Wednesday, February 27, 2008

College Football Talent – Defending the Home Turf

In our last post we looked at the states which the top football prospects in 2008 came from. In this post we are going to take a look at which schools were most successful in recruiting the top players from their own states.

Obviously this exercise is subject to a number of factors that make broad comparisons difficult. Take the state of Florida for instance, in which there were 35 recruits listed in the top 300. Florida has the “Big 3” schools (Florida, FSU and Miami) that presumably have the best edge in competing for these kids. The state also has up-and-coming schools like USF and UCF that are becoming more competitive for top talent. Finally, the state has become a recruiting focus for schools all around the nation, and especially schools where the coaches have Florida connections (think North Carolina, Illinois and South Carolina).

Lastly there is no guarantee that any individual school necessarily wanted any particular kid just because he was from the school’s home state. He may not have filled a pressing need. Yet make no mistake, the kids in the top 300 list were heavily recruited and would have been a welcome addition to almost any school. So, assuming that, thinking most schools did want their homegrown talent is reasonable.

The following is a list of the states with at least 10 recruits in the top 300 per Scout, and the schools to which they committed. For schools located in that state we have a percentage that reflects the number of top recruits that school was able to attract from in that state.

State of Texas

Top Recruits* - 44

Where they went:

Texas – 11 (25%)
Texas A&M - 8 (18.2%)
Oklahoma – 7
Michigan – 3
LSU – 2
Nebraska – 2
Alabama – 1
Baylor – 1 (2.3%)
Houston – 1 (2.3%)
Ohio State - 1
Oklahoma State – 1
Oregon -1
Oregon State -1
Penn State – 1
Stanford – 1
UCLA – 1

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 47.7%

Comments – Texas has a pretty average number for percentage that stayed in-state, with a majority going to the state’s flagship football program. However Texas A&M did better than I would have expected. Rival Oklahoma did well, and many top schools looked to Texas for recruits.

State of California

Top Recruits* - 36

Where they went:

UCLA – 10 (28.6%)
USC – 9 (25.7%)
Notre Dame – 3
Arizona State – 2
Cal – 2 (5.7%)
Oregon – 2
Washington – 2
Arizona – 1
Colorado - 1
Miami (FL) – 1
North Carolina – 1
Stanford – 1 (2.9%)

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 61.1%

Comments – A huge surprise that UCLA “won” that state of California (maybe the SMQ’s thesis about the decline of USC holds some water). The supposedly rising program of Cal did miserably within the borders of its home state. Overall, 61% of top recruits staying at home is a high number.

State of Florida

Top Recruits* - 35

Where they went:

Miami (FL) – 8 (22.9%)
Florida – 5 (14.3%)
Florida State – 4 (11.4%)
Clemson - 3
LSU – 3
Alabama - 2
Auburn – 2
Illinois – 2
Ohio State – 2
Georgia – 1
Michigan – 1
USC – 1
Undecided – 1

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 48.6%

Comments – Like Texas, top schools nationwide go “shopping” in Florida. Miami had the most successful year in keeping the state of Florida talent at home. Surprisingly none of the “up-and-comers” like UCF and USF got any of the state’s top talent.

State of Georgia

Top Recruits* - 21

Where they went:

Georgia – 9 (42.9%)
Alabama – 2
FSU – 2
Clemson - 1
Florida – 1
Georgia Tech – 1 (4.8%)
Oklahoma – 1
Ohio State – 1
North Carolina – 1
Notre Dame - 1
USC – 1

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 47.6%

Comments – UGA had a huge year in securing their own borders, but with little competition (Tech?) it is not totally unexpected. The state also attracts attention nationwide.

State of Pennsylvania

Top Recruits* - 16

Where they went:

Pitt – 6 (37.5%)
Penn State – 3 (18.8%)
Boston College – 1
Florida – 1
Florida State – 1
Illinois – 1
North Carolina - 1
Ohio State – 1
Undecided – 1

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 56.3%

Comments – Pitt continues to recruit well, and maybe someday it might help them. And scoring only 3 of the top 16 recruits in the state had to be a disappointment for the folks at Happy Valley.

