ROANOKE, Va. – In July, the Virginia High School League announced it would be suspending its fall sports season to the spring. That put Virginia prep football players trying to get recruited by colleges in a tough position.
“It’s very frustrating because I was very excited for this season,” Radford quarterback Zane Rupe said.
“I sit out home Friday nights thinking how I could be out there playing football right now,” Salem fullback Caleb Leftwich said.
No fall season has left local high school athletes like Radford senior Pj Prioleau wondering what’s next.
“We just keep working out in the summer, keeping in contact with coaches on twitter because we can’t visit campuses,” Prioleau, a running back, said.
Prioleau only played handful of games before he was injured last season, right at the beginning of his junior year, which is a critical time for recruiting.
“Junior season was kind of important but I didn’t have it because of the injury,” Prioleau said. “So senior season was going to be a big one.”
He’s not alone. William Byrd senior Bryson Lutz was depending on his senior season to seal a chance at the next level.
“It was upsetting at first, but everything happens for a reason,” the offensive lineman said. “I have more time, get in shape, get ready for this upcoming season.”
But the situation only gets worse. The NCAA Division I council extended the recruiting dead period through January 1. That means coaches cannot interact with players in person, making way for the next best recruiting tool: Twitter.
Lord Botetourt head coach Jamie Harless swore he would never get into the twitter world, but now he’s utilizing the social platform to help his athletes get noticed.
“As stuck in my ways with a lot of concepts like I am, I realize there’s only one way I can help these guys,” Harless said. “It’s a mouthpiece that makes for more efficiency for the kids, and me as well.”
And as Leftwich says, the Twitter recruiting is an all-day, every day deal.
“Wake up, open twitter, you look at what coaches have their DM’s open for the day, send your film to them, and hopefully they respond back,” the junior said.
In 2020, one click may be worth more than any statistic.