The front page of the Stillwater NewsPress on Wednesday is a top of the fold front page story and a front page column on the latest craze that has captured the nation and the college town of Stillwater, Okla. It is also a craze that Oklahoma State football head coach Mike Gundy has capitalized on and has received attention back on Twitter from his recruits, some committed and some still looking.
Pokémon Go is a new game from the people that brought you Pokémon and the way the game is locally adapted and easy to follow with the ability to play on your smartphone has led to approximately 2.4 million downloads and daily revenue for the apps stores of $1.6 million. It is a game of chase, which makes it related to a bigger game of chase known as college football recruiting.
Coaches are always looking for new ways to link up, attract attention with, and connect with high school football standouts. Like many coaches, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy is on Twitter and Facebook, so are his assistants and so is the football program as a whole. The other day Gundy, who has three sons with his wife Kristen, tweeted a picture of a Pokémon Go character chasing a target at Boone Pickens Stadium near the OSU logo at midfield. He had the text: Gotta catch 'em all. #POKEmon. It now has over 1,400 retweets and 2,600 likes.
Many of those are recruits like Oklahoma State commitment Tracin Wallace, a dual-threat quarterback at Fort Worth South Hills who could wind up as a quarterback, wide receiver, or defensive back at Oklahoma State. Tracin's twin brother, four-star wide receiver Tylan Wallace also is a Poke pledge in the 2017 recruiting class.
Tracin said Gundy's awareness of what he and his friends are into is a big reason for his success in recruiting.
“It was an awesome edit,” Wallace said in an ESPN blog. “I’m playing it and it was really cool to see him relate it to recruiting. That is another great thing about Oklahoma State.”
It has to help that Gundy has three sons, one a sophomore in college, another a freshman in high school, and another in middle school. Now you do need to call us at Go Pokes and report if you see the Oklahoma State head coach wandering around aimlessly in Stillwater looking for cartoon characters that are showing up on his phone.