Social media has become so intertwined with recruiting that it’s hard to imagine a world in which prospects didn’t list their top 10 schools, post pictures of official visits and eventually announce their commitments on Twitter.
So, not surprisingly, head coaches, assistants and staff members have flocked to Twitter as a way of promoting and building their school’s brand and staying in touch with recruits through private messages.
And while it’s usually the head coaches who rack up thousands of followers, assistant coaches have become increasingly popular among players and fans. Here’s a look at how each staff at area Big 12 schools and the SEC’s Texas A&M use Twitter:
Charlie Strong’s staff hasn’t been too active on Twitter since the Longhorns’ new coach took over in February. But defensive coordinator Vance Bedford ( @CoachBedfordUT) has more than 10,000 followers and has slowly become more active on Twitter, posting pictures of Texas’ past greats.
Hook em pic.twitter.com/boi84wkONr— Vance Bedford (@CoachBedfordUT) April 12, 2014
The Aggies aren’t in the Big 12 anymore, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t competing with their former conference mates for recruits. Kevin Sumlin’s last “#YESSIR!” Tweet — signaling a new commitment — registered 472 retweets. Defensive line coach Terry Price (@Coach_TPrice) and wide receivers coach David Beaty (@beaty_david) are among Sumlin’s staff members on Twitter.
WHOSNEXT? Week 3 begins in beautiful East Texas where @coachbjandsrson calls home. The search for ballers continues. #futureaggies— Coach Terry Price (@Coach_TPrice) April 29, 2014
Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t Tweet often, but when he does, it makes a splash. His last Tweet, on April 14, came after the Red Raiders landed four-star defensive tackle Breidan Fehoko. It registered 267 retweets. Kingsbury’s assistants, though, have carved out a social media presence of their own. Eric Morris ( @TTUCoachMorris), Trey Haverty ( @TreyHaverty), Lee Hays ( @leehays), and Mike Jinks (@Mike_TTU) all have accounts. Every now and then they’ll drop a hint on the recruiting trail.
Gary Patterson’s staff isn’t too active on Twitter — Eddie Williamson ( @TCUCoachEddie), Dan Sharp ( @TCUCoachSharp), Doug Meacham ( @meacham_doug) and Rusty Burns ( @TCUCoachBurns) all have accounts, but there are only four combined Tweets between them. The most entertaining — or at least creative — TCU assistant to follow has to be cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry ( @KennyPerry8). The former Arlington Bowie coach joined the TCU program last year as the director of high school relations. He’s carried his recruit-specific Tweets into his new role.
2014 FOOTBALL PLAYERS in the books. 2015 WE SEE YOU pic.twitter.com/W3tlJjadMT— KennyPerry (@KennyPerry8) February 5, 2014
Sooners wide receivers coach Jay Norvell ( @OU_CoachNorvell) nearly found himself suspended for a game in 2012 after he Tweeted publicly at six recruits, mistakenly thinking his messages were private. But Norvell has remained a popular OU assistant on Twitter with more than 13,000 followers. Other assistants, like running backs coach Cale Gundy ( @OU_CoachGundy), have slowly adjusted to Twitter. Gundy doesn’t Tweet often, but he still sends out occasional bits of entertainment for Oklahoma fans.
There's only one college football team in America who has won all of these. And it's not in the SEC. #Boomer#OU pic.twitter.com/YcERkMNULU— Cale Gundy (@OU_CoachGundy) March 1, 2014
Head coach Mike Gundy ( @CoachGundy) has been steadily active on Twitter, sending out a “Pistols firing from McKinney, TX” after McKinney North running back Ronald Jones II committed to the Cowboys. Cornerbacks coach Van Malone ( @OSUCoachMalone) is a good follow for photos from the recruiting trail. And running backs coach Jemal Singleton ( @CoachSings) has plenty to sell while recruiting his position.
Similar to the staff’s at Texas and TCU, Art Briles’ assistants aren’t very active on Twitter, at least publicly. Linebackers coach Jim Gush ( @CoachJimGush), defensive line coach Chris Achuff and director of football operations Beau Trahan are on Twitter.