Look, we all know that there are people out there that are involved in recruiting. It's a huge money maker. On the surface, it seems a bit odd that grown men would make a career out of trying to interview 17 and 18 year old kids about where they think they will go to college. Yet, here we are.
That's all fine and dandy, except when it isn't. Social media has exploded over the past however many years, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and countless others trying to break into the game. How does this affect recruiting you might ask? Well, along with increased social media access to recruits (who are, after all, just normal high school kids who happen to be athletes) comes the emergence of those fans of school who just can't help themselves. Those that think it is perfectly acceptable to tweet their favorite recruits in order to try and steer them towards their school. Sure, an occasional shout out here and there may be fine, but there are plenty of times when it crosses a very weird line.
Most notable of these instances was the story surrounding the de-committment of Alex Anzalone from Ohio State. A convicted sex offender was tweeting recruits, and more or less succeeded in creeping them out enough to get himself reported. Things went very downhill from there for the guy, needless to say.
On top of the fact that obsessively tweeting recruits borders on stalking, it's also technically against NCAA rules, as outlined here by our friends over at College and Mag, an Auburn blog.
There are those that constantly try and campaign to get people to stop doing it, and there are those that have realized that it's going to happen regardless, because the people that do it just don't care. Which brings me to the inspiration behind this post, a fellow that goes by the name HogCaller90 on Twitter. A quick perusal of his 500 some odd tweets leads one to believe that he created this account specifically for the purpose of tweeting recruits.
Note: I have no idea if that is why this account was created. I am making that speculation based on the fact that almost every tweet in it's timeline is directed at, or deals with, recruits. I am also not directing this post at this person, any specific group of people, any specific fan base, or any institution. I am simply using this account as an example to help illustrate my point. This account was brought to my attention yesterday.
That in itself is creepy enough, but then you realize that almost all of his tweets have been directed at one recruit in particular, running back Alex Collins. For example, it only took 6 tweets for the obsession to set in:
Highly recruited RB Alex Collins will officially visit Arkansas on Jan 25. @budda03— Richard Davenport (@ArRecruitingGuy) December 30, 2012
That was re-tweeted by our friend HogCaller on December 30th. Since then, his timeline is a jumble of really, really, REALLY invasive and weird activity. Here's just a sampling:
@budda03 Woooo piggggg SOOOIIEEEEEE!!!!!!! Alex Collins will lead our running game to the promise land!!!!! Go hogs!!— Clint Willis (@HogCaller90) December 30, 2012
@budda03 Razorback Nation is dieing for a Stud RB, look at our depth Chart you start here as a freshman#JustCallThoseHogs!!!!!!— Clint Willis (@HogCaller90) January 1, 2013
@budda03 I was a military police officer and my wife is a CJ major at the U of A, they prepare students for forensics and LE jobs. go hogs!— Clint Willis (@HogCaller90) January 5, 2013
@budda03 same here!!! U were running all over people in the SEC and brought it home to Arkansas!!WPS!!! Cya in 5days!!!— Clint Willis (@HogCaller90) January 21, 2013
That last one was in response to a tweet by Collins that he had had a dream where he won the Heisman. HogCaller thought it was perfectly ok to tell him that he, too, had that dream.
This continues, with multiple tweets daily, right up until today. He is STILL doing this. His account has been open for 31 days, and he has tweeted 529 times as of this writing. That equates to about 17 tweets a day, which admittedly is not all that high compared to "power users", but there is one major, glaring difference. This guy's 17 tweets a day are directed towards recruits, and the large majority of them are directed towards one in particular.
Yesterday, someone even tried to remind this guy that his actions were against NCAA policy, and this is how he responded:
@btbowling Lmao, yeah they are really gonna come knock on my door. Btw I'm a student at the U of A. I know people.#GoHogs!— Clint Willis (@HogCaller90) January 29, 2013
Yup. He knows people.
Look, this guy is just one in thousands upon thousands of grown men who find it necessary to do nothing but tweet 17 year old kids all day. All in the name of trying to get them to commit to their school. Do they think that their 140 characters will be the deciding factor in these kid's decisions? Who knows. People from almost every school do it. You want to send a tweet or two, whatever. I would highly advise against it, but whatever. Just please, please don't cross the line into this guy's territory. That's when it gets weird.