The social media obsession by high school aged kids that started a decade or so ago forever changed how most coaches and athletic programs approached recruiting. Every college athletics program in the country quickly realized (some faster than others) that with social media, recruiting moving forward would forever change, and quickly adapting become absolutely vital.
While college football programs were quick to find ways to connect with tomorrow’s generation of recruits, a number of college coaches weren’t as quick to adapt. Still, some have chosen not to, and one of those that still hasn’t embraced social media is Nick Saban, who still doesn’t have a Twitter account.
Saban is definitely in the minority of Power 5 head coaches, but there is at least one other coach at the major college level who opts to not utilize social media – Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith.
Smith, who started his college career as a walk-on before earning the starting quarterback job where he led the team to an 11-1 season in 2000, is entering his second year leading his alma mater through a rebuilding project. The Beavers finished 2-10 last season, and 1-8 in Pac-12 play.
According to Oregon Live, Smith sees the value in social media and how programs like Oregon use it to connect with kids, but opts for a more old-school approach to stay true to himself.
“Maybe I’m old school, but I’m just not on it that much. I’m way more into phone calls that I can have with recruits rather than retweeting their picture. That doesn’t say I’m right for doing it and they’re wrong. It’s just a different way of doing it.”
Why phone calls over social media? Smith believes, for him, it’s more authentic.
“I’m more into the authentic relationship,” Smith shared.
While it will take a few years to see how the 2019 recruiting class actually shakes out and develops, it’s worth noting that the Beavers class ranks 68th nationally, while Oregon’s ranks 7th and the best in the Pac-12.
There are certainly some coaches out there that take a similar approach alongside Smith, the question becomes whether it can be effective enough to turn the program in Corvallis around.
Head here to read more on Smith’s approach, and more on what he thinks of how the Ducks do things too.