Origins of Football Talent

For the past five years, Front Range, a mainstain of PSU's online community, has conducted the Annual Recruiting Survey, which breaks down talent across the nation. This year Texas regained the national title as leading producer of DI football players, ahead of California.

The Lone Star state had relinquished that title to the Golden State for the last three recruiting seasons, but moved ahead to take the honors for the 2005 LOI season.

Texas sent 325 recruits to DI programs this year, compared to 315 for California. Florida retained third place – for the fifth consecutive season – with 251 recruits. The remainder of the top 10 are consistent with the previous 4 years, with Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Alabama, New Jersey and Louisiana shifting positions, but still providing abundant talent again in 2005.

The availability of data on the Internet has made our fifth annual survey of recruits the most reliable yet. In past years many recruits who signed from junior college or from one of the several popular prep schools in the east (such as the Fork Union Military Academy) could not be assigned to any particular state. Since the main aim of the survey is to identify the high schools attended by signees we have avoided awarding, for example, FUMA products to Virginia or Bridgton Academy products to New Hampshire IF those kids actually attended and graduated from high school somewhere else. This year, we are pleased to say, all but three or four recruits could be assigned to a high school with reasonable assurance.

Likewise, junior college transfers can now be assigned to a high school thanks to the resources available on the Internet.

The survey includes all teams classified as DI-A, with several exceptions. The service academies are not included because their recruits are not announced. As in the past, the Sun Belt Conference is not included for two main reasons. First, the conference generally does not compare with the other DI conferences competitively (admittedly a value judgement on the part of the author). Second, every year a number of Sun Belt teams report recruit lists that include upwards of 33 recruits. It's not clear how to treat these class sizes when the NCAA limit on annual class size is 25 prospects. The omission of the Sun Belt keeps the survey consistent with those done in previous seasons.

Here is a list of the total number of commitments per state.

1. Texas 325
2. California 315
3. Florida 251
4. Ohio 135
5. Georgia 133
6. Pennsylvania 69
7. Illinois 67
8. Alabama 66
9. New Jersey 65
10. Louisiana 62
11. Michigan 59
12. North Carolina 57
13. Mississippi 53
14. Maryland 48
15. Virginia 46
16. Arizona 44
17. Tennessee 39
18. Colorado 38
19. New York 35
20. South Carolina 34
21. Hawaii 32
22. Indiana 30
23. Kentucky 26
Washington 26
Oklahoma 26
26. Missouri 25
27. Utah 20
Arkansas 20
29. Wisconsin 17
Kansas 17
31. Connecticut 14
Nevada 14
33. Minnesota 13
Iowa 13
35. Oregon 11
36. New Mexico 8
37. District of Columbia 7
Nebraska 7
West Virginia 7
40. Massachusetts 6
41. Idaho 4
42. New Hampshire 3
Wyoming 3
44. Delaware 2
Alaska 2
46. Maine 1
South Dakota 1
Rhode Island 1
49. Montana, Vermont, North Dakota 0

Five Year Rankings

The rankings of our Annual Recruiting Survey have been relatively consistent through the years. With five years worth of data, it's interesting to see how the states rank over that period of time. Here is how the top 14 states have stacked up over the past five years.

1. California 1584
2. Texas 1523
3. Florida 1083
4. Ohio 632
5. Georgia 558
6. Pennsylvania 352
7. Alabama 344
8. Michigan 341
9. Louisiana 327
10. Illinois 290
11. New Jersey 270
12. Mississippi 269
13. North Carolina 253
14. Virginia 232

Distribution by Conference

Each year the issue arises about the conferences to which recruits from various states seem to go. This was brought up traditionally because Ohio and Michigan both send a lot of recruits to DI schools each year, but a large proportion of them end up in the Mid-American Conference. Based on the performance of the MAC in recent years, this may not actually be a knock on those states, but we have a distribution for the top 15 talent producers by conference just so it's on the table. Here is a talent breakdown by conference:

There are many more interesting ways to look at the data and play around with the information. That is a project for the next time. You probably recognize that there is a lot of talent in California and Texas, just as many of the recruiters have.

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