Mail has been all the rage in college football recruiting lately. Whether its through bombarding recruits with sheer volume of mail or being strategically brief, snail mail has made waves lately in the world of recruiting.
Other than attempting to single-handily save the U.S. Postal Service from bankruptcy, it turns out the “send a recruit 100 letters a day” trend has a strategic place in college football. USA Today interviewed coaches and recruits caught up in the phenomenon to find out A) why schools do this and B) if it actually works.
Like anything else, coaches are strategic about whose mailman they choose to burden with a day of triple-digit mail deposits.
“You’re going to hit the kids that are hitting social media,” said Chris Spognardi, assistant to Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones and one of the leaders of the program’s newfound effort to widen its social media impact.
“A certain kid from Georgia: We know he’s a very active social-media guy on Twitter,” Spognardi said. “So when we sent him the 102 letters we knew within days that he’s going to send these out – send out pictures. Every single time we’ve done it, it’s hit the media. … One, you want them to start saying, ‘Hey, I want to get the 102 letters.’ The next thing you know, they get it, and they’re going to post it. And the next thing you know, it gets legs and takes off.”
If sent to the right recruit, 100 letters to one kid can give schools a better bang for their 44 cent stamp than 100 letters to 100 kids.
“Going viral, obviously, anything that you do, you want to try to create content that’s going to get people to click that button, click the retweet button. And that’s really how the brand spreads and that’s how you grow your fan base and your audience,” said USC director of social media Jordan Moore.
Ultimately, this strategy is only an effective use of time if it actually works. So, let’s go straight to the source.
“It definitely makes an impact on me,” said Conner High School quarterback Drew Baker, a recipient of 115 Kentucky letters in one day. “I mean, it’s just so memorable and it really makes me feel special.”
“When you’re allowed to go into the homes, a lot of kids’ places, it looks like Geoff Collins did the wallpaper in their rooms,” said Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, author of the infamous “You’re a baller” letter. “My mailings or drawings or whatever nonsense I might be sending at the time, all (are) on their fridge.”