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Expansion By The Numbers 5: Fertile Recruiting Ground

When the great expansion race of 2011 is fully run, we expect that many, many factors will have played a role in who went where: television households, population, athletic prowess, academic reputation, politics and interleague grumbling, and many more.  We’re currently zipping through a number of those in this series.

One topic that will likely be discussed on an ancillary basis is fertile recruiting ground.  Will the number of top athletes a state produces be the #1 reason Conference X invites School Y to join?  Absolutely not.  But it’s one factor that might play a small role in pushing one school past another in athletic directors minds… and those ADs might influence their school presidents just a tad.

Therefore in Part 5 of our series on SEC expansion, we look at the football talent — because football is the most important sport when it comes to TV dollars — produced in each of 35 different schools’ home states.

This Category:  Fertile Recruiting Ground

Why:  There’s a reason several SEC coaches — especially those in the SEC West — have spoken positively of the addition of Texas A&M to the SEC… recruiting.  By playing more games in the Lone Star State, more Texas recruits will be exposed to SEC football in person and on television.  And there are a lot of great recruits in Texas.

This past spring, the SEC’s presidents voted to place a soft 25-man cap on their schools’ football signing classes.  That decision went against the wishes of league coaches who argued such a cap would hurt recruiting.  Obviously, recruiting isn’t the biggest concern of the academicians who run the SEC.  But that doesn’t mean they won’t give some amount of weight to the recruiting benefits that opening up a new region can have on overall league success.  And that’s why we’re discussing this topic, while also stating that it won’t be a major, major factor.

In this post we’re again looking at 35 schools.  We know that’s way more than the SEC would ever consider, but we’ve already had some readers suggest we didn’t include as many schools as we should have.  So it’s a no-win scenario for  But since this is an exercise done purely for the sake of comparison, we’ve drawn the line at 35 schools.

In an effort to nuke complaints in this specific category — fat chance — we’re once again using one simple number.  There’s no spin, no room for debate.  The numbers are the numbers and you can interpret them any way you like… but the numbers are still the numbers.  In this case, the number used is the total number of NFL draft picks produced by a school’s home state from 2002 through 2011.  It’s impossible to define regions and spheres of influence, so we’re looking at the much more easily defined state borders.

Below is how each of the schools on our list checked out, from highest number of NFL picks to lowest.  Knowing that expansion is about outward growth of the geographic footprint, we’re also not counting any school located in a current SEC state with providing additional exposure to recruits.  A Florida recruit will already be familiar with SEC football thanks to Florida, for example.  Florida State might help some, but since we can’t quantify how much, they’ll not be credited with adding anything new to the SEC in terms of in-state recruiting.


Rank School Home State NFL Draft Picks from 2002-2011
1t Baylor Texas 224
1t Texas Texas 224
1t Texas A&M Texas 224
1t Texas Tech Texas 224
1t TCU Texas 224
6 Cincinnati Ohio 100
7t Virginia Virginia 73
7t Virginia Tech Virginia 73
9t Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 59
9t Penn State Pennsylvania 59
11t Duke N. Carolina 56
11t E. Carolina N. Carolina 56
11t N. Carolina N. Carolina 56
11t NC State N. Carolina 56
11t Wake Forest N. Carolina 56
16 Rutgers New Jersey 49
17t Maryland Maryland 37
17t Navy Maryland 37
19 Syracuse New York 35
20t Oklahoma Oklahoma 31
20t Oklahoma State Oklahoma 31
22 Notre Dame Indiana 26
23 Missouri Missouri 25
24 Iowa State Iowa 21
25 Boston College Massachusetts 14
26 Connecticut Connecticut 13
27t Kansas Kansas 9
27t Kansas State Kansas 9
29 W. Virginia W. Virginia 3
30t Clemson S. Carolina 0
30t Florida State Florida 0
30t Georgia Tech Georgia 0
30t Louisville Kentucky 0
30t Miami Florida 0
30t S. Florida Florida 0


* Look at the number of top players coming out of Texas over the past decade and it’s easy to see why Bobby Petrino and Les Miles have nary a problem with the SEC adding Texas A&M.

* On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia’s small population plays a clear role in its lack of NFL draftees.  If the SEC looks to expand east — for football purposes only — WVU will lag behind other potential dance partners in bigger, more talent-rich states.  (This shows, however, what a solid job of recruiting outside their state Mountaineer coaches have done over the years.)

* Want a reason to consider Cincinnati for an SEC bid?  Ohio ranks second only to Texas in terms of NFL talent-produced.

* Think Kentucky and Tennessee would like to see the SEC get a foothold in Virginia?  There’s some fertile ground in that commonwealth.

Below is how the SEC stacks up along this same measurement:


Rank School Home State NFL Draft Picks from 2002-2011
1 Florida Florida 212
2 Georgia Georgia 101
3 LSU Louisiana 84
4t Alabama Alabama 65
4t Auburn Alabama 65
6 S. Carolina S. Carolina 62
7t Tennessee Tennessee 37
7t Vanderbilt Tennessee 37
9t Miss. State Mississippi 34
9t Ole Miss Mississippi 34
11 Arkansas Arkansas 25
12 Kentucky Kentucky 17


* If another league were to raid the SEC for Kentucky or Arkansas it’s coaches wouldn’t do a whole lot of celebrating about added recruiting opportunities.

* Florida, Georgia and LSU?  That would be a different story.

