Looking at HS Football Talent Over Time

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Jul 9, 2011
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Yankees Tavern, Carlos Texas
#1
I typed this is response to a question in another forum and another poster suggested I post it here:

Sorry this is so long, but some interesting history and statistics might explain what is happening. back in the dark ages (1970's) I took an elective Sociology course at OSU titled something like "High School Football Recruiting". It was based on a GA's study of the source of hs football recruits by state over the years and how it was changing. The GA was studying what social/economics influences affected the source of college football talent.

Quick summary: in the pre/post WWII era far and away the most hs football talent was located in the upper Midwest; Ohio, Penn, Michigan and the Big 10 was traditionally the strongest conference. In the 50's and 60's it shifted and eventually just Texas and California alone were producing a dominant portion of all college football talent, replacing the upper Midwest. We saw the rise of the SWC, Big 8 and the PAC 10. It's no wonder that at that time virtually every D1 program recruited in Texas. In the late 60's and 70's Florida/Geogia were just starting to show up as a significant source of hs football talent. Interesting that you can see the rise in success of certain conferences based on where hs football talent came from. Historically, even before Gundy, we have never recruited a high percentage of four and five star talent; however, during the peak of Texas hs football talent production we were able to pull some four and even a few five star recruits out of Texas, partially because there was more four and five star talent to be had.

Thought: maybe football conference success is less about coaching and more about local available hs talent to recruit.

Fast forward to 2019 - there has been another shift in the source of college football talent. Of the top 100 five and four star recruits listed by Scout, 40% are from 5 states: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Texas had 16% and California had 14%. The remaining 30% of highly rated recruits were spread across the other 44 states. Right now we do not have much of a chance recruiting the top 100 recruits from the middle of SEC country, and probably don't have a good chance with the those from California. The ONE state we have a chance at four and five star recruits over time is Texas, and the pool of top hs football talent in Texas has dwindled over the last few years in favor of the Southeast states.

If you look at the the 34 five star recruits the shift is even more evident: 19 out of 34, or just under 60% of the five star recruits are from the Southeast states of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Texas, a state that at one time produced 30% or more of top hs football talent in the country had 4 (12%). Hence the rise of SEC football? This shift is why you are seeing schools like OSU make recruiting forays in to Louisiana and Georgia. The remaining 11 five star recruits were 2 in California (way down) and the rest scattered among the remaining states. We have pulled a lot of great football talent out of Texas, but the numbers and level of talent have and may continue to drop.

Why the shift? Changing demographics is one cause. For example Hispanics now make up more than 50% of Texas public school populations and they tend to have less interest/participation in football. This is an factor in California as well. Here's an interesting article on the subject:

https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/texas-high-school-football/

Conclusions: Texas is a big state and will continue to produce talent, but it will continue to dwindle on a relative basis as a source of top college football talent as demographics continue to change. I have to assume the Texas schools will continue to get their recruits most of the time, which means the biggest effect is and will be on the next tier of out of state schools that come to Texas to recruit - they will be competing for a shallower pool of top players. Out of state schools will have to find a way to recruit in the Southeast states like they have done in Texas in the past in order to pull top talent their way. If I were an out of Texas school like us I'd also develop programs to work with high schools in Oklahoma to help develop better football talent and then try to keep them in state. And do what OSU is doing - find good kids with good frames and some athletic ability and build you own talent.
 
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RxCowboy

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#3
We have pulled a lot of great football talent out of Texas, but the numbers and level of talent have and may continue to drop.

Why the shift? Changing demographics is one cause. For example Hispanics now make up more than 50% of Texas public school populations and they tend to have less interest/participation in football.
Great post. I've asked the question before, even if we had resources equal to OU to be able to attract equal talent and equal depth, which we do not currently have, would we be able to attract enough Texas school boy talent to Oklahoma to support two blue blood programs in the state. Your post suggests the answer is likely not due to changing demographics and drop in the talent pool.
 
Jun 4, 2014
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#4
This is one of the reasons it is imperative we open new pipelines for recruiting. We have started to do well in Louisiana. We need to step that up and begin to snag a few guys who are deciding between us and LSU. Roping off Tulsa should also be a big goal of ours. Similar to Miami roping off the “state of Miami” back in the 80’s.


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RxCowboy

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#5
This is one of the reasons it is imperative we open new pipelines for recruiting. We have started to do well in Louisiana. We need to step that up and begin to snag a few guys who are deciding between us and LSU. Roping off Tulsa should also be a big goal of ours. Similar to Miami roping off the “state of Miami” back in the 80’s.


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Tulsa is a considerably smaller pool than the "state of Miami". Walling it off will have a much smaller effect for us than the wall that The U built.
 
