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Posted on Wed, May 26, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

Rust Belt states see football recruiting shift toward south

By Staff

As part of his remarks at last week's Big Ten meetings, commissioner Jim Delany said that one of the compelling reasons for expanding the conference was the population shift out of the Midwest.

No one in the league had been in a hurry to accept that, writes's Ivan Maisel, but coaches have been concerned for at least a decade about football's base moving toward the Sun Belt.

Maisel explores the shift and its ramifications on football from Pop Warner to the Big Ten.

Here's a snippet:

"The best teams are found where the best players are raised. The 2010 ESPNU ranking of the top 150 high school players included 28 from Florida, 24 from Texas and 18 each from California and Georgia. Michigan had five, Pennsylvania four. Ohio, home of The Ohio State University and home of famed high schools such as Massillon and Moeller, had two."


Sean T.

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:53 p.m.

The talent pool in Florida isn't much better than the talent in Ohio or Pennsylvania and even Michigan. And I seriously doubt that 10 Florida High School teams could beat any of our GLIAC teams. Our kids from the Midwest have been competing on a national stage for years also and make up a significant part of the NFL. I agree that year-round warm weather bodes well for keeping in shape but this misconception of the Midwestern kids being Big and Slow is ridiculous. Look at all the recruiting sites and compare 40 times and bench presses and they are pretty equal. The more wide open offenses allow one on one athleticism on the field while Pro-style offenses usually don't. This makes the illusion that Florida's speed is unparalleled. I'd say Texas may be the most talented state in the country but barely!


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

Considering the talent of the PSU and the OSU teams the premise of the espn writer is obviously wrong.Both teams have in state players or midwest players almost exclusively.We have been hearing this for 30years.ironically they do the same thing in basketball,although many of the top 4 teams have midwest players exclusively, like Duke.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 4:12 p.m.

Very well done article. I've been following recruiting since becoming a Michigan fan in the mid-70's. There's no question Michigan and Ohio don't have the amount of talent they once had. In those days for instance, the Flint area was still a huge hotbed of talent. It's not nearly as much now. Bo and staff used to pretty much sign all our players from the 5 state area of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. That changed in Bo's later years as the shift of talent had already started. Population loss due to declining jobs is the biggest issue. That's why areas like Flint and Massilon, OH don' produce nearly as many college players any more. But as far as high school football goes, Texas is really the center of talent in my opinion. They just emphasize the sport so much. If you look at Texas' starting roster in the last few years, almost ALL the players are from that state. And I'll bet that Texas produces the most number of college football players of any state. As far as the climate goes, I think the warmer areas encourage kids to train outdoors more where they can develop their speed. In this area, who wants to run sprints indoors during the winter? No one. As Tater says, Michigan is doing well to develop it's recruiting base in the warm states.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

Cant deny Florida has the thoroughbreds but these and similar rankings are based on reports from people who did not see everyone play and they played against different competition - so basically the rankings are a loose way of judging talent - not like recruiting! didn't the Heisman winner come from Michigan this year?