"Twitter is the Wild West of recruiting," five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) said. "I've had some weird things tweeted at me, crazy things. Some I can't say. It does get to the point where fans will tell you, 'If you come to my school, I'll give you this.' 'I'll throw a party for you.' 'I'll name my kid after you,' and stuff like that."
Darryl Revels is a 50-year-old former assistant high school basketball coach in Phoenix. He works as an electronics technician and is also a huge USC fan. He believes Jackson is the key to the Trojans' returning to greatness under Steve Sarkisian.
That's why Revels, under the Twitter handle @DarrylRebs50, has made it a goal to do everything he can to make sure Jackson feels the love from USC fans. He's got only about 140 tweets since he launched his account in early December, but more than 80 of them have been recruiting pitches to Jackson.
"I'm not sure if it impacts him at all," Revels said. "But I believe fans feel like they're helping their schools out. I'm an emotional and intense person who has seen USC get the shaft, so that's why I tweet to Adoree'. I don't believe I've upset him with anything I've said. His L.A. swagger and personality is tailor-made for USC, not LSU or these other schools. I feel like SC has a better education, immediate playing time, a great track and field program and great new staff."
Revels is aware it's against NCAA rules to interact with recruits and would stop immediately if asked to. He also understands the concern from coaches that the wrong message about a program could be passed along by fans through social media to prospects.
"If USC coaches feel that way, I would stop immediately," Revels said. "I definitely don't want to hurt USC any more than it already has been. But I would be elated if just one of my tweets to him made a difference for USC."
Revels' passion for his favorite program isn't isolated to just USC. Recruits all over the country are getting contacted on a daily basis by fans of schools big and small. Revels mostly touts USC in his tweets, but he'll also take aim at other schools Jackson is considering, including Florida and Tennessee.
And it's those tweets that concern coaches.
"I'm going to sound biased, but I'm even more appalled by what fans of some of our competition posts to the guys we're recruiting," said Dayne Brown, Southern Mississippi's director of high school relations. "It's just turned into a monster. People can get on there and say positive or negative things to a young person with no repercussions. I don't have the answer, but I know it's just not right."
With today's volatile world of social media, fans can hide behind a screen name and the volume of tweets directed at prospects expands exponentially minute by minute, and most coaches agree it's impossible to police.
"You see some of the kids are going to a private account to try and eliminate that, which is probably one of the smartest things you can do," TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie said. "That way, you don't have anybody bugging you that you don't already know. It's probably the best thing to do. That or not have an account at all."
People @ me on twitter & say the most immature and stupid things lol