It is signing day! So, why not run an in-depth piece on talent and recruiting (as a follow-up to this entry with some great links in it)
Whether it was reality or mis-perception, Chuck Amato had a reputation for preferring high school players from talent-rich states like Florida over those from North Carolina high schools. Ironically, the recruiting class that Amato was creating this season was almost exclusively NC-based. (If you are genuinely interested in more on this topic, this entry is a must read.) As Tom O’Brien heads into his (quasi) first recruiting class, then we thought it would be a good time to touch on the topic of talent again.
WRAL’s David Glenn recently blogged an interesting entry discussing the talent in the state of North Carolina High Schools that can be read by clicking here. The premise is summarized as:
Former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan, now the offensive coordinator at Boston College, recently said on his radio show (620 The Bull in Durham) that he would recommend Davis or O’Brien using all 25 scholarships in a given year on in-state prospects. Logan offered only anecdotal evidence to support the wisdom of such a decision, and that seems to be the case with everyone in the “North Carolina Talent Is Wonderful” camp. It’s easy to throw compliments, on a case-by-case basis, in every direction. It’s a lot more difficult to find hard evidence to support the broader claim.
Glenn goes on to reference some previous research that was done by the ACC Area Sports Journal regarding recruiting in the state.
Research by the ACC Sports Journal and ACCSports.com repeatedly has shown that North Carolina has the worst “football demographics” of any state in the ACC region. The state’s average of about 60 Division I-A signees per year isn’t bad â€” that ranks among the top dozen in the nation â€” but the presence of five I-A programs in the state, along with numerous others within a reasonable driving distance, offers a significant complication. Georgia, in contrast, has two I-A teams and produces about 150 I-A signees per year. As Amato said, to the chagrin of many locals, there’s no denying that the simple math â€” I-A signees/I-A teams â€” isn’t pretty in North Carolina.
^This information is pretty captivating. We actually highlighted it and discussed it in this key entry back when the original entry was posted.
Hereâ€™s the breakdown of how many Division I-A signees the traditional ACC states produce on an annual basis, relative to the number of I-A programs in the state:
Georgia 75 (150 signees, two teams) prospects per school,
Florida 50 (350/7),
Virginia 25 (50/2),
Maryland 20 (40/2),
South Carolina 20 (40/2),
North Carolina 12 (60/5).
Hereâ€™s the breakdown when you limit the same numbers to only BCS-conference teams:
Florida 87 (350/4) per school,
Georgia 75 (150/2),
Maryland 40 (40/1),
Virginia 25 (50/2),
South Carolina 20 (40/2),
North Carolina 15 (60/4).
I don’t think that the issue is that there is not enough talent in North Carolina to succeed. The problem is that there are too many teams splitting the talent for our schools to succeed.
Of course those schools that ARE local need to do a better job of keeping talent in the state when we have the opportunity. Dave Glenn proves my point in this fantastic exercise of creating a hypothetical “All North Carolina” team
What if there was only one Division I-A football team in North Carolina, instead of five? What if its coaches were smart enough to identify, without exception, the best high school prospects in the state every single year? What if the team then was able to sign every one of those top targets, rather than losing many of them to out-of-state programs? What would that hypothetical All-North Carolina team look like, based on what actual North Carolina products did at schools throughout Division I-A football during the 2006 season?
The good news is, there definitely would be enough proven players to field a team. The bad news is, out of the 300-plus North Carolina high school football players who signed with Division I-A teams over the past five years, only eight (see below) earned first- or second-team all-conference honors this fall.
As Trout pointed out in a comments section of a previous entry – the number of D1 signees is correlated to the population of that state:
Florida: 17.7 million, 350 signees
Georgia: 9.1 million, 150 signees
North Carolina: 8.6 million, 60 signees
Virginia: 7.6 million, 50 signees
Maryland: 5.6 million, 40 signees
South Carolina: 4.3 million, 40 signees
Again – the issue isn’t the gross amount of talent in the state of North Carolina. The issue is the disproportionately large number of local programs that the local talent must support. Add to this mix the fact that UNC-Charlotte is now considering the addition of a Division One football program and you wonder if local schools will soon be starting two-hundred point linemen. (The UNC Board of Governors would do well to squash this ‘dream’ right now!)
GeorgiaSportsBlog produced a similar, and even more detailed look at football talent by state One of their data points was number of NFL players produced by states.
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
When you look at the location of all of this talent…is it any wonder that the SEC is expected to produce SIX TOP TEN classes today?
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: Please don’t use this entry to dive too deep into individual names that NC State is recruiting this year. We will have an entry for everyone to go “On the Record” with their thoughts, etc.