Iman Marshall is not the first high school athlete to use social media to garner attention during the recruiting process. Athletes use twitter so often that it would not be surprising if it replaced the traditional faxed letter of intent as the preferred means of making a commitment to a school (that’s a little sarcasm, folks, but it seems to be heading that way).
Social media gives us instantaneous information to the thought process – or lack of – today’s high school athlete. Die-hard fans live and die on the words of 16, 17 and 18 year old kids. Marshall proved that with his twitter announcement.
In case you missed the tweet, Marshall has narrowed the list of schools he plans to use his official visits on down to six. Notre Dame, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Texas and Oklahoma made the cut. Marshall plans to take advantage of all five of his official visits. The Fighting Irish, Seminoles, Tigers and Wolverines seem to be safe. The fifth visit comes down to Texas and Oklahoma. Rather than decide himself, Marshall is leaving it in the hands of the fans of these two schools to sway him one way or the other. The winner will presumably get the honor of being the last school on his visit wish list.
This begs the question: Is Iman Marshall the type of athlete Charlie Strong wants on his team?
Strong has spent the last eight-plus months reshaping the culture and attitude on the Forty Acres. Players are required to live on campus. Everyone walks to practice rather than ride the bus. The historic longhorn sticker was removed from the helmets – players have to earn the right to have it displayed on their headgear.
Players who didn’t want to buy in to the change were dismissed from the team. The coaches are running the Texas football program now, not the other way around. Where does Marshall’s twitter antics fit?
Don’t get me wrong, Marshall is an extremely talented player. Just read his scouting report. He will help whichever team he settles on. Texas will need to replace several players in secondary in the coming years, so Marshall would be a great addition. You just have to wonder if he is willing to buy into the program Strong is trying to build.
Strong has said he is not a fan of social media. He is probably less of a fan of a guy who promotes himself on it. The challenge for the Texas coach is that more and more athletes are taking to twitter to express their views on schools. Strong can’t stop this, so he might have to bite the bullet and play along like the rest of us.
Marshall may very well be using his twitter challenge just for fun. There is no law against that. Perhaps he plans to major in Marketing and is testing his promotional theories via social media. Has there ever been a high school football player to pit one set of fans versus another via social media? He could be a trailblazer.
One thing is for sure, if he was after attention, he certainly found it. The question now is does he have Strong’s attention?