Off the Gridiron: The social media quarterback

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(WEHT) – Recruiting in high school football has evolved from the field to the phone.

In response to the pandemic, college coaches have dramatically decreased in-person scouting of high school recruits.

With coaches across the country limiting their in-person contact at high school sporting events, recruiting has gone virtual.

“I remember back to my sophomore year, Jon Nalley was here, he would have coaches come to the school and come talk to him, and since COVID, none of that’s been able to happen. No coaches have come to the school and said anything, or came to the games. So really it’s all virtual.”

Joe Humphreys has had to learn that lesson firsthand. The 3-star Daviess County quarterback lead the state in passing last season in 6A, and is currently leading in his senior season.

However, he’s struggled to garner the high-major attention he’s looking for. So, his father Todd, took matters into his own hands. As a commercial real estate agent, Todd has experience in marketing properties online, and decided to apply that same strategy to his son.

“I just told my life, ‘Look, Joe’s kind of like a piece of property,” said Todd, “and this is sort of what I do for a living. He doesn’t really have much of a social media presence. So he didn’t have time and didn’t know what to do, so I just thought, I’ll just start a recruiting page. I’ll work this for him.”

Todd created a Twitter account, called Kentucky QB Recruiting, dedicated to promoting his son’s highlights and stats throughout the season. He tags college coaches across the country in tweets in hopes that they’ll connect with Joe.

“This wasn’t even my idea. I didn’t go up to him and ask if he could start it, he just came up to me and was like, ‘Hey, I made this Twitter page. I’m going to help promote you and your teammates; I’ll retweet all their stuff. He just started posting stuff about me and getting my name out there, and it really helped.”

Just a month after the account was created, Humphreys finally began to attract some attention from college coaches.

“Starting in January, he started getting offers. He got an offer from Eastern, I think was the first one, and then Murray and Appalachian State. He started getting some offers in there. We started making connections. We started getting coaches following him and messaging him.”

Humphreys has now garnered nine Division I offers, and that number is expected to keep growing. His dad estimated that at least half of those schools found out about him through his recruiting account.

The landscape of high school recruiting has evolved tremendously. In the digital age, players have to promote their games off the gridiron just as hard as they do on it.

Humphreys is undecided on where he’ll be playing his next four years of college football. He’s simply controlling what he can control.

“My main focus right now is on the season, on the team. We’ve got games to win, and that’s secondary. Whatever comes after outside of the high school season, then we’ll go from there. Obviously I’m going to be able to play football at a very good school, which is a huge blessing.”

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