Jalen Macon spends more time on Twitter than any other social media platform.
The Hillsboro quarterback is constantly sharing highlights and college offer announcements from teammates, local opponents and even out-of-state athletes he has never met.
“Retweeting and liking has been my best friend,” Macon said. “I’m liking and retweeting everything.
“It’s about building relationships with each other and connecting with other players and coaches.”
All those hours on his iPhone have paid off.
Macon committed to Arkansas-Pine Bluff this week after a lengthy recruiting process complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He couldn’t attend any camps or visit schools over the last 10 months due to the NCAA’s moratorium on in-person recruiting.
That prompted the 6-foot-5 senior to make the most of the virtual tools at his disposal.
Macon used Twitter to connect with college recruiters and fellow high school prospects. He spoke with coaches from FCS schools like Western Carolina and bluebloods like UCLA. He befriended Georgia Tech commitment Chayden Peery, a pro-style QB from the Los Angeles area. And he gained more than 2,200 followers.
“People don’t understand how useful Twitter is for recruiting,” Macon said. “I talked to coaches all over the country on Twitter.”
Macon’s large social media following helped drive traffic to his Hudl.com profile, where his highlights have drawn nearly 7,400 views. He was also part of a group chat where recruits shared their latest offers and asked for retweets and shoutouts to spread the news.
In the end, it was Arkansas-Pine Bluff that was left standing. The Golden Lions offered Macon in late December after getting to know him over the last two years.
“I felt that with them being an HBCU and having a good relationship with the coaches, it was the best fit for me,” he said.
Macon and the Burros played just eight games in 2020 after Metro Nashville Public Schools delayed the start of football season by six weeks. He still managed to pass for 890 yards and eight touchdowns to just one interception while also rushing for seven scores. Hillsboro fell to Beech in the second round of the TSSAA Class 5A playoffs.
Classes in audio and visual production at Hillsboro have helped Macon create polished online profiles. He said he plans to study communications at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
But before he reports to college, Macon still has unfinished business with Hillsboro basketball. The Burros, who clinched a berth in the ill-fated Class AAA state tournament last March, are expected to begin a two-week regular season on Feb. 2.
“Our coaches told us to make sure we’re always working so that whenever that time comes, we don’t have to hurry up and try to get ready,” Macon said. “Always stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”
Macon said he hopes to pass his social media knowledge on to teammates and friends looking to land scholarships.
“I like to keep my Twitter sports-related and not have any negativity,” he said. “When (coaches) see a Twitter with relatable stuff and positive things, that sets a good image for yourself.”