Kansas City, MO produces a higher caliber talent than St. Louis. They have problems keeping them in state.
Earlier today we showed you a full breakdown in table form of where each school went to land its talent this year. Below, we’ll break things down a bit more simply, school by school and state by state.
Let’s start with the states producing the most SEC talent in 2014. The league added — as of this moment — 344 new athletes. Sixty-five of those were from outside the SEC footprint. That means 279 of the league’s 345 newcomers are from the SEC region. That’s 81.1% of all the new talent entering the conference. Wonder why the SEC is so strong every year? Because its 14 schools averaged fewer than five outsiders a piece this season. Homegrown talent, folks.
So which states in the SEC zone produced the most newcomers? Here the list…
|SEC State||SEC Newcomers||Thoughts|
|Georgia||52||A lack of FBS schools allows SEC rivals to mine the state for talent|
|Florida||50||More talent overall, but FSU, Miami, USF, UCF, etc to compete with|
|Mississippi||38||Totals boosted by the number of junior colleges in the state|
|Texas||36||16 to A&M so other 13 SEC schools just pulled 20 from the state|
|Alabama||27||The state’s best are typically gobbled up by Alabama, Auburn|
|Louisiana||25||LSU, for the most part, keeps the cream of the crop at home|
|Tennessee||17||The state’s numbers have been on the rise as HS football improves|
|S. Carolina||13||Clemson grabs a good number of players from this state|
|Missouri||11||One would think the St. Louis metro area would produce more talent|
|Arkansas||6||Traditionally a talent-poor state|
|Kentucky||4||The SEC’s poorest state for talent each year|
Alright, so what about the schools? Where did the programs go to bring in the biggest chunk of their new 2014 talent? Here’s the answer…
|School||Leading Talent State||% of Total Class||In-State Talent||% of Total Class|
|Alabama||AL (7 of 27)||25.9%||7 of 27||25.9%|
|Arkansas||AR & FL (5 each of 24)||20.8%||5 of 24||20.8%|
|Auburn||GA (10 of 23)||43.4%||7 of 23||30.4%|
|Florida||FL (14 of 24)||58.3%||14 of 24||58.3%|
|Georgia||GA (11 of 21)||52.3%||11 of 21||52.3%|
|Kentucky||OH (11 of 28)||39.2%||4 of 28||14.2%|
|LSU||LA (12 of 23)||52.1%||12 of 23||52.1%|
|Miss. State||MS (15 of 23)||65.2%||15 of 23||65.2%|
|Missouri||MO (8 of 28)||28.5%||8 of 28||28.5%|
|Ole Miss||MS (14 of 26)||53.8%||14 of 26||53.8%|
|S. Carolina||SC (9 of 21)||42.8%||9 of 21||42.8%|
|Tennessee||TN (10 of 32)||31.2%||10 of 32||31.2%|
|Texas A&M||TX (16 of 22)||72.7%||16 of 22||72.7%|
|Vanderbilt||GA (5 of 22)||22.7%||3 of 22||13.6%|
Not a lot of surprises on that there list, huh? Texas A&M (72.7%), Mississippi State (65.2%), Florida (58.3%), Georgia (52.3%), LSU (52.1%) and Ole Miss (53.8%) all brought in the majority of their new additions from inside their own home states. Massive advantage if you’ve got it.
Three SEC schools landed most of their talent from a neighboring state. Auburn grabbed 43.4% of its newcomers from Georgia. Kentucky went out of the SEC footprint entirely with Ohio producing 39.2% of the Cats’ new talent. Vanderbilt’s best talent-producing state was Georgia, but that number was rather low (22.7%).
Also, Arkansas got as many players out of Florida (20.8%) as it did its own state.
In terms of worst home-state performance, Vanderbilt takes that prize (just 13.6% from Tennessee). The Commodores recruit nationally due to their academic requirements, but James Franklin had made progress in the Volunteer State, especially in the mid-state/Nashville area. Derek Mason will want to rebuild those connections.
Kentucky (14.2%), Arkansas (20.8%) and Alabama (25.9%) also scored poorly (numerically speaking) in terms of in-state recruiting. Kentucky and Arkansas make the list because they have little home grown talent to chase. Alabama is on the list because Nick Saban’s so perfected the Tide’s recruiting that he could sign the top players from Utah, the Ukraine or Uranus if he desired.
Winding this exercise down, we believe Georgia will continue to be the go-to state for SEC schools due to the fact that there is so much talent and only so many in-state FBS programs. If Kentucky clears out and focuses instead on Ohio each year that would be a plus for those other schools that need Georgia prospects to survive. However, Georgia State in Atlanta is now in the FBS and their admission requirements aren’t as stringent as Georgia’s or Georgia Tech’s. Laugh if you like, but the Panthers have the making of a USF or UCF and they could start chipping away at the number of athletes leaving the Peach State for the SEC.
Texas’ talent pool remains largely untapped to schools not named Texas A&M or LSU. No one else in the SEC signed more than two players from the Lone State State. Keep an eye on this one as the number of Texas signees heading to the SEC should grow over time.
Tennessee was once one of the worst talent-producing states in the SEC, along with Kentucky and Arkansas. In recent years, however, there’s been an uptick in the amount of high school football players landing D-1 scholarships. If that trend continues it could help both Tennessee and Vanderbilt build themselves up.
As for Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri, it’s clear that the schools in those states will continue to have to travel to find recruits. For Kentucky that means Ohio (and we would suggest they push into talent-rich Virginia as well). For Arkansas, that should mean Texas, but the Hogs have instead hit up Florida hard the last two years. For Missouri, the Tigers will continue to build inroads into East Division states like Florida, Georgia and even Tennessee. They might want to try to re-open a couple of their old Texas spigots as well.
One last note — The SEC Network launches in August. Depending on who carries it and who watches it that channel could have a major impact on SEC recruiting. We don’t expect to see major dividends next February, but from that point forward… who knows? Just keep in mind that this was the final class of the pre-SEC Network era. So we’ll have something new comparisons to make a year from now.
(CORRECTION — All numbers have been updated to reflect one missed player: an Arkansas signee from Louisiana.)
(UPDATE — Ole Miss’ decision to release DJ Law from his LOI is reflected above. The Rebels have lost one recruit, as has the state of Florida from our tally)