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Football Recruiting in Ohio, A Semi Scientific Breakdown.

So UC lost Saturday. It sucks but it is what it is. I know that you are probably expecting a Basketball related post today. But I slept on the loss, twice, and I am still utterly devoid of context so I jumped into an idea that I have had since Football signing day, and that is to break down recruiting in Ohio. Which BCS Schools are active in the state, which aren't, what areas produce the most talent and which High School produces the most players ect. So this morning I spent some time going over the Signing lists of the BCS schools looking for Ohio based players. I have restricted the pool of players to those sign with BCS schools and Notre Dame. There are some good Football players that go to no AQ schools from the state of Ohio, but the schools that recruit high caliber talent usually compete against one another, not with the Kents and Toledo's of the world. That sounds harsh, but it is the truth. So without further ado I present the map of Ohio's BCS recruits.


View Ohio BCS Recruits in a larger map

So lets start with the basics. In the 2011 class Ohio produced 75 BCS signees and sent at least one player to each of the 6 BCS conferences and Notre Dame. Here is a breakdown of the schools that successfully recruited a prospect from the state of Ohio in 2011 class.

Big 10 Big East ACC Big 12 SEC Pac 10 Independents
Ohio State Cincinnati Boston College Nebraska Alabama Southern California Notre Dame
Michigan Pittsburgh NC State Texas A&M Vanderbilt
Indiana West Virginia Duke
Wisconsin Connecticut Clemson
Michigan State

That's 22 schools, or exactly one third of BCS schools that signed a player from an Ohio high school. That is quite a bit. As you would expect the Big 10 is heavy into recruiting in the state of Ohio. Ohio ranks third in state population for those states that comprise the Big 10 footprint. Illinois and Pennsylvania are the only states that have larger state populations than Ohio. But Ohio has a well deserved reputation for producing Football players so almost everyone in the Big 10 recruits the state just like all Big 12 schools recruit Texas. Its the same concept, but on a smaller scale. For me as a long time watcher of College Football and recruiting the one school that I expected to have presence in Ohio that didn't was Penn State. Joe Paterno and Co. don't usually cast their net westward, but they usually get a guy or two from Ohio but they haven't in either of the last two classes.

Most Active Programs

Ohio has two BCS programs in state, Ohio State and UC so you would expect the two schools from the state to lead the way in signing in state prospects and they do. OSU signed 14 prospects and UC brought in 8 in this class for a total of 22 kids staying in state. But there were several schools from the Big 10 that hit the Buckeye state hard and signed at least 5 prospects in the 2011 class.

University Signees
Ohio State 14
Cincinnati 8
Michigan 7
Indiana 7
Wisconsin 5

Seeing the three out of state programs shouldn't be all that surprising, though I will admit to being plenty surprised that Indiana had as much success recruiting in Ohio as they did. But being surprised by their success isn't quite the same as being surprised that they are recruiting the state. Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana are three states that don't produce a ton of high caliber Football talent. They do produce some players, but not enough where the state alone can sustain a high caliber program. Wisconsin and Michigan both dip into Ohio pretty frequently, but neither builds from the state. Wisconsin is a strong regional recruiter. They hit the Mid West hard and they dip into Florida, New Jersey and a couple of other states. Michigan is a national recruiter, but they seem to always hit Michigan and Ohio first before expanding beyond the Mid West.

Urban vs Rural

Recruiting is a market place, Micheal Lewis was the person who really nailed that concept onto the inner wall of all people that follow recruiting in the Blind Side. In a market the best products will always be found in the place with the highest level of competition. In recruiting the highest level of competition is likely to be found in the urban areas. There are some special cases that fly in the face that assumption. For example Mississippi produces more NFL players per capita than any other state in the union. Despite the fact that Mississippi is a state that is overwhelmingly rural, Jackson is the only city in the state with a population over 100,000 people, 170,000 or so to be a little more accurate. The reasons behind it are complex and touched on in brief in this piece from a couple of years ago. Anyways Ohio is not a special case, not in the least. Of the 75 BCS recruits in 2011 just 8 came from rural schools and towns St. Paris, Perry, Kenton, Carrollton, Orrville, Coshocton, Steubenville and Fremont. The last three are cities, but they are, for the most part, free standing and can't be considered part of any metropolitan areas. So 67 of the 75 signees come from the population centers of the state.

Prolific Cities

The overwhelming majority of prospects hail from the population centers of the state. There will be some disagreement about how I have chosen to break down the Urban Areas in the state but this is how I am going to do it. Youngstown, Toledo, Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron-Canton. I know that Akron is considered a part of the Cleveland metropolitan statistical area according to the Census people. But that is bullshit. If you share an Airport like Akron and Canton do you get grouped together. That might not be the official rule, but it should be, and will be if I ever come to power. Yeah so those are the areas. Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus are far and away the biggest cities of the bunch so the expectation is that one of those three will produce the most. The numbers do bear that assumption out. Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus put out 45 of the 75 BCS recruits. The only other city to produce in the double digits was Dayton. WIthout further ado here is the list of cities in descending order.

City Signees
Cincinnati 17
Cleveland 16
Columbus 12
Dayton 10
Akron-Canton 6
Toledo 5
Youngstown 2

In most years Cincinnati or Cleveland will produce the highest number of players, but there isn't a huge advantage for one side or the other and it is basically randomized in terms of who produces more in a given year. Either way those two cities produce far and away more talent than any of the other large cities in the state.


After which city produces more players the next biggest question is which school has more players sign a letter of intent. The answer this year is the same one it has been for what seems like the last decade, Cleveland Glenville which produced 4 BCS signees in the class of 2011. Lakewood St. Edward and Centerville both had 3 BCS signees. In total 10 schools in the state produced multiple BCS signees in the class of 2011. Here is the complete list.

High School Signees
Cleveland Glenville 4
Centerville 3
St. Edward 3
Colerain 2
St. Xavier 2
Sycamore 2
Trotwood-Madison 2
Pickerington Central 2
Dublin Coffman 2
Strongsville 2



There really aren't any earth shattering conclusions that can be drawn from this. For Cincinnati the obvious thing is to keep recruiting the Interstate 71 Corridor. The lions share of talent in the state of Ohio will always be in the three largest cities in the state. In the past UC had done a good job with that in Columbus and obviously Cincinnati as well, and Butch Jones has really improved the recruiting in North East Ohio, an area that has been by and large shut to the Bearcats in the past. It would be great to get into the Dayton area a little bit more but that is pretty ardent Buckeye country, and it doesn't help matters that Brian Kelly burned a few bridges in that city. Feel free to share your thoughts about this subject down below.