Football talent dispersion is eye opening

TEXAS AND FLORIDA are two states long known as hotbeds of football talent, but the actual scope of their profligacy is eye-popping. A analysis of the just-concluded recruiting cycle shows that 698 prospects from those two states signed Division I-A letters of intent. For perspective on that number, consider that the state of Washington produced just 19 D-IA signees this year.

The Evergreen State's total ranked it No. 29 out of the 50 states that collectively produced a signing class that numbered nearly 2,500. Washington's output placed it just behind Arkansas and just ahead of Connecticut.

Admittedly, 2009 was a down year for WA, but even in bountiful seasons the state's D-IA scholie numbers typically number no more than 30 to 35.

Still, Washington's talent runneth over compared with its two neighboring states. Oregon produced just 10 D-1A players in 2009 and Idaho eight.

Of the 19 home growns in Washington who signed letters of intent last month, 13 inked with BCS conference schools. Washington State nabbed seven of them, including the only 4-star-rated player in the state (Skyline receiver Gino Simone). Washington secured two of the 13, Oregon State two, Cal one and Stanford one. Of the six Washingtonians signing with non-BCS schools, two went to Boise State and four to Idaho.

California, which traditionally sends more players to Pullman than any other state, was the nation's third-most prolific talent-producer, generating 220 Division IA signees in the 2009 recruiting class (of which 114 went to BCS schools). That 220 number is far more than any state except Texas west of the Mississippi River but 95 less than No. 2 Florida (315) and 163 less than No. 1 Texas (383).

While roughly 20 D-IA colleges rely on the Lone Star State to fill their rosters, the volume helps explain how the state's premier program -- Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns -- pretty much has each recruiting class wrapped up in August (five month before LOI Day).

Ohio and Georgia, with 157 D-IA signees each, rounded out the top five talent-producing states. Those big numbers may offer a clue as to why Ohio State and the University of Georgia are perennial football powers. Ohio State has no other in-state BCS schools to compete with and Georgia has just one in Georgia Tech.

Regionally speaking, the Western states, with 372 total signees, was a distant fourth behind the Southeast (862), North (696) and Midland (511).

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