* If you want to compare non-SEC states to the nine states already represented in the league, the average number of draft picks from league states over the last 10 years was 70.7.  The addition of Texas A&M is seriously going to crank that number up in future years.

Up next in Part 6, we’ll eyeball the all important athletic budget.



Wake Forest "Demon Deacons" BEAT ranked Florida State "Seminoles" on Sat. 10-8-2011 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina----score 35-30!! Wake Forest is not the bottom feeders of the Atlantic Coast Conference! That belongs to the Duke "Blue Devils"!! Duke, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Baylor are the bottom feeders of the major conferences!! Wake Forest always gets a bad reputation just because it is the smallest school in one of the BIG Conferences!! In academics and a variety of different sports the "Demon Deacons" are a class above the rest!!! GO ACC!! Go Wake Forest "Demon Deacons"!!!


This methodology is kind of flawed. If the argument for A&M adding recruiting turf is that high schoolers in Texas will go to an SEC school because they'll get a road game at A&M, the same applies to those within the footprint:

In a 14-team SEC: the West goes to A&M once every two years. But the East would visit A&M only once every seven years. The East can't offer a trip "home" to HALF their recruiting classes. The West is in the exact same situation now with the state of Florida.

But adding FSU to a 14-team SEC, the East will have a trip to Florida every year; and the West would go to Florida twice every seven years, and could tell every kid in Florida that they'll play in their home state once in their careers, some classes, twice.

Stan Cardwell
Stan Cardwell

pick a radius around the school to get a clearer pic of recruitment field. obviously a school like WVU is getting recruits from places other than WV. How about Baltimore, DC, Western PA, northern Ohio, Virginia. Because WVU will be on TV sets in DC and Pittsburgh, I would think recruits might look a little further south. the SEC would eat into ACC territory.


Don't get me wrong, I love college football & basketball very much!!! BUT academics do matter in the long run!! I am a very PROUD fan of the ACC's SPORTS & ACADEMICS as a whole!! I know that the SEC would love to get its footprint in the state of North Carolina!! I feel sorry for poor Vanderbilt!! An ACC type school stuck in the middle of Tennessee!!! Don't think that Florida State, Virginia Tech or any other ACC team will jump to the SEC!! They know they have it GOOD in a very CLASSY ACC, that VALUES both SPORTS & ACADEMICS!! GO ACC!!!


As another ACC poster, we appreciate UNC's contributions to the league on the field and in the classroom. But really? You're giving the ACC a bad name with these posts.

The SEC doesn't need anyone to come to their defense so I won't. That being said, you're being a jackass.


North Carolina & Virginia are the two SOUTHERN states that are NOT impressed with the SEC!! Never have been and NEVER will be!!!


TOOOO funny! GT & NC are on PROBATION!!!!! Oh let's talk about the great pride of the ACC- Miami.....LOL you're a joke! SEC RULES

Jack Edwards
Jack Edwards

No one watches college basketball outside of NC and Kentucky in any month but March anyhow.

Jack Edwards
Jack Edwards

Everyone in Eastern North Carolina knows the SEC is the best football conference. No one in the country watches college basketball in any other sport but March outside NC and Kentucky.


Such a troll. People like you are one of the reasons I would never want UNC in the SEC in the first place. It's funny that you laud your own "class" and then fail to demonstrate it in any way.


The other major conferences that put VALUE on ACADEMICS and SPORTS (ACC, BIG 10 & PAC 12) ALL LAUGH at the SEC except for Vanderbilt, which is a wonderful university in an academic NIGHTMARE of a conference---the SEC!!! The only thing you can brag on is football---so SAD!!!


If it makes you feel better, you keep thinking that!! The rest of the country laughs at you---IDIOT!!


Your comment regarding West Virginia again shows your misunderstanding of the school. Since Morgantown is a stone's throw from the Pennsylvania state line, it has always recruited heavily in PA, as well as neighboring states like Maryland. Since there are no other schools in the area that will ever be inclined to jump to the SEC (i.e., Virginia Tech), why not take WVU and open this area up to SEC recruiting (as well as an SEC television network?


I am a lifelong Mountaineer fan and none of this matters. It is amazing that the state of WV has been able to compete at this level or even close to this level and it is all about to come to an end.

When the SEC sells the SEC network to cable subscribers they will get a cut of every TV in that area regardless if the TV gets turned on or not that is why Missouri is their choice. WV may turn on more tv's but St Louis and Kansas City by themselves have more and it will not matter if they turn them on or not, they will already have their money.

I am tired of hearing about academics, it doesn't matter even to college presidents, when was the last time you refused to watch a college football game because one of them wasn't an AAU member, it is all money. They may say it does but in the end money makes the world go around.


Jeff, any Schools in an "SEC" state where given Zero recruits(NFL Picks). Hence GT and FSU have zero.

This measure also shows the amount of "Football" interest in a state, multiplied by its population. Compare the number of picks from MIssissippi to NY (34 to 35), yet in population the states are 3 million (31'st) to 20 million (3rd). Football intestest allows these smaller population areas to punch over thier weight class...same thing would drive better TV ratings...$ support, etc...

Jeff show Louisville in Kentucky with 0 picks. Then you show Kentucky in Kentucky with 17 picks. I think you might have overlooked something.


John is saying that Louisville adds nothing because the SEC is already in Kentucky. Same goes for Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Clemson and South Florida


The advantage to FSU is not exposing recruits to the SEC but to keep the recruits from being exposed to ACC schools. The same goes for TV viewers.


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