Inside the World of Twitter Hashtags on the College Football Recruiting Trail

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystAugust 28, 2014

Sep 21, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin reacts against the SMU Mustangs at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For college football coaches, the celebration of winning the grueling wars on the recruiting trail is normally reserved for national signing day. That’s mainly because NCAA rules prohibit coaches from discussing potential recruits by name.

However, thanks to the rise of social media in recruiting, a handful of coaches across the country are being creative in their use of outlets such as Twitter to send coded messages that serve as an unofficial welcome to new commitments.

As Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated noted, there are no rules against coaches announcing a commitment as long as the player isn’t mentioned by name.

While some coaches such as Nick Saban avoid social media, others such as Kevin Sumlin embrace it. Additionally, assistants and support staff members at bigger schools use it as a tool, and it’s often the prime means of communication with the recruits of today.

Which schools and coaches have created hashtags and phrases alerting fans and recruits alike of a victory on the recruiting trail?

Arizona: #ontothenextone

The Wildcats have put together a strong 2015 class under the guidance of head coach Rich Rodriguez.

However, Matt Dudek, who serves as Arizona’s recruiting coordinator, is the main man getting the message out about the Wildcats program on Twitter. 

According to Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star, Dudek uses the hashtag #ontothenextone to get the word out about a new Wildcats pledge. 

“After a game at Pitt that we won, I put it out there somewhere, and it just kinda stuck,” said Dudek, who borrowed the phrase from Jay-Z. “It became fitting. It has a little bit of swag to it, but it’s not offensive. It just became a thing, but it really blew up here. The fans here really took a liking to it, and I just ran with it.”

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 02:  Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs watches the action during the game against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Georgia: #CommitToTheG

There’s been no hotter team on the recruiting trail lately than Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs.

Beginning with 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson’s pledge on Aug. 12 and culminating with 4-star receiver Van Jefferson’s commitment on Tuesday, the Bulldogs have surged to the No. 3 spot overall in the 247Sports Team Rankings.

The ‘Dawgs 2015 class has been a hit on social media thanks to the hashtags #CommitToTheG and #fam15. Richt and ace recruiter and running backs coach Bryan McClendon are among the members of the staff who have been actively using those hashtags throughout this cycle.

Miami: #WelcomeToTheU 

Considering Pete Carroll was one of the first coaches to embrace social media dating back to his days at USC, it’s no surprise to see that his son—Miami recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll—is one of the foremost voices among the coaching fraternity on Twitter. 

He and offensive coordinator James Coley are two of the more vocal members of Al Golden’s staff, and each of them are sure to be found moments after the ‘Canes have added another pledge. 

#WelcomeToTheU has become a mantra for the arrival of new ‘Canes and is only picking up steam as Miami’s 2015 class continues to grow.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Bob Stoops and MVP Trevor Knight #9 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrate after their 45-31 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orl
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Oklahoma: #Unmatched

While his brother Mark Stoops has made waves for the way he and his staff have used social media, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has quickly caught on after joining Twitter in Sept. 2012.

He and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel are among the members of the Sooners staff using the hashtag #umatched in tweets.

Stoops used it last week following the commitment of 3-star California offensive lineman Dru Samia.

As a bit of a personal touch with each message following a commitment, Stoops uses the area code from which the newest pledge hails.

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Penn State: #PSUnrivaled

James Franklin turned the Vanderbilt program around in large part due to his ability to recruit top-notch talent to a school that had long been mired in the cellar of the SEC. 

After moving on to Penn State in January, Franklin and his staff—led by offensive line coach Herb Hand—have hit the ground running. The Nittany Lions currently have the No. 6 class in the country.

With more than 5,700 tweets on his account, Hand has been one of the more active coaches on social media. After the Lions land a commit, Hand is not far behind with a message using the hashtags #WeAre and #PSUnrivaled.

Hand and Franklin are one of the more dynamic duos of recruiters who are constant presences on sites such as Twitter.

Texas A&M: #WRTS

While Sumlin’s trademark “yessir” is one of the more widely known phrases in recruiting circles, one of his assistants created a newer hashtag that has taken off in recent months.

As Taylor Hamm of GigEm247 noted, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder tweeted out #WRTS after the commitment of 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray in May. The hashtag is an acronym for “We Run This State.” 

“People can argue all they want but it’s the facts,” 5-star Aggies defensive tackle commit Daylon Mack told Hamm. “We have the best class in the state of Texas, with the best team in the state of Texas. I feel like people are trying to catch us. We’re already in front.”

While the move to the SEC has certainly helped Sumlin and his staff, their presence on social media has caught the attention of big-time recruits such as Mack.

Coaches across the country are always searching for an edge that helps them win on the recruiting trail, and these schools are examples of how a little creativity on social media can go a long way toward helping accomplish those goals.

With social media now playing an important role in the recruiting process, expect the race on platforms such as Twitter to continue to grow moving forward.

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.



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