Pac-10 Recruiting Maps, Part I
While I’m not so hot on breaking down recruiting by stars, recruiting by location always intrigues me. It gives you an idea of a program’s reach, how well the team is recruiting in the local area, how many incursions a team is making on certain programs. And more importantly, you can dirty up Google Maps. I’m going to focus solely on the Pac-10 to avoid the upcoming maps devolving into an incomprehensible wasteland.
The excellent MapGameDay.com has some interesting breakdowns by location of where high school recruits originate. It only has data for the last two years, so for now I’ll just break down the progress Pac-10 schools have made from year to year. Given how much I love maps, I consider this a treat.
Let’s start up North and move down. Apologies for the unprofessional look of the maps, I’m no graphic designer. Gritty designer is more like it.
Ty Willingham knows this is the eleventh hour, and he went for broke. Nearly all the Seattle recruits ended up at UW, meaning there will be a fine specimen of talent for Willingham’s successor to choose from, since Ty will be fired long before he can utilize this class. Shameful, but reality bites. However, Ty did his best to keep Seattle, and for the most part it remained impervious to anyone else. Not even Dennis Erickson did as good a job holding Phoenix–over 80% of Pac-10 recruits in the Seattle area committed to Husky Nation.
Washington dominated Seattle, so Wazzu had to go to the outlying counties. You’ll see this trend throughout Wazzu’s recruiting, bypassing major cities and concentrated its recruiting efforts on the more sparsely populated/less desirable areas of Washington/Oregon/California/Arizona.
The Oregon schools, by contrast, got practically nothing from the Northwest. Their class was diffused throughout the nation, so neither side really made any inroads in the area. The Beavers did surprisingly little to capitalize off of a solid 8-4 season in general. Oregon would look elsewhere for powering its Nike-facility pleasure palaces.
Anarchy reigns. What a mess. Good luck trying to figure out the Bay Area on that map (don’t worry, we’ll get to it in a bit). You can see that Cal moved back inland again to find recruits, because attracting talent by proximity sure didn’t work. Tedford is a Fresno man, and the Central Valley is still his to pick from–Chico, Fresno, Modesto, Stockton, Merced landed him six recruits. Everyone else kind of split the difference, although you’ll notice plenty of Oregon raids from the north and USC taking from the south.
One thing this notes is that no matter how hard Cal drops (and I’ll assume it won’t get much worse than this year), there will still be enough players willing to stick with Tedford over Harbaugh. Stanford had zero recruits in Northern California. None.
The Bay Area
Cal’s collapse provided opportunity for the northern schools to raid into the Bay as the Visigoths had once sacked Rome. UW, Oregon, Wazzu all landed good recruits from the area, and even USC and Arizona. The Ducks came out the big winner in this area, tying Cal for four recruits each.
Of course, Bay Area recruiting is always a little lax–football is not a heavy coastal sport and more confined to the inlands (where high school football is a big deal). But this is Cal’s smallest haul in the Bay Area in quite some time, signifying that a program’s performance does indeed influence who gets in where. Add in Stanford’s inability to make inroads in its own backyard and the diaspora to the other Pac-10 schools and Cal fans have to hope that this year remains an aberration. Otherwise, expect a descent into average talent as schools from North and South pillage the Bay.
(Then again, Justin Forsett was a two-star…)
Next: Yo home to Bel-Air! (SoCal and Arizona)
Any thoughts, corrections on the recruiting maps? Please comment.
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