Jamie Newberg of Scout.com recently concluded his overarching study of the football talent flow from high school to the NFL, which we previously wrote about here.
The final installment is an eight-year study of the sheer numbers of FBS signees produced by each state. It shouldn't be shocking to anyone reading this site that Texas, Florida and California greatly outpaced the rest of the nation, followed by Georgia and Ohio at more than 100 signees per year. On a per capita level, SEC states dominate the top 10 (Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi), joined by Hawaii, Washington, DC, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio.
Regionally, the South produced as many signees proportionally (36.25 percent) as the next two regions combined (Midlands, 19.01% and West, 17.33%). The Midwest (15.5%) and East (11.67%) were fourth and fifth. Scout classifies as the South as the conventional SEC states (read: not Texas or Missouri) plus North Carolina, the Midwest covers the original Big Ten states plus Kentucky, and the East is everything north and east of those two regions. The Midlands stretches in a straight line from Texas to North Dakota plus Missouri to the east, and the West includes everything to the left of that.
Newberg broke out all 50 states by average signees over the last eight classes. Again, the top 15 is filled with the usual suspects, but it's the bottom 15 I find most interesting:
36. District of Columbia - 9.9 signees per year
37. Connecticut - 8.8
38. Idaho - 7.4
39. Nebraska - 7.1
40. New Mexico - 4.9
41. Delaware - 3.9
42. West Virginia - 3.4
43. New Hampshire - 1.9
44. Montana - 1.5
45. Wyoming - 0.86
46. South Dakota - 0.75
47. Alaska - 0.5
48. Maine - 0.4
49. North Dakota - 0.4
50. Rhode Island - 0.25
Sixteen states (or districts) and two of them contain Power Five schools: Nebraska and West Virginia. Nebraska checks in one spot below Idaho and one spot above New Mexico. West Virginia is one spot below Delaware, producing 31 FBS signees over the past eight years compared to West Virginia's 27, and one spot above the major talent abyss in the states of New Hampshire, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Maine, North Dakota and Rhode Island - a collection of nine states that produce an average of 6.5 FBS players per year.
Nebraska is located at the intersection of two major talent corridors, pulling Midlands players north and Midwest players east. It's within the geographic footprint of its conference (albeit at the far western edge) and has a national brand recognition among the highest in college football. The Huskers signed 24 players in February, with three from Nebraska, four from Texas, three from both Florida and Louisiana, and then one or two players from a smattering of states ranging from Wisconsin to Virginia to Nevada.
West Virginia, on the other hand, signed one of the 3.4 average for its most recent recruiting class, with the rest of its 20 signees and another two more from their region. When you consider that West Virginia dipped out of region for 18 of its 21 prospects, and it must cross a time zone and a mountain range for every one of its conference away games, it gives you an appreciation for the building job Dana Holgorsen and his staff have in front of them bringing the Mountaineers into the Big 12.
We don't know what the figures looked like 10, 15 and 20 years ago, but more than likely they weren't drastically different, which makes you: A) appreciate the heights Tom Osborne and Don Nehlen took their respective programs to, and B) wonder how realistic it is those programs will ever reach those heights again.