Videos by OutKick
Welcome to the next level of self-promotion as parents seek new ways to get the attention of college coaches. We’re not talking highlight tapes on YouTube that are sent off to college coaches. We’re talking digital billboards like the one that’s in rotation along the highways in Fayetteville, Arkansas where an 8th-grade offensive lineman named Bear McWhorter, a 13-year-old 8th grader, declares “I want to be a Hog.”
The digital billboard is aimed at Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman and was an idea cooked up by McWhorter’s father, Josh, who used his son as a test dummy. The 6’2, 245-pound 8th grader met Pittman at an Arkansas football camp and now he wants to be a Hog.
Josh, a high school football coach in Georgia, told 40/29 TV he was looking for creative ways to promote his own players to colleges and decided to use his 8th-grade son as a test run for future campaigns. “We can create the biggest marketing buzz in the world, but if you don’t perform on the field, none of it matters,” Josh McWhorter said.
Is this the worst idea ever? That’s for the purists to decide. What’s clear here is that Josh thought it was time to ramp up the marketing of a youth football player, something that’s been going on for years now. It was just never this big or bold.
Look, it’s definitely not the world of sports you and I grew up in. Name, Image, Likeness is already changing college football and it’s only going to get crazier as California has decided to allow high schoolers to make money off NIL as well. Will parents move their kids to California to sign NIL deals so they can cash in before heading off to college to cash in even more? It’s going to happen.
Will parents start putting up billboards like Josh McWhorter? Absolutely. In fact, there’s a dad out there who’s going to read this and wonder why he didn’t come up with the same idea. There’s a dad out there with 50 different marketing strategies in his head who’s going to develop the next wacky idea to get the word out about his son.
Hate it all you want, but this isn’t stopping. Marv Marinovich was stretching Todd’s hamstrings at one month old and lifting medicine balls before he could even walk. That was 1969.