Blake Munroe…ever wonder just exactly what it is that he does? Me too! So I decided to be nosey and tell him that it was about time he shared his life with all of us!
Seriously, I know that Blake is a sports writer, but I have never asked him just how that came to be so this week I took the time to ask him to go back and spell out for all of us just exactly how it is that he came to be a writer within the world of high school sports.
Blake attended school in Comanche in 2nd and 3rd grade and then his stepfather, Roy Robinson, had The Cowboy Song cut by Garth Brooks. The family left Comanche to move to a ranch outside Rising Star, and Blake attended 4th-6th grade there. Then, once again the family moved to Comanche where Blake graduated in 2003.
“As soon as I graduated, I immediately moved to Ft Worth, went to UTA, and dropped out without ever even taking a journalism class. I moved back because Roy’s music was really taking off, and I went to work for him for several years.
“I had a friend who was a member of a website called Inside Texas, and he told me they were looking for someone to cover the state 7 on 7 in College Station so I went down on my own, watched the games, came back, and put a report on the site. They liked it, and they hired me.”
Inside Texas was at that time an ESPN affiliate, and yes, Blake’s story is a bit of a Cinderella story of just how a little ingenuity can pay off in terms of finding a J.O.B.!!
“I learned on the fly, I guess. At the time I started with Inside Texas, the editor was about to leave the company to finish a book he was writing so I didn’t really have anyone to teach me…and I still had never taken a journalism class!”
Apparently the lack of formal training did not hurt him because Blake quickly moved from being a writer to a co-editor within the company and being the site’s main contributor on all fronts.
“Then one day I got a call from Gerry Hamilton and Bobby Burton of football recruiting fame. They saw my work and called me to see if I would like to go to work with 247Sports, which is a company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Bobby was actually one of the original founders of Rivals.com and is considered to be the name to know in Texas football recruiting. He, along with a few others, sold Rivals to Yahoo for nearly $100 million and once their no-compete clause was fulfilled, they opened 247.
“Anyway, they called me to say they would be in touch, and it was a month and a half before I heard again, telling me they’d get back to me in a month, and they did. I put in my notice with Inside Texas, and I’ve been with 247Sports for over two years now.”
According to Blake, the company has slowly moved to the forefront of the football recruiting business, and business is booming! The network has over 130 analysts now, including Blake, who deliver insider football and football recruiting content on nearly every major college football team. The company actually signed a deal with CBS Sports late last year and overall 247Sports exceeded one billion page views in 2013.
(And as an aside, I must admit that my mind wandered a bit here as I stopped to consider how the average fan would feel if he truly understood that what he considers a sport…a game of entertainment…is in actuality mega business in this country, not really a “game” at all…)
Quickly, however, I broke that reverie to ask Blake to walk me through a normal week in his life.
“My work isn’t really divided into weeks because it doesn’t really ever stop. We truly are 247 so I’m always working. My wife calls me a workaholic and isn’t always happy with my working habits.
“I spend lots of hours calling coaches and players, of course. I’m looking for the guy that is pretty well known and getting looked at by major schools. I call and try to develop a relationship with both coaches and players, and then I stay in touch, find out where they want to go, what their plans are, who has talked to them, who has offered, and whether or not they are ready to commit.
“Believe it or not, a lot of my job is posting on a message board as well, interacting with our subscribers and sharing with them insider info they won’t find elsewhere on the teams they like.
“I try to help many different college coaches out too. I give them what info I can, look at certain prospects for them and that type of stuff. Maintaining a strong relationship with both high school and collegiate coaches is key in this business.”
Blake is also on the road during football season, watching as many games as is humanly possible from Thursday through Saturday. Last year alone he logged over 8,000 miles watching high school football games! By his own account, he sees at least 50 high school football games a season and yet, he doesn’t consider it a job since he would be watching high school games anyway…not 8,000 miles worth of games he does admit, however!
“I watch the game, and then I interview kids afterwards. I try to make sure that I ask all the right questions, and then I go home and write a story on that kid and what the future holds for him recruiting wise.”
And the story is about the plans, rather than about the games because that is the purpose of 247Sports. Believe it or not (and remember, I told you it’s big business), people are paying to find out what these kids are planning to do with their football careers. If they weren’t, people like Blake Munroe wouldn’t have a job.
“It’s crazy how much all goes into it. These kids are hit by everyone, including us! I don’t really know how they stand it. It is a wild crazy world that truly is hard to understand unless you’re into it. Most people don’t know just what all goes into big time football recruiting. Around this area you mostly have kids that end up at smaller schools if they do play football at the next level, but when you’re a big time recruit the process can be maddening. You have coaches, reporters, fans and everyone else constantly bothering you.”
But even in Texas, football season does come to an end, doesn’t it? You and I both know the answer to that one, don’t we?
“Truthfully, it’s always football season in Texas when you factor in 7 on 7 and spring ball. It’s a nonstop business of talking to kids pretty much every day of the year except maybe Christmas. Plus, 247 wants us to have a very strong internet presence so I’m always on social media, etc. talking about whatever is going on at the moment, and then I put out a recruiting notes article every morning from about 5-6 kids that I contact the night before.”
So, basically Blake is also a detective when it comes to finding the scoop. In addition to going into schools and talking personally, he finds the kids on social media and begins building a relationship with them so that he can report their info.
“One month alone I had over 6,000 text messages from recruits!” he laughed. “I’m also always on Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram. It’s a must in our business. On Twitter alone I have nearly 2,100 followers and have tweeted nearly 4,000 times in the past two or three years, so we’re always on the grind.”
And, of course, Blake Munroe is very, very lucky that he lives in Texas!
“We have such a large Texas fan base that I can be full time and not have to have a second job. I’m very lucky in that aspect; of course, that’s Texas football,” he smiled. It’s a multibillion business in college football alone.”
So let’s say you’re just learning bout 247, and you want to read Blake’s work as well as that of others like him. What do you do?
“Go to http://www.247sports.com and subscribe. The fee is $9.99 per month, and people subscribe to us in order to get the latest and fastest breaking recruiting news as well as insider team news that they can’t find anywhere else.
We have a site for nearly every major team from the Longhorns, to all the Texas teams, to Alabama, all the way to Virginia Tech. ”
Yes, 247Sports has taken the football world by storm, making the days when we all held our breaths waiting on the latest Dave Campbell seem almost truly “the old days,” not that we don’t still love and read Dave, you understand. We simply no longer wait on him for breaking news. The internet made sure of that for all of us, didn’t it?
Of course, the net also made possible those dream jobs that once upon a time would have only existed in science fiction. Today, the internet and sites like 247Sports are quite simply reality for writers like Blake Munroe.
And of course if you want to dive into Blake’s world a little further you can catch him on Twitter @247Blake and read nearly all of his work at http://texas.247sports.com.