Beyond the “Likes”: Refocusing High School Football Recruitment

We are in the age of everything being digital. The magic, arbitrary spotlight that social media shines has bled into most everything there is – even high school football recruiting. With Instagram and Twitter, and TikTok entering the fold as well, certain athletes are more conscious of making a name online and showing off likes, followers, and retweets. Having social media is very useful for networking and self-promotion, yet the obsession with it has gone on to derail many young athletes from what should have been more important: their athletic development and paths to their recruitment.

At Signing Day Sports, where we have had the privilege of working with tens of thousands of high school athletes across the country, we’ve observed a concerning trend among players who prioritize social media validation over their athletic development. Instead of spending extra hours in the gym, studying game film, or attending skills camps, many athletes invest their time and energy into curating the perfect Instagram feed or crafting self-indulgent tweets in hopes of gaining recognition from their peers.

The few who do not seem to realize this need to understand that though social media fame may stroke their egos for some time, it means nothing as far as perception goes for college coaches and recruiters. That summer camp ad or that highlight that got 800 likes indeed is a killer in the eyes of peers, but it does next to nothing for them in a recruiting sense. More often than not, paying too much attention to social media fame can be a reason colleges see a lack of seriousness on their end. It can signify misplaced priorities or just a general lack of commitment to the sport that they outwardly appear (or intend to appear) to place all of their time and energy into.

An unrelenting pursuit of validation through social media can affect the athletes’ mental health and general well-being. It fosters a need to constantly compare oneself to others, and an obsession over the number of likes and ways to seek outside sources to bestow personal self-worth. This is a pretty surefire way to feel inadequate or anxious. In a hyper-competitive environment such as high school football recruitment, every little bit is said to help; therefore, an athlete cannot afford to decline in mental health linked to the pursuit of validation through social media profiles.

As the Signing Day Sports footprint in the world of high school football recruiting grows, it is only fair to our athletes to encourage awareness and education. And we want to call for our athletes to try to stave off these clear social media pitfalls and focus their energy on what matters most: their athletic growth and the recruitment journey. 

We do, however, encourage athletes to use social media within some set limits, not at the expense of their physical and mental health. Our app, for example, is intended to be a positive use of social media and a tangible way for athletes to further their recruitment.

Student-athletes should spend their energy building real relationships with college coaches, going to recruiting events and camps, and putting what they bring on the field into action, rather than focusing on the volume of likes or followers. The athletes will also help themselves be more focused on specific steps of action, which in themselves will enhance both recruitment outcomes on and off the field.

The allure of social media fame may be tempting, but it is ultimately a distraction from what truly matters in the world of high school football recruiting. Athletes must resist the urge to prioritize likes and followers over their athletic development and recruitment prospects. By refocusing their energy on tangible goals and meaningful connections, athletes can maximize their chances of success in the highly competitive world of collegiate football recruitment.

Leave a comment