Football

Hey, you. Yeah, you.

The one with their fingers hovered feverishly over their laptop or phone keyboard, ready to send out an angry or pleading message to your favorite high schooler.

You’re about to tweet at a recruit, aren’t you?

I can see the twinkle of the “reply” button in your eyes. But I implore thee: If the recruit tweets about a school you don’t like, or you can’t find your university on his shoddy “I’ve narrowed it down to 30 schools” graphic, stop. Take a breather, sing a happy song and think back to these three reasons you should never, ever, ever, ever (ever) tweet at recruits.

They’re probably far younger than you

It’s Thanksgiving Day. You’re a teenager wallowing in angst and discovering the world, and your grandmother on your dad’s side hits you with the questions over her mediocre stuffing: “What are your plans after college? What are you going to do for the rest of your life?”

You don’t know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. You don’t even know what you’re going to do tomorrow, but if you don’t have an answer, you get pestered. Grandma will ask why you aren’t doing A or B, or if you’ve ever considered how much money this job or that job makes.

That four-star receiver out of Lakewood High? He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life yet, either. And someone possibly three times his age hitting him with a #HottyToddy isn’t going to change his mind. Teenagers particularly dislike it when adults try to tell them what to do, so do not throw his handle into your Twitter drafts expecting them to take your eloquent advice to heart.

You are (probably) not at all qualified to give them advice

When a football player is mulling over which college to go to, who do you think he consults? Position coaches at his chosen universities? The staff on his high school team who have helped develop recruits to play at the next level, perhaps?

He sure as hell doesn’t ask Steven, a 39-year-old accounting major 17 years out of an education system. He probably doesn’t care about how it feels to sit in the student section or your favorite gameday chants, because his experience in college is likely going to be wildly different than yours was.

He cares about a college athletic program making him the best player he can be and surrounding him with the tools he needs to succeed. Chances are, you haven’t experienced any of those things firsthand. So next time you just barely scrape by the word limit telling a recruit who won’t read your tweet how kind and accommodating the OL coach is at UCLA, stop for a moment and think: Do you really know that?

You are not going to become best friends with this recruit

After you’ve added those five gator emojis or dropped that totally fire jersey edit you made in Photoshop into a recruit’s mentions, what exactly are you expecting to hear back?

You may be one of the fortunate ones and get a retweet or perhaps be gifted with that one quizzical eyes emoji in a reply to your tweet. But these kids are faced with perhaps the biggest decision of their lives, and it’s almost a certainty that no amount of stadium pictures from Google Images or highlight reels set to public domain trap music are going to make you anything more than a Twitter account to them.

If they do choose your school, it is extremely unlikely that your picture collage congratulating them for receiving an offer was a crucial part of their decision. If they don’t choose your school, angrily making terrible puns to belittle their new home won’t make them change their mind, either.

You don’t know these kids. You will almost certainly never know these kids, and so next time you’re about to hit send on that tweet to assure a recruit that you’ll support them wherever they choose to go (so long as it is your school), please.

Don’t tweet at recruits.

Follow River on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].

River Wells is a sports writer for the Alligator and covers the University of Florida women’s tennis team. He has previously covered UF swimming and diving. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2017.