Auburn and Georgia Football Battle on Social Media (video)


Auburn fired a tweet at Georgia football and the Bulldogs retaliated within hours. Forget cheating – if you ain’t tweetin’, you ain’t tryin’.

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Just off the radar of Bulldog recruiting fans during the last decade has been social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest combined with videos, clever hashtags and movie trailers. But the new tools of the recruiting trade made contact with even casual Georgia fans this week with Auburn running back coach Tim Horton’s tweet directed at the fertile home recruiting grounds of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Bulldog’s response.

Coach Horton has over 15,000 followers and you can bet your eating money hundreds are football recruits. Within hours, the Bulldogs tweeted a massive retaliation to the 158,000 followers of Georgia Football.

In the twenty-first century, social media savvy is as important as recruiting momma.

The first effective use of social media recruiting may be coach Herb Hand’s work  at Vanderbilt for former head coach James Franklin. Hand arrived in Nashville in 2010 and a two win Vandy team became a nine game winner by 2012. “While Coach Hand is sending out tweets with clever hashtags and creating meaningful relationships online, Alabama and South Carolina have yet to expose real expertise within the socialsphere.” (Evok Advertising)

Now at Penn State, Franklin had to rein in Hand’s twitter attacks on Pitt.

Since 2012, it has been all hands on deck for social media in college athletic programs.’s Scott Patsko reported on the case of Nordonia (Ohio) football player Justice Alexander. Alexander has over 1100 tweets in February. “(College) coaches were the main reason I got on Twitter,” said Alexander. “They would say, ‘Follow me on Twitter.’ I said, ‘I don’t have Twitter.’ They’d say, ‘Get on there so you can DM me questions.’”

And it’s a two way street, with players using social media to catch the eye of college coaches.

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“Twitter and Instagram, that’s what I use to promote my kids with videos,” said Garfield Heights (Ohio) boys basketball coach Sonny Johnson to Patsko. “During the season it’s hard for coaches to get out and evaluate kids because they’re in their season, too, and some of them are miles away and in other states.”

Social media is a multifaceted tool, and of the facets, video posting is the biggest.

University of Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez told the idea of a movie style trailer was a serendipitous stroke of imagination, saying. “If we’re going to get dressed up, why don’t we film a trailer?”

The thought inspired an Old Western-style movie preview featuring Rodriguez and his staff. Videos often go viral and posting them with social media is the ultimate social media tactic. spoke to Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples. “The NCAA’s rules are pretty strange. For instance, you’re not allowed to text a football recruit. You can text a basketball recruit but not a football recruit. If you can’t send a text message and we know that human beings under 18 don’t pick up the phone anymore — they don’t use the phone as a phone — what Pat and those guys have figured out is that right now the best way to communicate with them is Twitter direct message.”

Across the desert, Staples told the Sun Devils are shooting for nearly constant contact. “[Arizona State’s objective] is to put something Arizona State related in their head every day on their phone. Put it in their Twitter feed, put it in their Instagram feed.”

But it’s complicated

“Recruits’ parents are on Facebook, so recruits aren’t on Facebook because they don’t want their parents seeing what they’re up to.”

Recruiting changes, but parenting doesn’t.

Next: Will the Dorm Craze Come to Bulldog Basketball?