It’s not easy for teams here in Chestnut Hill, Mass. to win at the most difficult sport in the NCAA: recruiting. Cold winters, facilities in dire need of improvement, and a load of stairs on campus don’t exactly appeal to most bright-eyed defensive ends and power forwards looking to spend their collegiate careers at Boston College. For a school that isn’t a historical (or current) annual powerhouse in any sport, save for hockey, coaches at BC need to come up with any advantage possible to reel in the country’s top prospects.
To do that, coaches have gotten creative with their pitches. BC joined other schools by putting its recruits’ faces on fake covers of Sports Illustrated lifting national championship trophies. As flattering as that would be to see your face on a magazine, every school uses that pitch now. For BC to consistently build a winner, coaches must redefine creativity and get the school’s name out there on social media. They must show high school seniors that BC is hip with the latest trends and that playing in Chestnut Hill is cool.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, BC Athletics has gone viral.
In its pursuit of three-star wide receiver Seth Dawkins, the football team’s recruiting staff sent him a letter modeled on the cover of Drake’s latest album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Dawkins posted a photo of the letter on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
It was certainly a risk for the Eagles. It’s safe to assume Steve Addazio and his coaching staff know the music tastes of 18- to 21-year-old college students. And if Dawkins preferred to don a cowboy hat and partake in a country music hoedown, who knows how he could have reacted to this recruiting attempt involving a rapper known for his generic style.
Fortunately for BC, Dawkins reacted positively and the Internet ate up the tweet. Sports media sites ranging from CBS to Bleacher Report shared the letter. Although it doesn’t guarantee Dawkins will commit any time soon—24/7 Sports touts ACC rival Louisville as a strong favorite to land the 6-foot-3 receiver—it may at least put the Eagles back into contention.
I don’t think it’s enough.
It’s an admirable first attempt for BC at trying to be culturally relevant. Addazio and men’s basketball coach Jim Christian should keep doing these sorts of recruiting gimmicks—even if they aren’t successful, they can further build up the BC brand.
But BC’s letter pales in comparison to the lengths other Power Five coaches go to win over the hearts of high schoolers. Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh mirrored four-star defensive tackle Boss Tagoloa’s “promposal” with a cute sign of his own. Alabama football’s Nick Saban sent 105 different letters highlighting individual aspects of the school to running back prospect Alvin Kamara.
No, BC coaches need to follow in Kim Kardashian’s footsteps and break the Internet to convince recruits to come to play on the court, field, or ice. To do this, they must go above and beyond the limits of possibility (and sanity). Here are some ideas Eagles’ coaches might consider when going out on the recruiting trail:
Steve Addazio plush figure: Remember from Toy Story when Woody would say, “There’s a snake in my boot,” after Andy pulled on the string on his back? The same concept applies here! Coach Addazio’s Vines have produced a plethora of phrases to use on this huggable (but ridiculously intimidating) plush toy of the man himself.
Swatch of Jerry York’s suit: Fangirls of a boy band melt when the lead guitarist throws his pick into the audience. Jerry York is the lead guitarist of a boy band called college hockey. One piece of his famous black suit with the blue tie should have any recruit swooning at its smell alone.*
*I cannot be held responsible if Coach York smells less than ideal.
Glitter bomb envelope: To be honest, I don’t think this would work as a recruiting tactic. But attack by glitter bomb is perhaps the cruelest and most hysterical prank anyone could pull. Plus, not all attempts at recruiting can be winners. Maybe a prospective Eagle would get a kick out of having to pick up millions of little plastic particles off of his carpet and legs.
Trip to a coal mine: Baseball coach Mike Gambino doesn’t believe players need to be coddled. They should want to come to BC for the tradition, the appeal of Boston, and because they like him as a coach. Any recruit with this offer from Gambino gets a trip to the school of hard knocks—a one-way descent into a coal mine. It’s also convenient because that’s where most BC sports have practice. Prospective BC athletes should probably get an idea of what they’re getting into by becoming Eagles.
Snow shoes and Bean boots: Lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer all play their games on Newton. With the massive snowfall in Boston this year, chances are the shuttle from Main Campus to the home of the freshmen. If coaches provide players with the proper footwear when they have to inevitably walk to their games, it’ll show that BC cares about the well-being of its athletes.
Sesame seed covered pretzels: An important part of growing up is finding new tastes. What could be better to develop your taste buds than trying out a new way of eating pretzels—pretzels I guarantee no recruit has ever previously tried. Share Conte Forum’s only “delicacy” with all recruits by introducing them to this … interesting … way of topping off this bread-based treat.
Basketball lineup card: It’s not as much of a recruiting pledge as a plea for help. If you fill out your name in the lineup and return it to Christian within a timely fashion, you’ll be inserted into BC’s basketball rotation.
Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Editor