"There is no question and recruiting has changed tremendously and the access that fans have to these young men and these young men being able to respond back to them is unlimited," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said on signing day. "I'm not a big supporter of it, but it is what it is. People that love their team, if they're not involved in instant messaging these kids then they are behind."
Having covered recruiting I can see the same things that Gundy saw. In fact, you could never check some prospect's twitter pages without seeing a multitude of re-tweets from fans.
Dallas South Oak Cliff running back Jordan Stevenson was an excellent example as "love notes" from Wisconsin fans were always there. It was constant and it was complimentary and prospects like it.
Tennessee recruits were bombarded by almost a seemingly organized wave of Vols fans on social platforms. I'm ashamed to say it but there were even some school's reporters from recruiting websites engaged in some exchanges.
"It's almost laughable at a certain point the impact of school's fans that can promote their school and show the interest to these players way beyond what we can do as coaches because there are limitations on what we can do as far as contacting and communicating with them," Gundy explained. "I think they are trying to control it, but how much can you control that is out there right now?"
It's another hazard and factor that college coaches are going to have to learn about, learn from, and try to adapt to. As for fans, they have a choice as to whether they are going to engage in going from observing recruiting to being recruiters on Twitter, Instagram, and Snap Shot.