Growing up and playing football in British Columbia, Chase Claypool didn’t get much notice from American Division I football programs. However, once he put his highlight reel on Facebook, Claypool did get noticed, got several offers, and ultimately signed with Notre Dame Today, Claypool plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is one of the league’s hottest rookies in the 2020 class

By comparison, in 2012, high school cornerback Yuri Wright was a four-star recruit and ranked 40th in the ESPNU 150, with interest from Michigan, Notre Dame, and Georgia. It only took a few vulgar tweets to bring it all crashing down

Though incidents like Wright’s garner all the media attention, fortunately, social media has created far more happy endings like Claypool’s. And if you want to raise your recruiting profile and open additional avenues to reach college coaches, just remember to follow these simple guidelines.

Know The Rules

The written rules as they apply to social media for recruiting apply only to coaches. The NCAA allows coaches to direct message recruits after a specific date in either their sophomore or junior year of high school. That date depends on the sport you play and the school’s NCAA division. Check the NCAA recruiting calendar to see the contact date for your sport. 

Note that, after that specific date, coaches can privately direct message you. What they’re not allowed to do is communicate with you publicly. They can like, share, favorite, and retweet, but any public communication with you via any form of social media is prohibited unless you’ve committed to that coach’s school.

While the written rules apply only to coaches, make sure you follow these common-sense rules when using social media as a recruiting tool, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok:

  1. Always keep your posts positive.
  2. Never, ever post anything inappropriate, illegal, or derogatory.
  3. Never, ever retweet, repost, like, share, tag, or favorite anything  inappropriate, illegal, or derogatory
  4. Never, ever post, retweet, repost, like, share, tag, or favorite anything inappropriate, illegal, or derogatory, even if it’s via a private account with restricted access. Giving anyone else access to view that account makes it public.
  5. Keep control of your accounts at all times and never allow anyone you don’t fully trust to access it.
  6. Constantly monitor your accounts to ensure you know where you’ve been tagged, what’s appeared on your wall, and even where you’ve made comments, been retweeted, or have had others comment on your posts.
  7. Never, ever forget Rules 1-6.

Make It Public

Since you’re using social media as a vehicle to raise your public profile for coaches, all your social media accounts need to be public. Doing so makes it easy for coaches to find you and avoids any concern about what you might be hiding with a private account. But, as long as you’re following the common-sense rules above, having a public profile shouldn’t be any cause for alarm. 

Further, as mentioned in rule no. 4, remember that, if you share it with anyone else, there’s no such thing as a private account. Once one of your posts is sent, it’s public and out of your control, even if it’s an audience of your 10 closest friends. Anyone can copy one of your posts and, if it’s not something you’d want a coach, school administrator, or your parents to see, you shouldn’t post it anywhere, any time, in any account, public or private.

Also, don’t forget to use your real name, and be consistent across platforms, so coaches can find you easier. And, keep your DMs open so you don’t miss any messages from interested coaches.

Find The Programs Your Interested In And Follow and Like Them

The easiest way to keep current on the athletic programs you’re interested in is to follow their social media accounts. Take note of what those programs post and, when you’re in contact with a coach via text, direct message, or email, use those details to initiate a conversation and demonstrate your interest, knowledge, and enthusiasm for that program. Showing you’ve done your homework may even earn you a like or a follow from a coach.

In addition to the program, follow the coaches themselves, as well as the strength and conditioning coaches, the trainers, and even some team members. The information they post can offer valuable insights to that program, and helpful inroads to conversations with the coach.

Contact Coaches Faster With Direct Messages

Once you have your social media accounts set up, a profile established, and a bit of content showing who you are and what you’re about, reach out to coaches through direct messages. Though a coach may not always be able to respond, the convenience of a DM seems to generate faster replies than emails. You don’t need to share your life story, so keep it short and to the point. Mention what you like about the program, some stats or detail about yourself, and a link to your recruiting profile to give the coach easy access to all your information.

Accent Your Accomplishments, Contribute Meaningful Content

Sharing your highlights, stats, and accomplishments is what social media does best in the recruiting process. But, in addition to stats and videos, you can also use it to show who you are and what you’re about. That means also including content about academic or athletic awards, extracurricular activities and accomplishments, inspirational quotes, college visits, and more. Just remember to always keep it positive.

While the share or retweet button makes it easy, superfluous content (dog videos, pet pics, funny memes, etc) doesn’t belong in your timeline while you’re being recruited. If a coach is checking out your profile, make sure everything he or she sees paints a positive picture of you, without making them wade through irrelevant memes, videos, and retweets.

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