Oklahoma's Bob Stoops raised eyebrows this week by seemingly encouraging his team's fans to make contact with recruits -- and sell them on the Sooners -- via social media.
Some of the dangers of that approach were illustrated by an online exchange Thursday evening between five-star Oxford, Ala. running back recruit Racean "Roc" Thomas and an Alabama fan, one screencapped by al.com. The usually media-shy Thomas was answering questions on the social media site ask.fm when a Tide supporter wrote:
ROC the right choice for ya is to join the best damn program in the nation!!!! why would you even consider a trash ass school like AW-BARN?!? its a no brainer really
I don't think you get it. I earned the opportunity, the offers, the choices. So I can decide wherever whether its auburn bama or ITT tech! I'm not here to make you or any other fan happy. My goal is to put a smile on my FAMILYS' face !
Though the ITT Tech reference shows that Thomas at least has a sense of humor about things, the rest of his answer shows that he's a little peevish about the constant barrage of pick-a-school pressure a recruit of his stature faces.
In the end, a single online question (or even dozens) likely won't swing Thomas's decision one way or the other. (For what it's worth, the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions on Thomas already leaned heavily to Auburn.) But his irritation shows that if online sales pitches might do some schools some good with some recruits, it's likely not always the right approach -- and that's before accounting for the NCAA violation-slash-creepiness factor.