Friday, April 1, 2016

Strange but Effective Recruiting Tactics in College Football

Joker Phillips, wide receiver coach for the Florida Gators, used an interesting tactic to attract potential recruits. Joker Phillips got a kick out of referring to himself as the Joker from Batman. Not only did Phillips tweet out to the general public, but he tweeted to specific players as well. One of his tweets in April of 2013 read: “The message is CLEAR. It’s now on YOU. #ComePlayWRforTheJoker @TreyBurton8 @QuintonDunbar1 @Pitt_2time @AndreDeBose4.” Along with the tweets, coach Phillips attached several memes such as this. 

Perhaps these young athletes loved watching the batman movies growing up as 3 of the 4 committed to Florida and went on to play in the National Football League. Hats off to you Mr. Joker, your dog whistle approach may have been the reason these boys committed.

Back in 2002, when Chuck Amato was North Carolina State’s Head Football Coach, he used his singing voice to attract a highly sought after recruit. A.J. Davis verbally committed to the North Carolina Tarheels a week before signing day, causing coach Amato to try any tactic possible to get Davis to the Wolfpack. According to Sports Illustrated, Amato immediately called Davis following the commitment and sang Return to Me by Dean Martin. Here are a few lyrics from Return to Me:

Return to me
Oh my dear I'm so lonely
Hurry back, hurry back
Oh my love hurry back I'm yours
Return to me
For my heart wants you only
Hurry home, hurry home
Won't you please hurry home to my heart

Was Coach Amato intentionally manipulating the use of pathos by hoping cornerback recruit A.J. Davis would feel sorry for him? Or did he just have an amazing voice? We may never know. However, this we know – Davis started 23 games for the Wolfpack before declaring for the NFL draft and joining the Detroit Lions.

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