The homestretch to national signing day can be the best of times, but in some cases it can also be the worst of times. For 5-star defensive end Chris Jones, the process leading up to his big decision between Ole Miss and Mississippi State hasn't exactly been pleasant.
When it comes to elite recruits making their final decision on signing day, the simple reality is that some fan bases will be hurt. The rules of college football state that a recruit can only commit to one school, so chances are, somebody is going to wake up Thursday feeling very disappointed.
There are good ways to deal with a recruit choosing a different school, and then there are bad ways of dealing with it. For reading and/or training purposes, Bleacher Report's National College Football Lead Writer, Adam Kramer, goes into what not to do in regards to social media and recruiting.
The cliff-notes are as follows: Don't harass recruits on social media, and certainly don't bully them if they choose a different program than yours.
In Jones' case, he hasn't even made a decision yet (he's simply just checking out his options), but he's getting a ton of backlash from both Mississippi State and Ole Miss fans, according to Kipp Adams of ESPN.com:
Jones told ESPN.com late Sunday night, his weekend was marked by angry messages from fans of both schools.
“It was a crazy weekend,” Jones said. “I received death threats, insane messages, you name it. I mean it has not been as stressful as people would think it has been. I have tried to handle it in the most comfortable way possible, so it has really been alright for me, and in the end, I am very blessed to have this opportunity to play for either in-state school.
Let it be known that in no way should a very vocal and very disturbed minority define the majority of Mississippi State or Ole Miss fans. That said, let the record state that both sides were reportedly involved in acts such as death threats and "insane messages"—so pointing the finger at other program would just be silly at this point.
Judging by what my email inbox or comment threads looks like on a weekly basis, I shudder to think what kind of messages Jones had to deal with. After all, I'm not a 5-star recruit, and we all know the fine line between fan and fanatic—especially with recruiting.
The Internet has given us many things and it's enhanced the college football recruiting experience. It's allowed fans to have a closer connection with recruits, programs and coaches alike, and information is available at a moments notice.
That said, it has also provided the fringe community with a way to easily make their voices known, and in most cases that's anything but good.
It's much easier to bully a recruit over Twitter or Facebook than it would be to write a handwritten letter or email, and it has essentially enabled people who wouldn't mind taking the time to write a nasty letter or email in the first place.
You cross the line when you bully an 18 or 19-year-old kid.
You jump over that line and cross the point of no return when you send said kid a death threat.