Very interesting article yesterday from Rivals Highschool site, “Talent pool: Where the Division 1 signees came from,” by Dallas Jackson.

This is an annual analysis of the division I signees from each state in the nation, by Rivals.  Maybe this is only interesting to a stat geek like myself, but I always like to assume the southern states produce the best college football players.  Dallas’ article does bear my assumption out, but I wanted to take it another step further and look at per capita results in each state as well.  

The ratio of division 1 signees to all high school players shows the top 5 as: Florida (1 out of every 117 high school football players signs a division 1 LOI), Georgia; Louisiana; Alabama; Hawaii.  Not that suprising, except for Hawaii maybe.  Other SEC states: Texas at 11th, Arkansas 17th, Mississippi 18th, Tennessee 19th, South Carolina 20th, Kentucky 27th, Missouri 29th.

When your analyze the ratio of total highschool players to individual state populations, it’s a little different, as the top 5 in this category are: Mississippi (where 1 out of every 133 persons in the state plays high school football), Texas, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

High school players per capita, is not a measure of success necessarily.  Looking at the ratio of signees per total population, we get what is a true measure of the SEC’s worth.  The top 5 here are: Alabama (1 out of every 50,850 people sign a D1 LOI), Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Texas.  Other SEC states include Mississippi at 6th, Arkansas 11th, South Carolina 13th, Tennessee 18th, Kentucky 26th, Missouri 29th.

All sorts of interesting data here; Alabama had as many high school football players as Mississippi and Tennessee but about twice the number of D1 signees;  Louisiana has the 3rd lowest total number of high school players (in the SEC states), but nearly the same number of signees as Alabama.  As expected Texas and Florida would have the most signees but they are spread out across the country like seeds in the wind. 

So what does it all mean?  It certainly provides a statistical basis for the southern regions rise in football dominance.  The traditional Big 10 and Big 12 states lag behind but are close in some instances, like Ohio and Oklahoma, but you can’t deny the Southeast’s love of football, which means more participation, which parlays to more success in the college ranks.

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