s not the point here – what they are doing is analyzing actual games instead of being one of 3 million people to retweet the latest one handed grab or spin move.
“They will def know about and retweet any crazy highlight that they saw – but I love when a recruit / player tweets about the details of a particular game. It shows me a level of maturity when it comes to the game of football. It shows me how they spend their free time.”
“I don’t care as much about what he thinks of Future’s new mixtape – but I love to see what he thinks about the decision to kick the FG or go for the 4th down attempt.”
2) Show some love and respect to family and high school coaches / teachers
It’s been said that you can tell a lot about someone by the way that they treat their family. Bret Bielema onced shared that he dropped a recruit based on the way that he talked to his mother, and he’s surely not the only one that’s done that. Coaches take a lot of stock in that kind of stuff, so to see a tweet from a HS recruit to his mom on Mother’s day, or directed at his sister on her birthday provides an interesting glimpse into the person off the field that coaches are recruiting.
Coaches share that this also provides them with a sense that the kid has a level of accountability and maturity that would bode well in their development, and someone that also understands the power that social media has.
– “A picture of you and your mom on her birthday with a positive message. No one is knocking a kid for that.”
– “It also shows that the recruit isn’t ‘too cool’ to interact with the people who provide so much for them. In a round about way, that shows a level of gratitude in my mind.”
3) Genuine support of other sports at school
As one coach put it, “Supportive stuff of your team or teams from your school is great. I mean who has a problem with ‘Congrats to the softball team on their conference title’?” That kind of stuff shows a sense of maturity and that they genuinely care about the accomplishments of others outside of their own bubble.
4) Tweet about the positive things going on in life and within the community
At the end of the day, coaches want to add players to their roster that are going to be great guys to have in the locker room, on the field, and on their sideline, so the tone behind their tweets go a long way and can also leave quite the impression. Again, this shows a level of maturity.
– “I look for kids tweeting about the positive things they’re doing, like working a job, their academic accomplishments, community service projects, and other positive things with their family and personal life,” one coach shared.
– “I like seeing a representation of maturity, accomplishments, confidence and humility. HS student athletes are role models for their communities and the grass roots level of sports for their school system and I like seeing a young man that understands that.”
5) When recruits talk about FOOTBALL and not just RECRUITING
It’s a message that we’ve shared before, but college coaches want guys that truly LOVE football, not guys that love the attention that they’re getting from the recruiting process. This is a sentiment we continued to hear from college coaches. Are they tweeting stuff like “Training camp is just 23 days away,” or “Really looking forward to week 1,” or is is which schools are in their top 10 every week and then retweeting responses to their tweet, soaking up the attention from various fan bases?
6) Do they embrace the hard work that goes into being great?
Seeing a recruit tweet about being excited to go to a workout is rare, but that’s what coaches at the next level are looking for. They want guys that embrace morning workouts, not the guys that get on social media and whine about it.
– “If they’re using social media to gripe about high school workouts it’s hard to imagine them embracing workouts at 5:30am in college.”
7) They understand how to use their time.
A recruit’s timeline is a direct reflection of how they spent their time. One message I heard time and time again from a number of coaches I talked with over the weekend, was to remind players that what they’re retweeting is a direct reflection of them, their interests, and how they’re choosing to spend their time. So if their feed is filled with 30-second school fight videos and rap lyrics that they wouldn’t say in front of their grandmother, you can bet that college coaches are taking note of that.
– “Is he tweeting about the latest trashy viral video or meme? Or is he tweeting about how much his favorite player works / spends time on his craft?”
– “What are you focused on if your snap story goes on forever or you tweet 50 times a day? Priorities.”
Other miscellaneous things that coaches shared that they want recruits to be aware of:
- Your username should be something that coaches can search for and easily find (and it would help if you bio included your high school, graduation year, and a link to your highlight film). “All these things demonstrate that a player understands the power of their social media platform,” one coach told us.
- Be careful of just tweeting song lyrics, because as one coach put it, “I may just think it’s you saying that.”