(WEHT) – Recruiting in high school football has evolved from the pitch to the phone.
In response to the pandemic, college coaches have dramatically reduced in-person screening of high school rookies.
With coaches across the country limiting their in-person contact at high school athletic events, recruiting has gone virtual.
“I remember my sophomore year, Jon Nalley was here, he would bring coaches to the school and come talk to him, and since COVID none of that has happened. No coach came to school and said nothing, or came to games. So really, everything is virtual.
Joe Humphreys must have learned this lesson firsthand. The 3-star Daviess County quarterback led the state by spending last season in 6A, and is currently leading his senior season.
However, it has struggled to gain the major attention it seeks. So his father Todd took matters into his own hands. As a commercial real estate agent, Todd has experience marketing properties online and has decided to apply the same strategy to his son.
“I just told my life story, ‘Look, Joe is kind of like a property,’ Todd said, ‘and that’s kind of what I do for a living. He is not really present on social networks. So he didn’t have the time and didn’t know what to do, so I just thought, I’m just going to start a recruiting page. I’ll work this for him.
Todd created a Twitter account, called Kentucky QB Recruiting, dedicated to promoting his son’s highlights and stats throughout the season. He tags college coaches across the country in tweets in hopes they hook up with Joe.
“It wasn’t even my idea. I didn’t go to him to ask if he could start it, he just came up to me and said, “Hey, I created this Twitter page. I’m going to help promote you and your teammates. ; I’m going to retweet all their stuff. He just started posting stuff about me and getting my name out there, and that really helped me.
Just a month after the account was created, Humphreys finally began to gain the attention of college coaches.
“From January, he started to receive offers. He got an offer from Eastern, I think it was the first, and then Murray and Appalachian State. He started getting offers there. We started to bond. We started to have coaches who follow him and send him messages.
Humphreys has now collected nine Division I bids, and that number is expected to continue to rise. His father estimated that at least half of those schools found out through his recruiting account.
The high school recruitment landscape has changed dramatically. In the digital age, gamers have to promote their games off the grill just as hard as they do on it.
Humphreys is unsure where he will play his next four years of college football. He just controls what he can control.
“Right now, my main focus is on the season, on the team. We have games to win, and that’s secondary. It doesn’t matter what comes next outside of high school season, then we’ll take it from there. Obviously I’m going to be able to play football at a very good school, which is a huge blessing.