Decommits, Social Media, and the Recruiting Process

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4-star South Carolina defensive end Michael Barnett decommitted from Virginia Tech yesterday.  Although he says the fact that he recently got an Alabama offer has nothing to do with his decommitment, it’s not a coincidence in my opinion.

These guys are 16-17 years old, and although you and I might follow recruiting closely each year, they don’t.  They are seeing the process for the first time, and they are seeing it through a different set of eyes than yours and mine.  They are seeing it through the eyes of college prospects who might not have grown up a fan of any particular team.  They are seeing it through the eyes of someone who is being tugged in many different directions by kids at school, college coaches, handlers in some cases, and even fans on Twitter.

I took a look at Michael Barnett‘s Twitter feed today.  He’s got fans of schools coming at him from all over.  There are NC State, Alabama, Clemson and Virginia Tech fans encouraging him to take his time and make the right decision, while also letting him know that their own school would be his correct decision!  He’s retweeting a lot of the comments, and in general seems to be enjoying the process.

Barnett is going to string a lot of people out between now and the time he makes his final decision.  Not because he’s a bad person, but because of several other factors.

1: People get emotionally wrapped up in individual recruits.  They can’t help it, and they are pushed into that mode of thought by