Alabama Signing Day raid of Tennessee graphic artist comes before ink is dry
Luring teenagers creatively on the internet isn’t exactly the most glamourous work, but it’s turning into an essential part of the college football recruiting world.
After a series of curiously timed moves, given the season on the recruiting calendar, Alabama hired away a graphic artist from Tennessee whose work is growing increasingly important in the social media age.
According to Rainer Sabin of AL.com, Alabama alumnus Jonathan King will join the Crimson Tide program as the creative director for football.
King will replace Matt Lange, who announced last month that he accepted a similar position with Texas.
AL.com cites King’s LinkedIn page, which details that he had worked in Tennessee’s athletics department since 2012 and was the director of creative services. Before his time in Knoxville, King had worked as assistant director of Crimson Tide Productions for seven years.
Why is this position important? Well, poke around the internet and social media to see what the recruits are up to.
Creative graphics, including fake magazine covers, posters, players cards, and items of the sort are craved by the prospects, when sometimes that extra bit of attention can be the difference between getting a player or missing out.
King’s work at Tennessee was detailed in a 2014 ESPN: The Magazine article about the trend.
The piece detailed King’s mock-up of a Rolling Stone cover where Beyonce tried to lure defensive tackle prospect Shy Tuttle with encouraging words (and who could turn down Queen Bey? Tuttle will be a junior at Knoxville this fall).
King talked up Jones’ readiness to try new things, calling him “an idea guy.”
“The first thing he said is, ‘You’re good at what you do. I’m a gas guy, not a brakes guy. So you go forward,'” King told ESPN. At Tennessee, King was heavily involved in the program’s “Rise to the top” marketing campaign after Jones arrived.
At Alabama, King worked with Buddy Overstreet (now also in Austin, according to LinkedIn) on a creative team that grew from two to about nine or 10 full-timers when King left Tuscaloosa in 2013.
Now, he’s back, and presumably with more creative freedom than ever at his alma mater.
Although Beyonce might not be able to help out for a few months.