The technology geniuses behind UW athletics are setting a standard around the country. While, most universities were airing a live stream of a fax machine, tweeting hours behind, or just not saying anything until the press conference in the late afternoon, the Huskies were on the cutting edge of National Signing Day.
It wasn’t just one featured item that was impressive, almost everything they did was top-notch when it came to announcing and showcasing their newest commitments.
The gohuskies.com main page was featured with a timeline at the top that showed at what point news was coming in of certain recruits. The timestamp would correspond with the arrival of their national letter of intent, and it would show a picture of the recruit on the timeline. Below that feature, was a live chat where Husky fans could interact with UW athletics, Gregg Bell, and others throughout the day.
The site also showcased a map, which would drop a pin in the location the recruit was from, after his letter would come in. You could easily see where Coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff was having the most success.
There was also an updating list of the newcomers with a roster type feel to it, featuring their height, weight, postion, and location. And if you were to click on their name, the GoHuskies.com staff already had their official University of Washington Bio loaded and ready.
This is already an impressive list but they still had two more things up their sleeves. One being, Coach Sark was live tweeting whenever a letter of intent would arrive. He would post a link to his blog, CoachSark.com, which had a short bio and some photos of each new player.
Finally, the most impressive feature of all and one of the most talked about new ways to introduce the additions to the Husky football team was the “Virtual Highlight Videos”. These videos were simulations of what a new Husky would look like and play like in a Husky uniform. They took the video game NCAA 12 by EA Sports and used that to help them create these players and simulate highlights. There was one for every single recruit that came to UW on the UW Athletics youtube page.
Coachingsearch.com called it the most creative thing from this year’s signing day. It was outside the box and not something that you normally would see. Fans in the chat on gohuskies.com were raving about it and loved the idea that they could “see” the new players on the field. Many loved to see Shaq Thompson intercepting passes away from the Oregon Ducks and against USC. Watching Damion Turpin take down the Cougars quarterback and messing up the Oregon running attack. It is fun for fans and gets them excited even if those virtual highlights are a few years away.
And while it was impressive for the fans, I think the new additions loved it even more. Shaq Thompson said on his twitter page “love the video”. Brandon Beaver also said, “me on NCAA! haha swaaaaaaaaaag!” and then linked the video for his twitter followers.
The idea was smart, and showed that UW makes a big deal about their incoming players, and if anything, this only helps them recruit in the future. Sure, it’s not a huge deal like a 4 million dollar weight room or a personal relationship with a coach. But kids have chosen to go to certain schools for less. High school students talk about these things, it also gets them excited and creates a desire to see themselves in a “video game”. This may not be a huge selling point but a selling point none the less.
All in all, the Huskies made a big impression on National Signing Day and Husky fans enjoyed it, the new players enjoyed it, and plenty of people noticed it.
Here is an example of one of the virtual highlight videos: