January 31, 2011
Everyone is on Facebook ... except one of the nation's top football recruits, who officially logged off the site last week after he blamed it for making his recruiting process "a living nightmare."
In full, here's what Philadelphia (Miss.) High linebacker C.J. Johnson wrote on his Facebook wall just before signing off the site for good.
"This is my last Facebook post and I'm gonna leave facebook with this. Linda Johnson has never worked as a house worker making 100,000 dollars a year and I will not be a Mississippi state bulldog and I'm not considering Mississippi state anymore bc you have constantly comment on my page send me crazy inboxes and has made my recruiting experience a living nightmare. Goodbye facebook."
The potential college star's exit from the social media realm, which was first highlighted by The Clarion-Ledger, has sparked new questions over the role of Facebook, Twitter and other social media in the age of hyper-focused modern college recruiting, where fans have new unfettered access to the stars they desperately hope will choose their school.
The issues of appropriateness and access really become an issue when a teenager changes his mind, adjusting his pledge from one school and picking a rival. That was the case with Johnson, who had committed to Mississippi State, only to de-commit and eventually pick Ole Miss after Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left to take the same position at Texas.
That's when things got out of hand.
"I saw rumors on the Internet with people saying I de-committed from Mississippi State because my momma has been working for this Ole Miss guy and she cleaned his house up for a year and she made $100,000," Johnson told The Clarion-Ledger. "If my momma made $100,000 a year, I wouldn't be driving the truck that I'm driving. I would have had a vehicle a long time ago. It's just the little stuff like that.
"I got a lot of trash talking by both schools on Facebook, but that didn't have a lot to do with it. But when you start getting my mom involved and my family involved, that takes it to a whole another level."
Johnson is one of the highest-profile recruiting victims of Facebook attacks, but he's almost certainly not alone. Unless Facebook, Twitter and their cohorts instill an increased level of privacy -- a trend completely anathema to the very notion of social media -- the attacks will almost certainly get worse for recruits in the future.
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