MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There is a recruit out there who, simply because it is 2012, has his eyes on what Daron Roberts does on Twitter.
Roberts is an assistant coach on West Virginia's football staff with a six-month-old account that boasts some 2,100 followers after more than 430 tweets.
When a prospective student-athlete clicks his way to @CoachDKR, he sees Roberts describes himself as "Texas-raised. Harvard-educated. West Virginia professor. Catfish connoisseur. Sweet tea sommelier." The timeline shows interactions with members of the fan base, media and Mountaineers roster. There are blurbs promoting WVU and its football team. When Roberts isn't sharing motivational quotes, he's bragging - through photographs - about the meals he's eating.
Then there's the list of followers, from reporters and writers both locally and nationally to colleagues in college and high school and the pros - even the NBA. There are WVU, college and pro players, restaurants, fashion designers and even a rapper.
A few minutes later, the kid's doorbell rings. He folds his laptop closed, opens the front door and welcomes Roberts into his living room for their first meeting, though now with a much better idea who Roberts is and who this cornerback might play for these next four or five years.
And if that sounds too good to be true, too convenient for the purpose of a column in July, consider this from Roberts.
"I will glance at Facebook pages and Twitter accounts," he said. "I don't monitor on a daily basis what my recruits will tweet or what they post to Facebook, but there will be some times when I will go through the pages to see what a kid's interests are. It helps build a picture of the student-athlete, but it's not a substitute for personal interaction."
These are instead tools Roberts uses to build relationships, implements in the art of recruiting, and they go both ways now more than ever.
"The young men that I'm dealing with, the parents and the coaches who I have to get to know, they all use Facebook and Twitter every single day," Roberts said. "I believe that you have to use them, too, just to stay in the game."
Roberts isn't merely in the game. He's winning.
Last month, Missouri Sports Magazine, a digital publication with around 1.3 million monthly readers, listed the "50 College Coaches You Should Follow on Twitter." Roberts was No. 25 because he has "all the makings of an intriguing tweeter."
Indeed he does, and Roberts took some time to get it right. He's had a Facebook account since he joined the staff just before the start of spring practice in 2011.
Five secrets to being a top-50 tweeter:
1) Have a purpose
Just about everything Roberts puts out, either in his words or in agreement of what he's found from other sources, goes toward his ultimate goal.