Although a number of high school football players see the benefit of using social media in their recruiting process, some coaches in the area who went through it themselves also see some of the pitfalls.

With more and more players interacting with fellow students and even college football fans on Twitter, Ask.fm and posting pictures on Instagram, coaches worry about overexposure and having their players leave the wrong impression with the public.

"With social media, everyone thinks they know everything about you," said Freedom High coach Kevin Hartwig, who played at Saint Mary's College in 1991 and 1992. "The kids put it out there, and it's hard to control. Put on what you had for breakfast, I don't care.

"You have Suzy Football Fan in Alabama tweeting Joe (Mixon) that you better come here or whatever, and it's like, 'Why respond? You don't even know who it is.' "

Mixon said he's careful with what he tweets, and argued that social media can be a benefit to a lot of high school football players looking to get noticed by a college program.

Lamont Thompson, who graduated from El Cerrito in 1997 and played at Washington State before he began a six-year career in the NFL, agreed.

Thompson's recruitment didn't come as a result of attending numerous camps or sending out dozens of tapes. It came as a result of his play on the field.

Without websites dedicated to recruiting, and others offering to help players get noticed, Thompson said it was more difficult when he was in high school for the average player to gain recognition.

"Those are great recruiting tools for coaches to be able to see guys without actually coming in and physically seeing them," Thompson said. "They see the highlights on YouTube. From there, coaches might show interest."

Thompson is an assistant at El Cerrito, where linebacker D.J. Calhoun and receiver Jalen Harvey have already committed to USC and Cal, respectively. Gauchos cornerback Adarius Pickett has more than 20 offers. All are active on social media.

"Social media can be used as a good thing and a bad thing," Thompson said. "I'm not against it 100 percent, but I recommend that the players watch what they say and do, and watch how you're being portrayed out there."

First-year St. Patrick-St. Vincent coach Brennan Marion also sees social media as a valuable tool in recruiting. Marion, a receiver who went to De Anza Junior College before he transferred to Tulsa, likes the fact that players can get noticed on the Internet and invited to certain summer camps, where college coaches flock.

"It's a beautiful thing right now," said Marion, who led college football in 1997 with 31.9 yards per catch. "It's better than it was when I was in high school, when you had to send out 100 highlight tapes and hope someone calls you back.

"I wish it was like this back then."