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In college recruiting world, Twitter has become game-changing tool for players, coaches

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • Beau Pribula has received offers from multiple Power Five schools.
  • He follows the same routine each time he posts an offer announcement on Twitter.
  • IUP coach Jim Smith uses player's Twitter posts to help grow the program.
Twitter posts such as this one, featuring Steel-High wideout Mehki Flowers, left, Manheim Township wideout Anthony Ivey, center, and Central York quarterback Beau Pribula have become commonplace in the college recruiting world.

At this point, Beau Pribula has his routine down pat.

Once the Central York High School sophomore quarterback gets off the phone with the latest college coach to offer him a scholarship, his next 10 minutes follow a similar format.

First, tell his parents. Sometimes that’s over the phone, or in person if they are together in the family’s home. Next, notify his coaches. Once all the people who helped him earn the opportunity know about his latest offer, it’s time to share it with his fans and online followers.

Before he can post the announcement to Twitter, Pribula has to spend some time and search for the three elements of a scholarship offer post. He normally includes the program’s logo, an overhead or panoramic picture of the university’s football field and a player from the school, usually a quarterback. 

Head coach with York County roots wants York County QB to play football in Connecticut

Pribula says he got the idea to incorporate those elements from other players he had seen post scholarship offers on Twitter and he really enjoys the moments after the call where he looks for photos on Google to share.

“That’s the most fun part,” Pribula said. “You look up pictures of their stadium and their players and it’s just really cool.”

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In recent years, the trend of posting college offers on social media, especially Twitter, has taken off across the nation. And it's not just NCAA Division I football offers, like the ones pouring in Pribula. Athletes from various sports are constantly posting offers and commitment announcements from colleges spanning every possible level — NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, junior college and NAIA.

Market the program: In addition to photos of the stadium and players or the school’s logo, Twitter offer announcement posts usually include the accounts of the coaches that recruited the player and a hashtag that’s unique to the program. Pribula always tags the coach that offered him. That list includes Penn State’s James Franklin, Rutgers’ Greg Schiano and Nebraska’s Scott Frost, to name just a few.

For the players getting recruited, the Twitter posts offer a moment of pride to show that their talents are sought after by coaches at the next level. For the programs, they offer a chance to sell their schools to other potential recruits they are interested in. 

Indiana University of Pennsylvania defensive coordinator Jim Smith has recruiting duties. He said that social media has completely changed how teams go after players. For Smith, whose recruiting territories include York, having the players share offers could help convince more targets to join the team.

IUP and Smith recruited York High senior Maurice Feazell to join the program this season and having Feazell’s commitment post include Smith and defensive line coach Anthony Leonard shows fellow prospects that were on visits or played against Feazell that IUP landed a sought-after player.

“We encourage them to do that because Maurice was here with other prospects from all over the state and if they know each other, sometimes that will help,” Smith said. “They will say, ‘Yo, Maurice is committed, I’m going to commit now.’ It makes our process a little easier and we’re able to market it some.”

Pribula has experienced some of that after he got his offer from Penn State. Steel-High wide receiver Mehki Flowers tweeted a photoshopped picture of himself, Pribula and Manheim Township wide receiver Anthony Ivey over PSU’s Beaver Stadium with a comment that read, “The move? #WeAre22.” 

Pribula and the pair of four-star wide receiver prospects from Pennsylvania hold offers from the state’s premier program for its 2022 recruiting class and it only helps the Nittany Lions chances if the trio and other in-state prospects see elite high school players posting about Penn State.

Enjoying the process: Another aspect that Pribula enjoys is the reaction from the schools’ fans after he posts that their favorite program has offered him a chance to play there. The responses roll in so frequently that the sophomore quarterback had to turn off Twitter notifications on his phone to prevent the inevitable constant buzzing after he posts.

“Whenever I post an offer, I get comments from the school’s fan base saying like, 'Go Big Red Nation' for Nebraska or 'We are for Penn State,' so I think fans like the posts and the pictures,” Pribula said. “I was surprised at first that all these schools have such great fan bases. So many people comment and say, ‘Come to our school,’ and it’s really fun.”

The advent of social media may have changed the way players are recruited, but for Pribula it’s important that the attention he receives from fans and followers doesn’t create problems for him. He said he tries to stay off his phone as much as possible and only shares offers he or his teammates receive. 

“The whole recruiting process is really fun for me right now,” Pribula said. “The social media doesn’t really bother me that much. I don’t really pay attention to it and really the only time I go on Twitter is to post an offer, so it stays fun.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.