The North/West Division Split: Will It Impact Football Recruiting?

Good take by MCD here, definitely deserves the FP. Go Ducks! - dvieira

Since expansion has become reality, there has been a lot of speculation about the potential impact on recruiting, specifically the impact that less trips to southern California will have. While this isn't possible to predict, my initial thoughts were that it wouldn't be too bad for Oregon. I admit that my opinion was formed based on a few assumptions:

1. Oregon gets a lot of players from Northern California
2. Reading/Hearing several times "we don't play much in Texas, and we are recruiting well there."
3. The more knowledgable people here on ATQ don't seem to be too worried about it.

So I decided to look at our current roster and see for myself if my assumptions are true. I was surprised by what I found...

Of the players on the current roster on, the state breakdown looks like this (roster is up-to-date - no Diante Jackson, Masoli, Embry, Tyrece Gaines, Bowlin, etc):

44 - California
23 - Oregon
5 -   Idaho
4 -   Washington
3 -   Texas, Hawaii
2 -   North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Canada (What are you laughing a-boot?)
1 -   Nevada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Alabama

So I thought back to my assumptions. Do we really recruit well in Texas? The numbers don't support that assumption, but the quality of the players may offset the lack of quantity: LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, and Blake Cantu are the 3 Texas players. What about my assumption that we recruit as much or more from northern California than southern California? Of the 44 California players on the roster, only 17 are from northern California while 27 are from southern California. (NoCal=Bay area & north , SoCal=L.A. area and south)

The numbers don't support my assumption here either, but does the quality make up for the numbers? Of the 27 southern California players, 6 are starters/impact players: Kenjon Barner, Casey Matthews, Kenny Rowe, Eddie Pleasant, Talmadge Jackson, and Javes Lewis, with Rob Beard, Marvin Johnson, Anthony Gildon, Darrion Weems, Ryan Clanton, Charlie Charmichael, Max Forer, Malachi Lewis, Will Wallace, Everett Benyard, and others also on the SoCal list.

So, what do I take from this? Just like I said in the opening, we can't know the impact of having less games in SoCal until it happens. I'm not saying it's time to PANIC, but I also think that ignoring the impact and thinking it won't be a big deal may end up being blissful ignorance in retrospect a few years from now. The fact that we are on TV so often is, in my opinion, more important than playing that extra 2 games in SoCal during a kid's career. In addition, the schools we'd be competing against for these recruits would mostly be in the same position as us: uw, WSU, OS, Cal, and Furd would be in the same position. The recruits that are really worried about being close to home are going to go to USC and UCLA most likely anyway. The impact would probably be most felt in depth, in which we've made tremendous strides over the past few years.

For the record, I'm still in support of the expansion and going to a North/South division split is fine with me. I looked this information up for my own knoweldge, but I thought that if I was operating under these assumptions there could be others who are as I decided to post it here so you can have the information if you want it.

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