Yes, I know, thank you Captain Obvious.
But have you ever considered how many is "a lot?" And do you know how many of them stay home for college?
I ran the numbers.
103 of 112 players on the University of Texas 2011 football roster graduated from high school in Texas.
That's a lot. Here's the home-state saturation for all the FBS schools in Texas: (* - FBS AQ conference member)
- Texas* 103 / 112, 92% from Texas
- Baylor:* 108 / 118, 91.5%
- Texas A&M:* 106 / 120, 88.3%
- Texas Tech:* 93 / 121, 76.8%
- TCU: 91 / 117, 77.8%
- Houston: 104 / 110, 90.9%
- UTEP: 70 / 104, 67.3%
- SMU: 78 / 115, 67.8%
- North Texas: 83 / 102, 81.4%
- Rice: 82 / 98, 83.6%
But wait. Florida is generally considered the #2 "pipeline" state. Should be a similar situation, right? Hmm. Here's where the Florida FBS schools get their kids:
- Florida:* 75 / 101, 74.8% from FL
- Florida St:* 87 / 123, 70.7%
- Miami FL:* 71 / 109, 65.7%
- South Fla:* 100 / 114. 87.7%
- Central Fla: 64 / 97, 65%
- Florida Intl: 83 / 102, 81.4%
- Florida Atl: 103 / 113, 91.2%
Overall, roughly 77% of FBS players in Florida are from Florida. That's 5% less than Texas -- statistically significant.
Moreover, the marquee programs -- Florida, FSU and Miami -- are on average about 70% Florida kids. The smaller "directional" schools average 81% (UCF is an outlier). It's the opposite in Texas -- the four FCS AQ member school rosters are 87% Texas kids; the other six schools average 77%. (Houston is an outlier here.) (To be fair, El Paso isn't exactly "Texas.")
- Penn State: 52 / 114, 45.6% from PA
- Oklahoma: 33 / 114, 29.2% from OK
- (57 from Texas, 50.3% -- it seems Mack Brown's issue might be with Stoops)
- Illinois: 50 / 114, 45.1% from IL
- Ohio State: 76 / 116, 65.5% from OH
- Syracuse: 33 / 103, 32.0% from NY
Closer to home:
- uw, 45 / 103, 43.6% from that void between the Columbia and Canada
- Wazzu, 49 / 119, 41.2% that uw didn't want
- Oregon: 22 / 107, 20.6% from OR
- OAC, 29 / 117, 24.8% from OR
- Stanford, 41 / 110, 37.3% from CA
- Cal, 66 / 111, 59.5% from CA
- UCLA, 92 / 114, 80.7% from CA
- USC, 87 / 116, 75% from CA
You get the point. Unlike schools in less populated states, forced to recruit outside their borders for quality student athletes, most of the Texas high school players getting FBS offers wind up playing football in college in Texas. As top dog, Mack Brown generally gets the pick of the litter, it's always been like that, sort of like that program up in Seattle gets first dibs on the players from that state. And that's fine -- to the extent that this condition can be maintained without artificial support through isolationist regulation, legislation or unfair competitive practices.
What UT sympathizers don't want to accept is that the player supply situation is similar in Florida. HS football in Florida may not be as iconic as in Texas, but it's a populous state, and there are a lot of good players coming out of FL. And yet, players seem to be more willing to leave the Sunshine State than the State of Big Hats. Strangely, we don't hear the Florida coaches and fans bitching and moaning about carpetbaggers and the Degradation of All that is Beautiful and True about Florida High School Football. (Maybe this is because the state of Florida has somehow managed to pull in nine national championships over the last 40 years, without closing its borders... while Texas has managed one.)
As Balkanization of football recruiting goes the way of the VCR, and UT football is forced into a less regionally hidebound environment, the Texas schools will be forced onto a level playing field. Regardless of how much sway he holds over high school coaches, Mack Brown can only keep the kids on the farm so long. Eventually, these kids are going to see Paree ... and I don't mean Paris TX.
Diversification and broadening of opportunity isn't going to hurt high school football, or high school athletes, in Texas at all. It might, however, impact someone's job security.