Kansas Football chose #Run21 as a theme for the 2021 class recruiting cycle.
Using Run DMC, Adidas and old school hip hop as inspiration, photography, print and digital media assets were created for use throughout the recruiting cycle.
On September 1, 2019 Kansas Football introduced our program and class theme to 150+ recruits. They each received a package of personalized graphics in their skin tone as well as featuring their jersey number and name.
Throughout the recruiting cycle, several personalized graphics are used in electronic correspondence to help aid in relationship building for our football staff and their recruits.
Several of these graphics utilized retro elements or imagery inspired by Run DMC.
On August 1, 2020 we were able to send letters that extended an official scholarship opportunity to a select group of recruits.
Since many recruits receive scholarship letters from several schools, we wanted to do something that would stand out.
In July, a friend shared with me that an Adidas, Run DMC sneaker was leaked and expected to drop soon. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to incorporate a similar shoe design into this project.
Without hesitation, I jumped at the chance to learn a new skillset: painting custom sneakers!
After the sneakers were finished, printed graphics were created to look like a shoe box for each recruit. When opened, the inside of the shoe box was revealed and each recruit received a custom sticker of the shoe with their name on it.
They each also received a set of four social media graphics from our coaching staff at midnight on August 1 to share on their Twitter.
Although the first National Signing Day wasn't until December 16, 2020, we started planning for it back in August of 2019 when the theme was picked. National Signing Day is a life-defining moment for our recruits so we knew we wanted to plan something special to celebrate them on their momentous day.
Initial planning began in designing a set that would be used during the recruits Official Visits. Using retro hip hop as inspiration, we wanted to create music videos to announce each recruit as a part of our KU Football Family.
Typically, recruits get photos and videos on their visits in full uniform, but we wanted to change it up for this recruiting class and give them a unique photo and video experience that they'd remember. We thought it was only fitting to have them wear retro KU and Adidas track suits in their music videos. Luckily, Adidas had a retro line during the planning process, so we were able to get several retro KU and Adidas track suits for the recruits to choose their own style and wear during their photo and video shoots.
We gathered props including bucket hats, a boom box and a hand-painted Run 21 themed football to be used in the photo and video shoots.
In true 2020 fashion, we had to roll with the punches. Due to COVID, unfortunately all in-person and on-campus visits were canceled. Not having the ability to get our recruits on campus threw a wrench in our recruiting as well as our National Signing Day plans.
With a full set built and track suits on the rack - we had to get creative. We still wanted to do something theme encompassing that our new signees would love.
After some brainstorming, a lightbulb went off. One of our student-athletes pursues rapping in his personal time and we asked him he'd be willing to partner up with us to make National Signing Day come to fruition.
Each recruit in our 2021 class was asked to write their own rap with intent for it to be used to announce each of them on National Signing Day. We challenged them to think about what they wanted the world to know about them for their KU debut, and incorporate that into their rap.
Our student-athlete got into the recording studio, picked out beats, and worked with our videographer to turn each of the recruits words into some pretty rad music.
Leading up to National Signing Day, teasers were put out on the Kansas Football Social Media Accounts and our staff members were encouraged to share their photos on their personal accounts to create some buzz around December 16.
On National Signing Day, the 2021 signees made their debut as a part of Kansas Football Family.
For each recruit, rap lyric videos were released on Twitter that were inspired by the Run DMC "My Adidas" music video. Videos were also created using iPhone Memoji that were placed into a cartoon version of our set.
On Instagram, each recruit was announced with a graphic featuring the lyrics and imagery for their raps. The imagery was created by hand with tape from cassettes and photographed for the final composition.
I was lucky enough to work alongside our super talented videographer, Kevin Berg on this project as well as our recruiting staff who helped from start to finish with everything from idea generation to set creation and co-rap writing. Special thanks to our coaches and players who helped with National Signing Day content, too!
Overall #Run21 was a HUGE team effort and it was awesome to see it all come to fruition throughout a successful recruiting cycle!