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Welcome To The Offer Letter Arms Race

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the Recruitocosm of late - and particularly the Twitter feed of Texas’ latest pledge, tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson - you may have noticed the ornate offer letters that have become the latest front in the recruiting arms race. Texas’ social media and graphics folks have been doing a bang-up job on the official Longhorn offer letters, effectively melding cutting-edge with classic, classy and clean:

But Texas is far from the only school raising its game on the offer letter front. Are we keeping up with the Joneses? Are the Joneses keeping up with us?

You be the judge!

Barking Carnival HQ recently received a package featuring examples of some other recruiting heavyweights’ offer letter templates. As luck would have it, we also intercepted some exclusive, behind-the-scenes chatter which sheds light on the exacting process by which these marvelous missives come to life.

Take a look:

Texas A&M

“OK, first impression - I LOVE IT! We’ve got a shot of Mustapha, holding the phone right as Sumlin rang him with the offer? He’ll FLIP! That is AWESOME!”

“Well...that’s not actually Mustapha. Between you, me and the fence post, t.u. got a bit of a jump on us with this deal - they thought it out beforehand and got pictures of the actual guy to use in their offer letters, but we kinda had to scramble and find a few fitness models who looked...close-ish?”

“Goddamn sips. That’s all right, though - still looks tight. I’ve just got a couple of nitpicks, if that’s cool. All little stuff.”

“OK, shoot.”

“First off, are we SURE we want to put Sumlin front and center on this thing? His seat’s hot enough to fry an egg on right now. That smoke-of-indeterminate-origin rising from the bottom there could be coming from his actual seat.”

“He’s still the head coach, man, what can you do?”

“I’m just saying that Sumlin’s head is like twice the circumference of the SEC logo and I feel like we’re kinda inverting our value proposition there.”

“We can’t have tiny-head Beetlejuice Sumlin on the phone, OK?”

“All right, fine, but speaking of the phone - isn’t that a little ambiguous? His thumb is right by the Decline Call button so it looks like he might be about to hang up on Sumlin.”

“Seriously? His index finger is right there by the Accept Call button.”

“Right, but most people use their thumb to answer calls.”

“I think the index finger is a pretty common way to...”

“WE’RE AGGIES, STEVE - WE USE THE GODDAMN THUMB! And speaking of thumbs, you have seen our hand sign, right? Why is he making a fucking Texas Tech Guns Up signal?”

“Well he had to gesture at the phone somehow! Otherwise it would look like he was just kinda blase about the whole thing.”

“Yeah, but can’t the thumb be more involved?”

“So you want him to point with his thumb sideways? He’ll look like an indecisive Roman emperor at the Coliseum, for God’s sake. And look - that’s a picture of an actual dude that’s already been taken. I can’t really change what his hands are doing.”

“Ugghh...FINE. But you DO know that purple and maroon are two different colors? That background looks like Grimace de-rezzing in a straight-to-video sequel to Pixels.”

“I can’t put a maroon jersey on a pure maroon background - he’ll just be a floating helmet and gloves. Seriously, what is up your ass today?”

“Sorry, man - I’m just stressed. I’ve got luxury box renewals on my plate this summer and that shit is NOT going swimmingly. And speaking of...I know the kids love this shit, but you know how the Old Army guys get when things get a little too nu-skool - you think we could throw them some kind of a bone in this thing? Can you at least Photoshop the glove straps closed so he looks a little more professional in the uniform?”

“Professional in an A&M uniform? That’s not Ricky Seals-Jones, dude. Besides, we ran the prelim image by Drake and he said it’s like 75% swaggier to have the straps undone. But I hear what you’re saying. Let me think here...what if we clumsily Photoshop numbers from the original arcade version of Tecmo Bowl onto the jersey in a totally flat plane that doesn’t match the underlying contour of the jersey? Would that be awkward and retro enough?”

“Works for me - print it!”


“OK, let’s see what we’ve got he...YOWZA! That is, um...VIVID. Hang on a sec”

* Pokes hole in piece of cardboard, projects image onto second piece of cardboard *

“There we go. Our color scheme doesn’t do us any favors, does it?”

“No. No, it does not. I had to borrow some welding goggles from the Physical Plant just to put the damn thing together.”

“Yeah, I get that you’re fighting an uphill battle there, but...what the hell is that font called - Cousins’ Wedding? Comic Sans looks more professional. Who picked that shit?”

“Read the signature, man. Straight from the top.”

Coach Sweeney picked that? You couldn’t have maybe talked him out of it?”

“Dude, I tried. He just banged his ring on the table and yelled, ‘Dabo win title! Dabo pick font!’ over and over for five straight minutes. I finally gave up.”

“The boss is the boss, I guess. Print it!”

“That’s gonna take a bit - apparently Fallout Orange really does a number on the cyan and magenta cartridges. We’ll have to wait until Kenny gets back from Office Depot.”

