October 12, 2016
Over the course of the last few days IMG Academy, located in Bradenton, Florida, has contacted dozens of the most-skilled Texas high school football players that the state has to offer. Recruiters from the prestigious East Coast athletic boarding school have made their way to Houston and surrounding areas, reaching out to players on social media.
More likely than not, if it weren’t for a loyal sophomore running back, the media would have never known about the under the table recruiting. Crosby High School sophomore running back Craig Williams was recently contacted by Tyrone Dixson, Director of Football Operations at IMG Academy. Williams then decided to alert his head coach, Jeff Riordan, of this message and needless to say Riordan and his coaching staff did not take kindly to the encroachment of their prized player.
Riordan, along with numerous other Crosby coaches, decided to take to Twitter to express their feelings about IMG contacting their players. Riordan posted a picture of the message sent to Williams and tagged the Dixson, along with this message:
“IMG Academy targeting Crosby RB. Be aware all my TXHSFB coaches. These guys have no moral compass!”
Dixson did not respond to Prep2Prep's attempts to contact him.
Along with Riordan, Crosby wide receivers coach Marvin Nash chose to express his feelings via Twitter.
“Coach (and I use the term very loosely), please refrain from contacting our kids about IMG," he tweeted. "Here in Crosby, TX, we form great relationships with our players and believe in loyalty. At first sign of someone coming to attack our family, our kids turn to their trusted Coaches. So respectfully, stay in your lane and out of ours. #CodeRed #FamilyOverFL”
Hours after Riordan and Nash released statements, an alleged IMG recruiter, yet to be known, took to Twitter himself. The anonymous recruiter created an account named “@IMG_Recruiter” and has begun contacting players and coaches in Texas after Crosby fired back strongly.
The Twitter account run by an individual who claims to be an IMG recruiter has sent tweets out to Crosby quarterback Mannie Netherly, Strake Jesuit-Houston Coach James Clancy, Cy-Fair Sports, Allen Football, members of the media, and others.
Along with sending provocative tweets, the anonymous account has also taken shots at Texas companies such as Blue Bell. However, the most controversial claim of all was a tweet posted by the account saying “I’ll be in Houston this weekend. I have 30 plane tickets back to Florida for #txhsfb players. Who’s coming back with me? #GETSUM”
Although recruiting a player is a violation of rules in both Texas (UIL) and Florida (FHSAA), IMG Academy is exempt from the rules due to the fact that it is a private academy that does not play under FHSAA rules and regulations.
Neither UIL or IMG have commented on the feud thus far, it is unclear to this point what UIL can or will do if they decide to take action. However, based on Texas player and coach reactions, the IMG recruiters can alert the airlines that 30 seats will be empty on their flight back to Bradenton.