Thursday, January 26, 2012
Updated: January 27, 1:21 PM ET
Recruits use social media to break ice
By Bob Przybylo
Stepping onto a college campus for the first time can be pretty intimidating, especially if you're going to a school where you don't know a single person.
Oklahoma quarterback commit Trevor Knight (San Antonio/Reagan) knew that and wanted to help ease that transition. And before he'll ever be considered a leader on the field, Knight already has become a leader for the 2012 recruiting class.
Knight committed to Texas A&M last spring before switching to the Sooners in July. Not long after, Knight took the first of several steps he has made to show what a natural leader he is.
Knight wanted to find a way to get in touch with his future teammates and had just the way. He created an invite-only Facebook page for all the Sooners' commits in the Class of 2012.
"I started the page so that all of us could keep in contact as a group," Knight said. "I think it has turned out working great and really allowed us to stay in closer contact and start that close-knit family atmosphere that is needed on a team that wants to be successful."
During the football season, the commits would get online and talk about their games as well as talk about how OU did that week. It became a way for the recruits to get introduced to each other.
At this point, the Facebook page isn't nearly as important because it served its purpose. Almost all the OU commits know each other and communicate on Facebook and Twitter.
"It definitely helped to get to know each other," receiver Durron Neal (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) said. "Now though, we're all so close. We're like a family. It's great."
It has reached a point to which the Facebook page isn't that necessary. Twitter became the link for running back Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and tight end Taylor McNamara (San Diego/Westview).
Ross was one of the first commits to the OU class, but he has been known as one of the more quiet recruits. Twitter has started to bring out his personality, something McNamara said he realized when the two were on their official visit to OU on Dec. 16.
"That first day, I thought he was just a real quiet kid that wasn't going to say much," McNamara said. "By the next day, we're having lunch, and I'm seeing how funny he is. It got me excited about playing at OU and getting to know him better."
By the end of the visit, Ross and McNamara were chatting on Twitter and the duo hasn't stopped talking since.
OU has branched out for this year's class. The Sooners are a national entity, and a year like this proves it. OU has three commits from Florida, three from California, five from Texas, two from Kansas, two from Oklahoma and one from Missouri, Maryland and Illinois. Social media has helped bridge the gap.
Linemen Ty Darlington (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) and John Michael McGee (Texarkana, Texas/Texas) met each other for the first time on their official visit Dec. 16. But because of social media, they were comfortable with each other immediately.
"Ty was exactly who I thought he was. He's like a big nerd. I love him," McGee said. "He's so smart, and he's going to mean so much to the team. I cannot wait to play with him."
Bob Przybylo covers football and basketball recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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