Ole Miss

“Nice, nice,’s a little spartan, isn’t it? There’s just not a whole lot going on. Can we jazz it up some?”

“Look, man - to be honest we’d gotten pretty far down the road on the first version before the shit hit the fan around here...”

“...and with all the changeover I haven’t had a lot of time to mess around with details.”

“Yeah, but right now it looks like an ad for Douglas shoulder pads. Can we just put some TEXT on there at least? Some of the other schools’ letters talk about...”


“OK, maybe not THAT, but...”


“Well, what if we...”

“NOT their imminent reduction to a smoking crater courtesy of looming NCAA sanctions?”

“Gotcha. Spartan it is. Print it!”


“OK, I love the desaturated Zack Snyder feel that we’ve got going here, but can we tweak the composition a bit? What will recruits think that those first two lines of text under the ‘C’ say? 25 Rosh Hashanah stories? 501 NFL Total Pricks?”

“They won’t notice that - they’ll be much too busy trying to decipher the meaning of the inexplicable shiny object running down the center of the player’s helmet and upper chest. Is he about to be bisected, Pit and the Pendulum-style? Is he wielding a golden scimitar in front of him, ready for battle? When did the Trojans eschew the gladius for the scimitar, and for that matter why did they roll with a clear Roman Legionary motif if they were going to be called Trojans in the first place? It will spark an insatiable curiosity, and they’ll have no choice but to enroll at USC and find out!”

“That’s genius - print it!”


“Outstanding, Johnson! It perfectly reflects the twin pillars of UCLA football: vascularity and macrocephaly. And that swirling dust storm motif in the background is a subtle reminder to all those Tom Joad flyover state fucks that one day they’ll once again have to come crawling to the Golden State for succor. Print it!”

“Oh, ya, mon chere...dey ALL gonna remember dis day. Da day when we launched Operation Purple an’ Gold Helm an’ finally got to conquerin’ and conquestin’ dat lower two-tirds of Mississippi. The Cajuns finally gonna get dey beaucoup lebensraum! And dem boys in the graphics department finally gon’ have a clean area for text. Dat Loosyana coastline be a fine place for crabbin’ and mudbuggin’, but it make da recruit seem ta be fadin’ away like ol’ Marty McFly’s famille in Back to the Future. Unlimber da gun racks on dem pickup trucks! Load dem RPG’s on da fan boats! Laissez les bon temps rouler...and print it!”


“All right, let’s set a background layer and...”

“Get the fuck out of that chair, pencil-neck! Nobody’s going to dilly-dick the details of a recruiting pitch with my name on it!”

“Coach Harbaugh! It’s an honor to meet you, sir! want to design the offer letter template yourself?”

“You’re goddamn right! I’ve just got five years left on my deal - that’s barely a full recruiting cycle, so I’m not going to stand by while you slack-jawed slapdicks fuck up another four-star!”

“Sir, I’m sure the University will extend you well before your contract...”

“Not that contract, you nit - I’ve got five years before Our Dark Lord collects his end of the bargain and drags my soul down to His dominion! The Devil is in the details! And you remember what happened the last time I allowed someone to skimp on the details around here?”

“Oh, you mean the cake? I thought it looked...”

“It looked like the pathetic product of a palsied jigsaw operator during the last moments of the Andrea Gail! The grad assistants whisper to each other that the guy responsible might still be alive, down there under the stadium somewhere...”


“BUT NO MATTER! To work! First, a about this thing? This fucked-up oval here! Is it supposed to represent a football field? An IUD? WHO CARES? I’ll weave a bunch of them together until it looks like M.C. Escher fucked a Moebius strip, creating a Lovecraftian labyrinth to trap the mind! Football is chaos, and a recruit must embrace the chaos inside himself to survive on the gridiron!”

“Well, that’s definitely one way to...”

“HOWEVER! BALANCE! YIN! YANG! The chaos must square off against ORDER! Square...order...YES! We’ll lay in some of this graph paper shit here. Eins, zwei, eins, zwei, very Prussian! Von Clausewitz said that football is order, and a recruit must instill order inside himself to survive on the gridiron!”

“Oh, wow...I just realized I am so late for my Econ class...”

“And now for the piece de resistance - the player! Piece de resistance is French for piece of resistance! I taught myself French during the dead period, when there was fuck all to do! OK, player images, player images...there! THAT’S a vascular young man! He’s gotta be TWICE as vascular as the dude on UCLA’s thing! No simpering SoCal sports model is out-veining a Michigan man!”

* Edges towards door, slips out *

“Hey - where’d you go? How the fuck do I print it?”


Want more laughs at the expense of our regional and national recruiting rivals? Then don’t miss out on the finest - and the funniest - Longhorn preview on the market.