Missouri Tigers take on Twitter

Friday, October 23, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:24 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 23, 2009
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Several Missouri football and basketball players have Twitter accounts, and so does the football coach. Some accounts are updated more regularly than others. Below are the number of tweets per week from some of them.

COLUMBIA — Late this summer, Kim English, a guard on the Missouri basketball team, lost a bet to linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

This weekend English pays for it.

He and Weatherspoon had a friendly wager about who would hit 2,000 followers first on their Twitter sites.

The loser agreed to paint up for a winner's game — which means English will have black and gold on his face at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night when the Tigers play the Longhorns.

It took less than three weeks from the time the competition started in August for Weatherspoon (SeanWSpoon12 on Twitter) to snag 2,000 followers. He now leads all Missouri football players with 3,284.

Weatherspoon started the race with a lead of 200 followers, but the two ended up in a dead heat at 1,420.

In order to finally beat English, Weatherspoon called on a grassroots movement of fans, asking them to help spread the word and recruit more followers.

"Racing my boy Kimmie English the 3pt king @englishscope to 2,000 followers!!! Got a slight lead on him now come on tweeps help me out!!!" Weatherspoon posted to his Twitter page.

The friendly smack talk between the two players peaked toward the end of the race.

"@SeanWSpoon12 u goin down... Sssppppppoooonnnnn. I'm coming to the Illinois game with a huge sign saying "follow me @englishscope on twittr"" English posted.

To which Weatherspoon replied: "Follow ya boy!!! @englishscope u can't beat me!"

Other players joined up, with safety Del Howard (DHoward15) offering to paint his face as well if English won. Wide receiver Danario Alexander (D_Alexander81) extended his encouragement to Weatherspoon by posting: "@SeanWSpoon12 300 more bro!! Let's go tweeters!!"

Weatherspoon, Howard and Alexander are part of a growing contingent of Tigers football players now on Twitter. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (BlaineGabbert), running back Derrick Washington (Wash24), wide receiver Wes Kemp (Wes_Kemp_8) and running back Kendial Lawrence (showmizzou30) have Twitter accounts.

Coach Gary Pinkel tweets under two names: mizzoufootball and garypinkel, though athletic department spokesman Chad Moller said the coach "doesn't physically do the Twitter updates."

Former Missouri football players on Twitter include: Chase Daniel (ChaseDaniel), Chase Patton (ChasePatton), Will Franklin (WillFranklin19), Martin Rucker (RuckerSouthSide) and Tommy Saunders (TommySaunders84).

Daniel by far has the most followers at 11,248 and uses his page to keep in touch with former teammates and update fans on his status in the NFL.

After being released by the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 12, Daniel was able to update his status on Oct. 16: "Back on active roster! Excited for the game! Go Saints!"

Weatherspoon said he became curious about Twitter after watching the game-day tweets of NBA player Charlie Villanueva, now a forward with the Detroit Pistons.

"He tweeted during the game one time, and that was a big deal," Weatherspoon said. "I kind of became interested in it, so I started getting on there and getting a few updates here and there on what goes on in the life of a Missouri Tiger."

Weatherspoon then passed the torch to Danario Alexander.

"'He was always talking about Twitter so I got on it and I've loved it from there," Alexander said.

"He's got in trouble a couple times for it, but I always read his tweets."

One tweet that got Weatherspoon "in trouble" was a good-natured insult about Illinois quarterback Juice Williams.

About a month before the Tigers matchup with the Fighting Illini, Weatherspoon tweeted: "Just finished a stellar workout, hit 475 on the bench easy, almost hit 500, gotta get it soon! 50 days until I squeeze the pulp out of Juice."

Weatherspoon also uses his Twitter account to post pictures taken on his cell phone, including a recent one featuring him in an MU Snuggie.

"Got my snuggie on this morning, feeling great!" Weatherspoon posted.

He also posts links and messages about the team's travel schedule, his academic experiences and motivational sayings. 

Before the game against Nebraska, Weatherspoon headed a campaign to try to get fans to jingle their keys on third down plays, when the Tigers were on defense.

"All tiger fans when it's 3rd down for nubs (Nebraska), jingle ur keys and scream loud!! 3rd down is KEY DOWN!!! Pass it on," Weatherspoon posted.

So, who among his fellow players gets the award for annoying tweets?

"I would have to go with Del Howard," Weatherspoon said. "He just gives me so many facts that I don't really want to know. He tends to have some random stuff on there."

And who has the best posts?

"That would have to be me," Weatherspoon said with a smile.

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