Grace Christian football coach Rusty Bradley got a phone call a week ago.
It was a coach from Georgia Tech, asking about Blake Carringer.
That is when he found out a player on his Knoxville private school team was being portrayed as a significant college football prospect.
Carringer was being portrayed on recruiting services and on a Twitter account as being a three-star recruit who was 6-foot-6, 315 pounds and one of the top college football prospects in Tennessee.
In reality, he’s 5-foot-7, 220 pounds.
National recruiting services, as well as the USA Today Network-Tennessee, had been duped, or catfished.
The athlete’s profile on the recruiting services was inaccurate. And the Twitter account didn’t belong to Carringer. It was made up, Bradley said.
The USA Today Network-Tennessee has requested interviews with Carringer and his parents, but has been unsuccessful in reaching them.
Bradley said he is not sure who created a Twitter account with Carringer’s name. He said the school worked with Twitter to have the account taken down.
The fake account tweeted that he had offers from schools like Alabama, Georgia and Syracuse before it was removed.
“He literally is on a recruiting service,” Bradley told the USA Today Network-Tennessee. “I’m trying to figure that out.”
Carringer was listed as a three-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite, which is the rankings the USA Today Network-Tennessee acknowledges. Carringer was listed the No. 35 college prospect in Tennessee. That has since been removed.
247Sports founder Shannon Terry acknowledged the issue of fake prospects on his Twitter account on Thursday.
He tweeted: “(Yesterday) a national recruiting service rated a prospect that doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, that service’s public data contributes to the 247 Composite. While appalling, I am not surprised.
“Ironically, it was the same li’l brother service that took shots at 247 on (national signing day). In order to insure that never occurs again (negatively) impacting the Composite, 247 has a new protocol where prospects are no longer given a Composite rating (without) also having a 247Sports rating.”
The USA Today Network-Tennessee, which listed Carringer as one of the top college prospects in Knoxville, also has put in measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again: Verification that an athlete is a college prospect can’t be based solely on other recruiting services and a Twitter account.
We will confirm with the high school coach or an assistant who oversees college recruiting for that program that an athlete is a legitimate college prospect receiving scholarship offers. We will also find that athlete’s highlight video to confirm with our own eyes the person is a prospect.