Jun 4, 2014
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#6
This is one of the reasons it is imperative we open new pipelines for recruiting. We have started to do well in Louisiana. We need to step that up and begin to snag a few guys who are deciding between us and LSU. Roping off Tulsa should also be a big goal of ours. Similar to Miami roping off the “state of Miami” back in the 80’s.


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Tulsa is a considerably smaller pool than the "state of Miami". Walling it off will have a much smaller effect for us than the wall that The U built.
The numbers are smaller for sure. But it should be good for 3-8 guys ever year. There is a lot of prime talent out of Tulsa.


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Jun 4, 2014
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#8
The numbers are smaller for sure. But it should be good for 3-8 guys ever year. There is a lot of prime talent out of Tulsa.


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We'll always be competing with the goons for them. There is no way to rope them out.
Not saying they’ll go away, but we should get into a position to where we are the #1 in state option for kids around Tulsa. It’s not like Miami didn’t have to deal with Florida or Florida St.


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RxCowboy

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#9
Not saying they’ll go away, but we should get into a position to where we are the #1 in state option for kids around Tulsa. It’s not like Miami didn’t have to deal with Florida or Florida St.


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Miami was in a much better position to deal with Floriduh and Floriduh State than we are to deal with uO because, after all, South Beach, money, hookers and blow. We just can't offer that.
 
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#12
Projections are the percentage of Hispanic children in Texas public schools will continue to rise. The population of Texas was about 20% Hispanic in 2000. It is projected to be 40% by 2020 and at 60% Hispanic by 2050. The change will be primarily replacing the Caucasian population, which was at about 65% in 2000 and is projected to fall to about 22% by 2050.
 

RutherfordFan

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#13
Good post, solid and appreciate it. However I would be interested in a study of the Top 500 players in the country as you can win big with any of them. Rivals top 250 etc. You might expand a bit but good solid stuff there. Appreciate it.
 
Jun 4, 2014
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#14
Not saying they’ll go away, but we should get into a position to where we are the #1 in state option for kids around Tulsa. It’s not like Miami didn’t have to deal with Florida or Florida St.


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Miami was in a much better position to deal with Floriduh and Floriduh State than we are to deal with uO because, after all, South Beach, money, hookers and blow. We just can't offer that.
Those seem like excuses to me. But we can agree to disagree.


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Dec 21, 2008
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#15
I have personally heard stories from coaches that have said "we cannot afford to miss on Kid A or Kid B because I only get 1-3 scolarships each year to offer." This is in reference to an "average" star HS player. Kids that are 2" too short or 0.1 too slow etc. I have heard coaches from several elite schools use the term "gamechanger".

Guys like Hollywood Brown, Tylan Wallace, Chuba etc. Yes there are 1000s of 5'9" WRs or 6' RBs that have skills and are fast but the 3 I mentioned have NFL futures. This is what the coaches talk about so the 3-8 elite talent in Tulsa area, I agree but several have gone out of state the last couple yrs. Wayne to KSU, Proctor to OSU, Hill to Michigan, couple others to Texas, A&M, Nebraska, Memphis etc.

Here is the link where 2017 players went:
https://247sports.com/Season/2017-Football/RecruitRankings/?State=ok

Evers was #13, Brock was #20, Malcolm #29, Odom #30. Yes these are subjective opinions and alot has to do with projected fit/size/culture fit but we didn't get one projected top 12 in OK.
 
Sep 23, 2018
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Memphis
#16
I typed this is response to a question in another forum and another poster suggested I post it here:

Sorry this is so long, but some interesting history and statistics might explain what is happening. back in the dark ages (1970's) I took an elective Sociology course at OSU titled something like "High School Football Recruiting". It was based on a GA's study of the source of hs football recruits by state over the years and how it was changing. The GA was studying what social/economics influences affected the source of college football talent.

Quick summary: in the pre/post WWII era far and away the most hs football talent was located in the upper Midwest; Ohio, Penn, Michigan and the Big 10 was traditionally the strongest conference. In the 50's and 60's it shifted and eventually just Texas and California alone were producing a dominant portion of all college football talent, replacing the upper Midwest. We saw the rise of the SWC, Big 8 and the PAC 10. It's no wonder that at that time virtually every D1 program recruited in Texas. In the late 60's and 70's Florida/Geogia were just starting to show up as a significant source of hs football talent. Interesting that you can see the rise in success of certain conferences based on where hs football talent came from. Historically, even before Gundy, we have never recruited a high percentage of four and five star talent; however, during the peak of Texas hs football talent production we were able to pull some four and even a few five star recruits out of Texas, partially because there was more four and five star talent to be had.

Thought: maybe football conference success is less about coaching and more about local available hs talent to recruit.

