How Much Do Fans Influence Recruits?


This is a 2-part feature the first focusing on fans “influencing” recruits whether by being crazy at games, showing up to theirs, over twitter, etc. The second part will cover the recruiting violations that fans can get for their teams if they “recruit” the players themselves. 

Fans love to follow recruiting. Recruits love to be followed. Is there a correlation between the athlete and the fan that crosses over into a commitment to a particular university?

Websites like Rivals, Scout, 24/7 Sports, and many others are funded primarily through the fans that are interested and curious about recruiting and in particular who their school is recruiting. Fans tend to always be looking to that next class, the next big thing, before even the last class has had a chance to hit the field or the floor. Fans are hungry to see a 5-star athlete sign with their university that they dip their hand into “recruiting” the player themselves if they have the opportunity. Which sometimes can be an NCAA violation but that will come in Part 2.

Seton Hall is a great example of this, as recently the fan base, the coaching staff, the alumni, and the blogs dedicated to the school rallied around Kyle Anderson. A local, 5-star basketball recruit, to the New Jersey area. His first fall game over 60 Seton Hall fans showed up to


recruit him. The second game, they doubled their previous attendance and nearly 120 people dressed in Seton Hall ‘blue’ lined the stadium in hopes Kyle Anderson would sign on to be a Pirate. (Seton Hall site) said this about it:

"Not much more can be done by non-staff members to persuade Kyle Anderson to choose Seton Hall on September 20th."

While the fans went all out, in the end Anderson chose UCLA over Seton Hall. The Pirates haven’t had a 5-star recruit since 2000, according to In reality, it was impressive that Seton Hall made it as far as they did, all the way to the final two. For awhile they were even rumored to be in the lead for Anderson’s services.

Anderson may have chose UCLA over Seton Hall he was impressed by the fans that supported him and on many occasions said so on his personal twitter. Seton Hall may have had a shot primarily because of the fans.

Demarquise Johnson, a UW recruit, has said about his trip to WSU, “The people there are great…The fans support the sports programs and overall it is just a great place.” He reiterated, in his phone interview, multiple times that he was impressed with the fans and that the fans made a big impression on him when he was visiting WSU.

Johnson isn’t the only recruit that is looking to the fans as one of the reasons to attend a school. Many recruits have chose Duke basketball because of their rowdy student section over another school that was a close second.

Recruits like Anthony Bennett (another UW basketball recruit) and Brandon Beaver (a UW football recruit) will use their personal twitter account to interact with fans. Often they will ‘retweet fans’ that promote their respective university. They will ask the score of the football game of a school they are considering. They will even allow fans in on their recruitment process. Twitter is an avenue in which fans can interact with recruits and recruits with fans.

In fact, one twitter account was setup by a crazy Husky fan that is titled “ComeToUWJabaris” in reference to two of the top players in the class of 2013; Jabari Parker and Jabari Bird. In hopes, that the account itself will garner attention from the “Jabaris” and in some way get those two excited about the UW fan base.

Many fans do what they can but in the end, a good fan-base is going to be higher on some recruits lists than others. Many recruits will even have it high on their list but it will just be one factor out of many when they are weighing a school. If they don’t connect with the coaching staff but they love the fan-base, the recruit will not go to that school.

Recruiting is a big puzzle and recruits are trying to find which school fits them best. The fans may be a big part of it but they aren’t the only part of it. It could be a major piece but it is not the only piece.

Fans will constantly be interested in recruiting and as long as there is an avenue for them to “recruit” they will do their part. However, if fans go too far the NCAA could rule the recruit ineligible at that institution. Fans need to be careful just how much they “recruit” compared to “influence”. For Seton Hall it may have not worked out for Anderson but other recruits have noticed that Seton Hall is loyal and excited about their basketball program. This may be just want another recruit was looking for in a university.

Demarquise Johnson is visiting UW this weekend and he was impressed with the WSU fans, will he be more or less impressed with the Husky fans?

Do fans affect recruiting? Yes.