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July 6, 2006

Recruiting: Top States for Producing NFL Talent

Image from

Last season, published their list that shows which states have the most players on NFL rosters. Before you click on that link, where did you guess the State of Georgia would rank? My guess was 5th. I was wrong.

Best states for producing NFL talent:
1. California - 199
2. Florida - 179
3. Texas - 176
4. Georgia - 90
5. Ohio - 78
6. Louisiana - 76
7. Pennsylvania - 58
8. Michigan - 50
9. Virginia - 49
10. South Carolina - 48
The fact that SC appears at #10 is interesting. However, the optimism that Gamecock and Clemson fans probably feel upon reading that might be offset by the knowledge that 9th still leaves them with a talent pool almost half the size of the pool in Georgia. No wonder the Gamecocks are trying so hard to schedule a series with NC State and/or a series with UNC. The Tar Heel state has 45 guys in the NFL.

No one can afford to lose the #1 player in state. Photo:

Scott Kennedy at stated in a recent discussion that UGA and LSU have two of the best "home court advantages" in the South when it comes to recruiting. Both flagship schools in talent rich states.

But who has the worst in state talent pools among BCS Schools?
1. West Virginia - 4 players on NFL rosters
2. Connecticut - 6 players
3. Kentucky - 12 (Same # of players as Hawaii)
4. Kansas - 13
5. Minnesota - 13
Just for giggles, I went ahead and broke things down by conference. The results aren't what I expected.

Helluva a tough gig recruiting at WVU. Photo: MSNSports

Percent of NFL players by conference in '05
SEC states -- 31.66%
ACC states -- 26.95%
Big East states - 24.35%
Big 10 states -- 20.46%
Big 12 states -- 17.04%
Pac 10 states -- 16.33%
Note: This list isn't saying which conference produces the most NFL players. It's saying which conferences are located in states that produce NFL players. Also, I only included the home states of Big East football playing schools.

Just another way to look at recruiting. Anything on the list shock you?


hat tip to AaronFullen on for the link.


SmoothJimmyApollo said...

How did you break down states per conference? For example, a state like Georgia, Florida, or Iowa with schools from differing conferences, how did you split them up?

Unknown said...

I didn't split them up. I just counted them twice. My logic was...."both teams/conferences have equal access to the state."

I'm pretty sure someone with a stats background/passion like Brian Cook at MGoBlog would have a better way to do that. But that's how a journalism major does it. lol.


Anonymous said...

Paul, wonder what the per capita numbers look like?

SmoothJimmyApollo said...

Early this year, they ran a cool article in The State about recruiting per state. I cannot find it on the intranets, at least not for free. The gist was that there were three main tiers of recruiting. Obviously, you have Texas, California, and Florida at the top. The second included Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, and I believe Louisiana. The quoted experts put South Carolina in the third tier if I am not mistaken. Georgia will never sniff the top tier unless Atlanta grows at ridonkulous exponential rates, but we are in an excellent state for recruiting. Especially, as you stated, because we have a strong hold on in-state talent, and can make moves into other nearby hotbeds.

Unknown said...

Tier 3 as you said does include SC.

Tier 1 = TX, FLA and Cali
Tier 2 = GA, LA and OH with PA historically right there

Schools 8-16 are all lumped together.

However, the schools with really great recruiting advantages are either in Tier 1 *or* they are the flagship school in Tier 2 with little comparable in state competition.

Given that GT has always insisted on recruiting out of state, that puts UGA, LSU and Ohio State in a really great place along side the others.

No other states have such deep talent pools with so very few in state teams to share it with.....except Rutgers who leverages none of that advantage to their benefit historically.


82 said...

I didn't split them up. I just counted them twice. My logic was...."both teams/conferences have equal access to the state."
But what about the states like Fla who have 2 ACC and 1 SEC? How can you break up the chances for each conference at getting a player at 50/50 out of 3 schools?

Unknown said...

Ok, here are the numbers per capita of the top 10 provided (population figures via

1. Louisiana - 76 players with total pop of 4496334 = 0.00169026589216904% of population
2. South Carolina - 48 players with total pop of 4147152 = 0.00115742080348152% of population
3. Florida - 179 players with total pop of 17019068 = 0.00105176147130971% of population
4. Georgia - 90 players with total pop of 8684715 = 0.00103630343655491% of population
5. Texas - 176 players with total pop of 22118509 = 0.000795713671296741% of population
6. Ohio - 78 players with total pop of 11435798 = 0.000682068710902379% of population
7. Virginia - 49 players with total pop of 7386330 = 0.000663387636349852% of population
8. California - 199 players with total pop of 35484453 = 0.000560808983021381% of population
9. Michigan - 50 players with total pop of 10079985 = 0.000496032484175324% of population
10. Pennsylvania - 58 players with total pop of 12365455 = 0.000469048652071436% of population

Anonymous said...

I thought the ATL was growing at ridonkulous rate. It is the kudzu of major cities.

Anonymous said...

Very nice poll done from the people at ESPN SportsNation...Glad the rest of the country agrees.

5) Which school has the best live mascot?

34.3% Georgia's ''Uga'' (bulldog)

12.5% LSU's ''Mike'' (tiger)

11.9% Colorado's ''Ralphie'' (buffalo)

8.4% Texas' ''Bevo'' (longhorn)

7.2% Auburn's ''War Eagle'' (eagle)

5.2% Tennessee's ''Smokey'' (hound)

5.1% Florida State's ''Renegade'' (horse)

4.0% Texas A&M's ''Reveille'' (collie)

3.9% Oklahoma's ''Sooner Schooner''

3.5% USC's ''Traveler'' (horse)

2.8% Yale's ''Handsome Dan'' (bulldog)

1.2% Baylor's ''Joy and Lady'' (bears)

8) What is the best college town?

19.1% Athens, Ga.

11.1% Austin, Texas

9.3% Columbus, Ohio

9.0% Ann Arbor, Mich.

8.6% Gainesville, Fla.

8.1% College Station, Texas

7.4% Madison, Wisc.

6.0% Knoxville, Tenn.

5.9% Columbia, S.C.

3.4% Boulder, Colo.

3.2% Charlottesville, Va.

2.5% Boston

2.0% Eugene, Ore.

1.9% Bloomington, Ind.

1.2% Atlanta

1.2% Syracuse, N.Y.

9) What is the best college rivalry?

22.7% Michigan-Ohio State

12.8% Auburn-Alabama

12.3% Florida-Georgia

8.3% Army-Navy

8.1% South Carolina-Clemson

7.5% Notre Dame-everyone

7.5% Oklahoma-Texas

4.6% Texas-Texas A&M

4.3% Duke-North Carolina

3.6% Florida-Florida State

3.1% Miami-Florida State


1.2% Stanford-Cal

1.1% Harvard-Yale

1.0% Oregon-Oregon State

Total Votes: 118,005

~G.I. Bulldawg

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