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An Aggie Coach Tweeted Away Part Of The 2017 Recruiting Class

Stay off Twitter, everybody.

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(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Here’s our expert-analysis hot take on college football recruiting: It’s weird. It’s a process of courtship involving grown adults and teenage boys, where young men are fêted by coaches and fellow students who want them to promise their futures to the school. These teenagers then make semi-binding agreements on a national stage, where other adults celebrate the fact that the football team they care about should have some good years ahead of it because experts gave a high star-rating to the kid in question. The boys are expected to honor those commitments they make as teenagers (even though they are made to coaches who could hop to the NFL or a higher-profile college program if the right opportunity came up), because as they are developing from boys into men, they are being taught that their word matters.

That’s the nature of the game, and it’s so much a part of college football that we don’t even really think about it much, but if you strip it of that context and think about it for what it really is—a whole lot of grown-ups getting really excited about what some teenage boys are planning to do—”weird” is a fair word.

Even with all of that in mind, though, last night got weird for the Aggies, whose 2017 recruiting class took an unusual turn after Tate Martell—one of the top-ranked dual-threat quarterbacks in that class—announced via Twitter that he’d be decommitting from the school.

Martell’s an intriguing player, but his choice to enter A&M was unexpected—he made the decision in August after he had previously decommitted from Washington (which—in a reminder that this whole process is really very bizarre—he had committed to before he entered the eighth grade).

Six minutes after Martell tweeted that he was no longer committed to playing football at Texas A&M, the school’s wide receivers coach, Aaron Moorehead, sent a cryptic tweet of his own:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 1.33.36 PM

Moorehead quickly tweeted again to explain that he totally hadn’t just subtweeted a teenager—but that, sure, his “no loyalty” tweet applied there, too:

The tweet storm continued:

As Moorehead decried the “BS” of people who lack loyalty, the “tough typers” who make him laugh until he cries, and the “too sensitive” society full of “soft” boys, he stood defiant that he was sending these messages into the world in order to represent Texas A&M football. (In other tweets, since deleted, he declared that this “next group of kids” were “selfish” and had “no accountability,” and that his dad would have “whipped [his] *ss.”) Presumably that delighted many of the people who share Moorehead’s opinion of how the world should work—but it also had the opposite effect on recruits who, seeing the way that an Aggies coach was talking tough about Martell and whatever other unnamed person he actually intended to go after in his initial tweet, began to second-guess the idea of spending the next several years of their life being coached by him.

Four-star wide receiving recruit Manny Netherly, who committed to A&M in November, was one of the players who had second thoughts. An hour after Moorehead tweeted #stillnoloyalty, Netherly announced that, after seeing “what kind of person” he’d be playing for, he’d be reopening his own recruiting process—also via Twitter.

Netherly’s tweet was heard around the Aggie world, which quickly responded—students and fans alike—with fury that Netherly and Martell would both reverse course.

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  • PS

    It would be helpful if the article at least referenced what the coach was apologizing for. I feel like y’all left out the most important part of the story here. . . You’re better than that, TM.

    • StarCrossedMemories

      There was an entire piece of the story left out, though I believe they edited the piece now. Basically, the coach made passive aggressive comments when Martell decommitted. This prompted Mannie Netherly, No. 181 in the ESPN 300, to say “After tonight I see what kind of person my ‘future coach’ is and I myself don’t want to play for someone like that so without further ado I would like to announce that I am decommitting from Texas A&M.” The second incident (and the mentions by potential recruits that they would no longer be looking towards A&M) is what the apology was for.

      • PS

        Thanks for the info! I can see they’ve updated the site since I first commented.

  • Justin Mayes

    Something is happening at Texas A&M and it doesn’t bode well for their future: http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/112251/how-they-got-here-a-texas-am-qb-timeline

  • michael hammond

    What a clown. In that position and doesn’t understand the implications of social media? There’s been some weird stuff coming from aggieland for the last couple of years. Bet this is Sumlins last year.

  • Wilson James

    If there is one thing in the sports universe you can always count on it is that the aggies will screw it up while loudly and after some weird analysis blaming it on something or someone else. Gasbags, the lot of ’em. Embarassing to our state on TV with all the weird “traditions” and nut-grabbing cheer-boys.. They were the 5th best team in the Big 12 and after all the noise are now the 5th best team in the SEC….West.