By Christopher Kyler
April 2, 2019
Christopher Kyler is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He plans to major in Sport Management with a minor in Marketing. Christopher is from Parma Heights, Ohio and is a diehard Cleveland sports fan. He is interested in many sports, but mainly football at the professional level.
Less than a month away from the NFL Draft and Twitter is buzzing with all the rumors, pro day performances, and opinions from fans, reporters, and even players. The rise of social media has drastically changed how fans, teams, and prospects consume the annual NFL Draft process. Media at local and national levels are both very involved in the analysis of prospects down to every microscopic detail they can find.
Last Thursday the University of Houston had their Pro day, where top prospect Ed Oliver had a stellar performance. At 6’2” 287 he ran a 4.73 40-yard dash (Maya, 2019); within hours, news of his impressive performance spread like wildfire all over Twitter. The rise of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit has spurred many avid fans to pursue the small name prospects their team just has to have.
Ed Oliver, the former Houston Cougar, stuffed the run, and padded his resume in his three seasons with the team. He tallied 192 tackles, 53 for loss, 13.5 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and 5 forced fumbles while mainly playing from the nose tackle spot (“Ed Oliver,” 2019). His name has been in headlines since he committed to Houston as the #4 prospect on the ESPN 300. This is one example of a top prospect going to a smaller name school, without having to drop a lot of exposure he received. Social media also helps smaller school prospects with easily being able to share their highlights, which helps get their name out there.
The NFL Draft isn’t new to small school talents going in the first round, and this year won’t be any different. But social media has made it possible for many prospects to have the possibility for it to happen to them. Access to more prospects than ever before has given NFL fans a greater awareness of prospects in every corner of college football.
Ed Oliver College Stats. (n.d). College Football @ Sports-reference.com. Retrieved from https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/ed-oliver-2.html
Maya, A. (2019, March 28th). Houston Cougars’ Ed Oliver turns in prolific pro day. NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001024644/article/houston-cougars-ed-oliver-turns-in-prolific-pro-day
ESPN Football Recruitment – Player Rankings. 2016 ESPN 300. (n.d). ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/playerrankings/_/view/rn300/sort/rank/class/2016