The offseason in college football included a lot of discussions about geography. Schools were going to be barred from holding satellite camps and then they were not.
There were territorial battles taking place in a very fundamental way. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh set off this crisis of sorts by trying to hold Michigan satellite camps throughout Florida and the southeast. He knew what the SEC has long known. Their geography is an incredible advantage, giving them access to talent.
It is clear when looking at the SEC’s consistent dominance that the league has an advantage in getting some of the best athletes in the country. This becomes even clearer when breaking down the numbers more.
The Detroit News broke down every NFL player and where they went to high school and college. It becomes clear the Southeast and the SEC begin to dominate this list. These numbers make it much easier to see why Harbaugh fought so hard to move into the region.
The study found roughly 33 percent of players on NFL rosters at the end of the 2015 season came from Florida, Texas and California. These are legitimately big recruiting hot beds and generate top-end talent. Florida led the way with 213 players, 11.7 percent of the players in the NFL. Georgia was fourth with 6.9 percent of the players.
The south had six of the top-10 most talented states in terms of high school students who found their way to the NFL. The map is pretty plain to see.
“Down in the South, football is king. You got people tailgating everywhere; it’s like going to a college game at these high school games,” Lemming, co-host of the national weekly high school recruiting show “The Lemming Report” on CBS Sports Network, told James Hawkins and Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News. “These kids see that at the age of 5 and 6, their heroes are not anybody from the Blackhawks, Red Wings, Bulls or Pistons. Their heroes are the high school kids they get to know in their own small community. You don’t see that in the North.”
It is easy to see when looking at where these players come from in whatever form — the Detroit News’ map is really telling, but the numbers stand out — talent that matriculates to the NFL is consistently coming from the south. And, more likely than not, that talent is staying home.
The Southeast, especially, is stocked full of players with NFL talent and everyone is trying to get to it. That was a big part of the war this summer over satellite camps.
The trends and the numbers speak for themselves. And the battle seems to be just beginning.