For this issue of The Local Voice, I gave a bit of a football 'crootin season primer before explaining how too many fans take this time of year - the time between the end of the college football season and National Signing Day - way too seriously. Of course recruiting itself is very serious business, as evidenced by the time and resources many college football coaching staffs, ours included, put into the endeavor. But any behavior beyond the actions undertaken by coaches
and boosters if you know what I mean wink wink is neither helpful or at all not-creepy.
I will spare you the nit and grit of the column to bring you its meat, here:
This following month could, therefore, be one of the most valuable and productive months thus far in the young Hugh Freeze era. The Rebels could conceivably wind up with one of the top incoming freshmen classes in the SEC, if not the entire nation, setting the stage for future successes at Ole Miss. There are plenty of reasons for us Rebels to be excited, and it is in considering this that I must caution our fans to not only temper their expectations but to react appropriately with regards to these recruits.
It is somewhat bothersome that I feel compelled to caution anyone with regards to their conduct towards 17- or 18-year-old boys which are, most likely, complete strangers to them, but in the world we live in today - where college football fandom collides regularly with social media interaction - such caution cannot be stressed enough. Fans of all ages and stripes have and will continue to woo recruits towards their favorite teams via a method that I can only best describe as "pestering them on Facebook and Twitter."
The aforementioned Robert Nkemdiche had to take a lengthy hiatus from social media platforms due to the constant barrage of comments, questions, and pleas he received from college football fans. His friend and fellow potential Rebel Laquon Treadwell has been baselessly accused of violating NCAA recruiting rules by fans of our rival institutions. Laremy Tunsil, an offensive line start out of Florida, was even briefly impersonated by someone who opened an impostor Twitter account under his name.
Think about that last one for just a second. If pestering or hinging on the online words of high schoolers isn't strange enough, now you have people actually impersonating them (and for what gain?).
Even our fellow Rebels are not without sin in this regard, as they have questioned the motives of recruits who have turned Ole Miss down for the opportunity to play elsewhere.
Perhaps an argument could be made for current college students reaching out to players over social media and elsewhere, as they are conceivably old enough to actually know and socially interact with these football players on a regular basis. But when middle-aged boosters begin to do it, it crosses the line from online social interaction to something downright creepy. Remember, these guys are going to make the decisions they do based on reasons which are more-than-likely not at all related to your Twitter or Facebook accounts, so getting your feelings hurt when they don't make the decision that you want them to is, and I put this politely, oddly arrogant.
Fellow Rebel fans, I too understand the importance of recruiting, and I too really do want the best football players we can get to don the red and blue to represent Ole Miss on fall Saturdays. But we've got to trust the coaches in their skills as evaluators and recruiters. They've given us no reason to think otherwise, so let's give them a chance to do the work they get paid to do. I'm sure that they will not let us down.
So, yeah, don't be creepy on the internet, y'all.