How Social Media Changed Sports Recruiting

No one can deny how large social media has become in today’s world. It is especially becoming more and more important in the sports world. Most professional athletes have some sort of social media platform in which they can interact with fans and update them on their lives on and off the field. But a trend that has become more and more prevalent in the sports world is how social media is used in recruiting.


Back in the day before social media, it was pretty difficult to communicate with potential recruits, especially if they were on the other side of the country. One platform that really made the recruiting process easier for both the athletes and the universities has been Hudl. For those who are not familiar with Hudl, it is a simple video service that provides athletes and coaches with a platform to review film and exchange highlight tapes.

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Before Hudl, coaches who were tasked with recruiting had to get on the phone with the recruits’ high school coach and request game film and any other relevant information. It could take weeks for the tape to get mailed to the coaches, and by that time the recruit could have already made his decision. Now, coaches can log onto the website and search the recruit they are interested in and have his information and highlight tapes attached to his or her profile.


Although Hudl has made the process of allowing recruits to get their names out their and their highlight tapes on the screens of college recruiters, it is only a highlight tape. Obviously every athlete is going to have the best of the best plays on their tapes. However, coaches nowadays are not recruiting kids based off of pure talent anymore. You can be the best athlete at your sport, but if you do not have a good attitude or if you are not a good human being, coaches are not going to be lining up outside your door. This is very Twitter comes to play.


Twitter is a very important, if not the most important tool college coaches use when recruiting. In our generation, the majority of kids in high school have twitter accounts. A lot of us use twitter to communicate with friends, share posts, etc. In today’s recruiting world, colleges are monitoring potential recruits’ twitter accounts, to make sure that they are a good fit for their program.

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This is an example of how a college tracks recruits’ on Twitter. As you can see, it is very in-depth. College coaches do not mess around when it comes to this stuff because they are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to these recruits. In some colleges, they have employees whose sole job is to monitor twitter and create tracker updates like this one.


Benefits of social media being used for recruiting

  1. Program Awareness

Social media allows for recruits to gain knowledge of the school and the culture of the team. Most athletic departments will post videos before the season to get fans, students, and potential recruits excited about the upcoming season. Potential recruits will have access to all of this information prior to stepping on campus for an official visit, which will help them make the decision process easier.

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      2.  Immediate Connections

Every year it is becoming more competitive for schools to land the top recruits. With social media, the coaching staff’s of the universities are able to connect with the student athletes and begin to foster a relationship that could potentially persuade the recruit to commit to their school.

      3.  Insights

This goes back to what I was saying earlier in the blog. Once it is known that a college is recruiting an athlete, he or she will usually see a spike in following. This allows the colleges to monitor everything that recruit is saying, who they are interacting with on social media, and how they are reacting with others on social media. For some universities this is a make or break for whether or not they offer a recruit a scholarship. Student athletes are the most visible faces’ of their respective universities, so coaches want to make sure that they select their recruits carefully.


        4.  Competitive Intelligence

With the competition becoming tougher to land recruits, universities are looking for alternative ways to get an upper hand. Thanks to new social media filtering softwares like Spredfast and Intelligence, athletic departments at different universities are now able to filter through data in order to come up with the best strategy. With this new platform, coaches can see conversations that people on social media platforms are having about a certain recruit.

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I think that social media and technology is revolutionizing college athletic recruitment. As an avid sports fan and active member of social media, I am familiar with how these recruits are gaining awareness. People have to keep in mind that these kids are only 17 and 18 years old, but it is pretty amazing how passionate some die-hard college football/basketball fans are about landing top recruits. I think that in the future the way recruiting works is going to drastically change from what it is now, and I am excited to keep and eye out and see where it goes.


Riddle of the Week

I’m a ten-letter word, but when I am heard,

I have only four, not one letter more.


My first two sounds are neat; a kind of sheet,

That starts with spread, not the kind on a bed.


Of my sounds, the third is what will be heard,

alphabetically, in the middle of modus operandi.


If you want to hear more, then like the shore,

I end at the sea, that’s a hint, you see.


What word am I?






  1. danmiller315 · ·

    I thought this was really insightful up until that little riddle at the end, but that’s besides the point.

    Social media is a dangerous game for potential college athletes, but there are many benefits that you outlined very well. Take for example someone like Zion Williamson. While he was a top recruit already, his viral dunks has caused him to create a following before he even steps on campus at Duke. His decision to attend Duke was even televised on ESPN, which is something I can’t remember happening in a while for a high-profiled recruit.

    The saying “be careful what you put online because everyone will be able to see it” is something we have heard ever since we were introduced to social media platforms, but will forever be true. At the end of the day, colleges still wanted the best players on their teams, but I think as society places more of an importance on character within athletics, high-profile schools will have to begin the cost-benefit analysis of character versus talent.

  2. murphycobc · ·

    It’s so interesting how strongly a role Twitter plays in college recruitment – who knew? Like I mentioned in my post this week, your online past follows you. And when you are young, you aren’t always thinking about “the next step”.

    To reverse, I think it’s also a huge person of the University’s persona. I know at BC they have a really strong plan and team in athletics that is highly focused on content to our social channels. And when you are looking to recruit high schoolers to a program, your online persona is just as important as theirs. It is a truly integral part of the process now, just like campus visits or marketing brochures.

  3. kylepdonley · ·

    The wisdom to be careful what you put online has been around for a long time. Whether or not young users of social media heed that warning is another story. I am not surprised that college recruiters take this incredibly seriously. Above and beyond team dynamics, having a strong fanbase is incredibly important to sports business which makes brand one of the most valuable assets. One rogue player can tarnish a brand in no time. Teaching kids about the proper use of social media at a young age has become just as important as teaching them any other social norm.

  4. DingnanZhou · ·

    Great post, Keenan! I like the structure of this post putting everything together with thoughtful logic. Social media did play a huge role in our daily life. Totally agree on the impact of social media when it comes to sports, recruitment and etc. When I apply to colleges, I also follow twitter account of those colleges so that I can get the latest news. One is responsible for what they do online, and remember, those footprints never get totally wiped out!

  5. thebobbystroup · ·

    Keenan, I enjoyed the post. I was amazed to find out there are people whose sole job is to monitor players’ and potential recruits’ social media posts, but I suppose we live in a time that such work is necessary. It really is true that athletes become the face of the school. It’s sad to see that “9 out of 10” coaches have their views of players negatively affected by social media. I wonder if they tell the potential recruits about this, or if they wait and see if they will make any mistakes without a warning.

  6. graceglambrecht · ·

    Timely article with National Signing Day today for college football. I really thinking student athletes are being held more accountable for their actions, just as colleges and programs are being held more accountable for their students. I’ve definitely always thought that schools generally overlook problems online with athletes for the sake of gaining talent for their programs. I was shocked like Bobby to see the coaches statistics and that SMU recruit sheet.

    Really interesting to see that Online presence and social media have truly changed how recruiting functions for sports. As everyone mentioned above, social media can bite you in the ass. As this becomes a more prevalent practice among top tier schools I can only hope that players will start to get the message and realize that what they say off the court is just as important.

    Although in the words of Cardale Jones: we came to play football, not play school.

    XLNT blog post! (gotcha)

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