The Incredible Prickly Aftermath of TCU’s Recruiting Coordinator Popping Off
If you're not a Twitter user or missed July 19th's fireworks, I'll do my best to explain it.
Let's wind the clock back to July 18th and start at the beginning. Coming off the heels of the Texas Tech fanbase roasting not only the official TCU Twitter account but the TCU AD and the City of Fort Worth, the Matador Club announced a major team-wide NIL deal. This led to TCU Recruiting Coordinator Bryan Carrington tweeting through his feelings.
You can see the entire thread in the story linked in the last sentence, but we'll focus on the tweet that read: "The reality is that that extra 2k it’s gonna be a concrete ceiling for most players in scarce markets that are oversaturated with 85 scholarship players attempting to ‘build their a brand’ in a desert…" Carrington finished off his masterpiece with a cactus emoji. That will be important soon.
Texas Tech fans were quick to pounce on the guy who'd just called their home a desert devoid of any potential.
Starting late into the night on July 18th, some Texas Tech coaches started repurposing the cactus emoji, claiming it as their own. A badge of honor.
The official Texas Tech football account even ended a tweet with it.
People rallied around the idea that West Texas is a strong brand full of grit and power, the base for a multitude of brands across America that started right here in Lubbock and the surrounding area.
The following morning, all hell broke loose.
Eighty-eight responses to that tweet might have sparked the fire, but it wasn't close to being over.
The literal voice of the Red Raiders, Geoff Haxton, was sharing photos of cactus landscapes.
Coaches and Bachelorette contestant Kirk Bryant were placing cactus emojis into the new Texas Tech football facility plans.
It was all cactus, all day.
It might have started as a burn, but Texas Tech twitter took the emoji and ran with it. When the coaching staff got involved and added the cactus to their Twitter display names, it became a full-on sprint.
Defensive line coach and former TCU Horned Frog Zarnell Fitch was the first one:
Offensive Coordinator Zach Kittley was next:
Then, the head coach himself, Joey McGuire:
At this point, things were almost off the rails there was so much forward momentum. The entire Texas Tech football program started shooting off cactus tweets like they were game-winning touchdowns.
Texas Tech Football's official account was praising the Texas Tech fans on Twitter for rallying around the team.
That just made the cactus even more appealing.
People started tweeting at former players to join the cactus movement.
If you thought that was it, we're just getting started. It wasn't just the football team. The entire Texas Tech athletic department and university got into the action.
Here's the admissions department:
Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt thanked the fanbase for being "the absolute best":
The head volleyball coach:
Mark freakin' Adams:
Tim Tadlock was out there watering the cactus:
Lady Raiders Head Coach Krista Gerlich:
Wes Kittley and his track & field program:
The golf teams:
And a who's who of country music superstars, you say?
I know I'm leaving people out, but it's impossible to express the magnitude of what happened Tuesday. In an effort to defend their school, program and city, Texas Tech and fans truly "broke Twitter" with a cactus emoji.
It even extended beyond Twitter:
That's 12,000+ tweets from Texas Tech fans who "share the cactus emoji in support for their team." Texas Tech, West Texas and #wreckem all trended at various points during the day.
I know it sounds silly or like hyperbole to say that the fanbase was galvanized yesterday because they all tweeted a cactus emoji together, but I 100 percent believe that to be the case. These are the kinds of moments in sports that you look back on and build relationships and confidence on.
Community members standing beside one another and saying, "this is our home and we won't be disrespected."
That coach calling Lubbock a desert didn't spawn this response. It was an absolute slap in the face to say that this community won't support our own and that you can't build a business, family or brand in West Texas.
Putting the cactus beside your name didn't just say 'I'm a Texas Tech fan.' It signifies that you're proud to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You're proud to have spent time in West Texas or live in West Texas. You're proud to work hard for your living and go to work every day knowing you'll have to overcome the perception that people have of you that don't know the struggle of West Texas.
We stand in the desert. Healthy, strong and united. We believe in Joey McGuire and The Brand that he's building.
And yes, I got all that from a cactus emoji. 🌵