State of Ohio

Top Recruits* - 13

Where they went:

Ohio State – 4 (30.8%)
Michigan – 3
Notre Dame – 2
Penn State – 2
FSU – 1
Illinois – 1

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 30.7%

Comments – While Ohio State recruited well nationally, they by no means sealed their own borders, attracting only 4 of 13 top recruits (only one more than Michigan!) in a state where they essentially have no competition (Cincinnati?). And having only 30% of recruits stay home is a low number.

State of Alabama

Top Recruits* - 11

Where they went:

Alabama – 8 (72.7%)
Florida – 2
Clemson – 1
Auburn – 0 (0%)

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 72.7%

Comments – Nick Saban dominated in Alabama, pulling in an incredible 73% of the top talent in his state. For Auburn to get no top players from Alabama had to be a huge disappointment (with even a top player – Dee Finley – from Auburn, AL choosing Florida). Nearly 73% of recruits staying in Alabama (at Alabama) was the highest percentage of states with a large number of recruits.

State of Virginia

Top Recruits* - 10

Where they went:

Virginia Tech – 4 (40%)
FSU – 1
Georgia – 1
North Carolina – 1
NC State – 1
Notre Dame – 1
Undecided – 1

Percentage of Top Recruits that stayed in-state: 40.0%

Comments – Where is Virginia? VT managed to get 4 of 10 top players, but UVA got none.

Other Notable States and Programs

I add mention of these programs because they are nationally renowned, yet the states they hail from may have too few top recruits to draw a meaningful conclusion as to how well they defended their turf. For example, Arkansas received commitments from all 3 top recruits in that state, but 3 is too small a sample size to compare to a state like Georgia and its 21 top recruits. We look here at states with at least 6 recruits.

By number of top recruits –

State of Louisiana – 8 recruits

Comments – LSU held serve admirably at home, keeping 6 of the 8. (75%)

State of North Carolina – 8 recruits

NC State – 3 of 8 (37.5%)
North Carolina – 1 of 8 (12.5%)

Comment – That has to be disappointing for Butch Davis, who did well elsewhere.

State of New Jersey – 8 recruits

Rutgers – 1 of 8 (12.5%)

Comment – A disaster for a thought to be up and coming program. The state’s top recruit, safety Will Hill is going to Florida, while Michigan got 3 of the other 8. Being out recruited by Michigan in their own state is not a good sign for Rutgers.

State of Michigan – 7 recruits

Michigan – 3 of 7 (42.9%)

Comments – The Wolverines held only 3 of 8 top recruits in their home state, losing others to the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, USC, and Ohio State.

State of Illinois – 6 recruits

Illinois – 1 of 6 (16.7%)

Zook may be the master recruiter, but evidently not in his own backyard, losing top talent to Notre Dame (3), Ohio State and Minnesota.

State of South Carolina – 6 recruits

Clemson – 3 of 6 (50%)
South Carolina – 1 of 6 (16.7%)

Bowden cleaned up in South Carolina, with the Ol’ Ball Coach able to snag only a single top player in his state. Not a good sign for the Gamecocks.

I’m going to let readers draw their own conclusions as to who defended well their own turf, and who failed, as a blanket comparison between different sample sizes and situations won’t really work.

NEXT: Who Were The Poachers?


Tommy said...

I'm curious about the state (or is that Commonwealth?) of Virginia's tally. How many of those kids were Hargrave/Fork Union kids from out of state and who'd previously committed somewhere before coming to Virginia to shore up their grades?

I suspect that much of Virginia's talent is of the non-organic variety.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Hey Bulldawg here you go:


Now go lick your balls like a good puppy.

Anonymous said...

This is from across the country, but I recently created some Pac-10 recruiting maps (ugly as hell, but they look nice when you're done). You might want to try doing the same for the Gators.

Part I and Part II here. Keep it up.