Fast forward to 2019 - there has been another shift in the source of college football talent. Of the top 100 five and four star recruits listed by Scout, 40% are from 5 states: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Texas had 16% and California had 14%. The remaining 30% of highly rated recruits were spread across the other 44 states. Right now we do not have much of a chance recruiting the top 100 recruits from the middle of SEC country, and probably don't have a good chance with the those from California. The ONE state we have a chance at four and five star recruits over time is Texas, and the pool of top hs football talent in Texas has dwindled over the last few years in favor of the Southeast states.

If you look at the the 34 five star recruits the shift is even more evident: 19 out of 34, or just under 60% of the five star recruits are from the Southeast states of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Texas, a state that at one time produced 30% or more of top hs football talent in the country had 4 (12%). Hence the rise of SEC football? This shift is why you are seeing schools like OSU make recruiting forays in to Louisiana and Georgia. The remaining 11 five star recruits were 2 in California (way down) and the rest scattered among the remaining states. We have pulled a lot of great football talent out of Texas, but the numbers and level of talent have and may continue to drop.

Why the shift? Changing demographics is one cause. For example Hispanics now make up more than 50% of Texas public school populations and they tend to have less interest/participation in football. This is an factor in California as well. Here's an interesting article on the subject:

https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/texas-high-school-football/

Conclusions: Texas is a big state and will continue to produce talent, but it will continue to dwindle on a relative basis as a source of top college football talent as demographics continue to change. I have to assume the Texas schools will continue to get their recruits most of the time, which means the biggest effect is and will be on the next tier of out of state schools that come to Texas to recruit - they will be competing for a shallower pool of top players. Out of state schools will have to find a way to recruit in the Southeast states like they have done in Texas in the past in order to pull top talent their way. If I were an out of Texas school like us I'd also develop programs to work with high schools in Oklahoma to help develop better football talent and then try to keep them in state. And do what OSU is doing - find good kids with good frames and some athletic ability and build you own talent.
I would like to see how this reflects on the basketball side of things.

I feel like this is also a reflection of where football is most popular, and where it's starting to lose popularity.
 

RutherfordFan

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Feb 5, 2008
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#18
I have personally heard stories from coaches that have said "we cannot afford to miss on Kid A or Kid B because I only get 1-3 scolarships each year to offer." This is in reference to an "average" star HS player. Kids that are 2" too short or 0.1 too slow etc. I have heard coaches from several elite schools use the term "gamechanger".

Guys like Hollywood Brown, Tylan Wallace, Chuba etc. Yes there are 1000s of 5'9" WRs or 6' RBs that have skills and are fast but the 3 I mentioned have NFL futures. This is what the coaches talk about so the 3-8 elite talent in Tulsa area, I agree but several have gone out of state the last couple yrs. Wayne to KSU, Proctor to OSU, Hill to Michigan, couple others to Texas, A&M, Nebraska, Memphis etc.

Here is the link where 2017 players went:
https://247sports.com/Season/2017-Football/RecruitRankings/?State=ok

Evers was #13, Brock was #20, Malcolm #29, Odom #30. Yes these are subjective opinions and alot has to do with projected fit/size/culture fit but we didn't get one projected top 12 in OK.
OSU has landed some elite talent in the state but yes we agree on Dax HIll and others. obviously Justice Hill is elite and he was probably what #8 player in the state but ranked too low obviously when he came out. The Alabama RB was underrated also as no one wanted him and he's a stud too.

We did get Trace Ford and Grayson Boomer this year who are stud talents I believe. Boomer is a Top 8 TE in the country and Ford is like Brailford in my opinion. Unusual athlete at his size and pro type guy.

We have great players but hopefully we can continue to land those guys. I think Langston Anderson will be a stud also! If we can get Deondrick Glass which we have a real good shot at then we are business on offense once again for the future. Just need to keep working on improving the D.
 
Dec 21, 2008
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#19
Feels like every team's defense struggles lol Even Bama got exposed in one game. OU struggled. Ohio State struggled. Michigan struggled last 2 games. It is a fact that if you do not have NFL talent and depth across the defensive front 3 or 4 then struggling is common. Elite teams have NFL DL. Most teams have one or maybe two draftable type DL talent which is not enough.

Besides capturing lightning in a bottle, what are some ways you think we can improve our defense?
 

RxCowboy

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#20
Feels like every team's defense struggles lol Even Bama got exposed in one game. OU struggled. Ohio State struggled. Michigan struggled last 2 games. It is a fact that if you do not have NFL talent and depth across the defensive front 3 or 4 then struggling is common. Elite teams have NFL DL. Most teams have one or maybe two draftable type DL talent which is not enough.

Besides capturing lightning in a bottle, what are some ways you think we can improve our defense?
Tackling. Get rid of the damn donut drill. Do real tackling drills in practice all season long. Head up, drive through, wrap arms around.