Social media transforms National Signing Day for recruits, fans

Social media transforms National Signing Day for recruits and fans

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About 60 people flocked to Smoky Mountain Brewery Wednesday to catch Tennessee Sports Radio's live remote broadcast of National Signing Day. About 60 people flocked to Smoky Mountain Brewery Wednesday to catch Tennessee Sports Radio's live remote broadcast of National Signing Day.
"The minute a guy says I'm going to University of Tennessee, it is all over Facebook and Twitter, so it's very instant," said Rick Laney. "The minute a guy says I'm going to University of Tennessee, it is all over Facebook and Twitter, so it's very instant," said Rick Laney.
"It was sports talk radio, it was do you call in to the radio show? Do you...give the newspaper a quote to print the next day?" Erik Ainge said. "It was sports talk radio, it was do you call in to the radio show? Do you...give the newspaper a quote to print the next day?" Erik Ainge said.
"They want followers, they kind of like that hype to me," said Travis Carpenter, a Vol fan from Maryville. "They want followers, they kind of like that hype to me," said Travis Carpenter, a Vol fan from Maryville.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - High school football players all over the country signed letters of intent Wednesday.

About 60 people flocked to Smoky Mountain Brewery Wednesday to catch Tennessee Sports Radio's live remote broadcast of National Signing Day.  

"We knew most of the kids that were going to commit to UT in advance. There weren't many surprises, yet you still have people excited about it," said Rick Laney, president of Rick Laney Marketing. "They're watching their phones like a hawk. They're not taking their eyes off it."

Laney, a marketing expert, says social media has given both recruits and fans greater access to each other.

"The minute a guy says I'm going to University of Tennessee, it is all over Facebook and Twitter, so it's very instant," said Laney.  

Todd Kelly, Jr., a Webb School graduate, signed his Letter of Intent to play at UT Wednesday afternoon.    

Kelly made it clear long ago he was committing to UT through his Twitter handle, which has around 17,000 followers.  

"Anything you can do just to contact players, your friends, things like that is cool, so I used it," said Kelly.

Former UT Football quarterback Erik Ainge says things have changed dramatically since he committed to the Vols in 2004.    

"It was sports talk radio, it was do you call in to the radio show? Do you...give the newspaper a quote to print the next day?" Ainge said.  

6 News spoke to many Vol fans that follow members of this year's class recruiting class on Twitter and Facebook, giving them more reasons to be interested.

"They want followers, they kind of like that hype to me," said Travis Carpenter, a Vol fan from Maryville. "So, when all the fans follow them and give them good raves and reviews and say, 'hey man congratulations on being a Vol' it really just hypes everything up and pumps it up."

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