The thread below on the visit of recruit Jay-nard Bostwick has made me curious about something. In the comments, MGoUser "Don" says of Jay-nard,
He's the classic elite-level DL from the south that everybody up north in A2 convinces themselves we have a legit shot for, only to be disappointed again.
The assumption, which makes some sense, is that Michigan does a dreadful job of pulling any decent recruits out of SEC country.
Here's my question for the board: I'd like to know what the correlation is between the geographic origin of a recruit and the school where they end up attending.
Common sense says that a recruit is typically going to stay close to home. After all, most of us like to stay in our comfort zone. Players would like to be somewhere that their family members can easily watch them, somewhere they can hop in a car and be home within a few hours. All you have to do is look at the Michigan Roster to see that more than 2 of every 5 players comes from the State of Michigan. If you add in Ohio and Illinois as neighboring states, you see that 2 out of every 3 guys on the roster are from those 3 states alone. (Interestingly, there is not a single recruit on our roster coming from the state of Indiana. If that isn't an indictment of HS football in Indiana, I don't know what is.)
There are other things at work in where a recruit ends up. Possible factors:
- Did a recruit originally live in Michigan? For instance, David Dawson was in Texas for some personal family reason, but really was always a Michigan native.
- Are there family ties? While Troy Woolfolk came from Texas, his father Butch played for Michigan.
- Someone who just grew up as a fan of Michigan. These tend to mostly be in-state anyway, or to have lived in Michigan, but I suppose there are a few Michigan fans out there somewhere else in the world who have no georgraphic or family ties to Michigan.
- A wealth of talent in a state. Florida is the best example of this, but Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also are relevant. There may be so many good players in a state that it is impossible for the flagship state schools to make room for all of them.
- Lack of a close Top 10 team. It is possible that historically, players from Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, Minnesota, and Arizona have looked further afield because they were dissatisfied with the prospects of team success at the big state university in their state.
- A true opportunity at Michigan that doesn't exist elsewhere. This is extremely rare, but sometimes, there is a coach who gives a player an opportunity they won't get anywhere else. The classic example of this was Denard playing quarterback at Michigan for Rich Rodriguez. We never would have been blessed with Denard at Michigan except for RR. IIRC, no one in the SEC was inclined to let Denard QB.
- Failure of the local school to properly assess talent and recruit it. While RR gets credit for Denard, he also gets blame in my book for missing big time on Johnathan Hankins, the DT leaving Ohio early for the NFL.
- The allure of opportunity at another big time program, along with something wrong with the fit at Michigan. I wonder if RoJo fell in this category, spurning UM for USC. I know he was heavily recruited out of Muskegon, but maybe that was when Carr and staff were starting to deteriorate in recruiting prowess.
I may be asking for something impossible, but I'm curious if someone out there has analyzed past data for say, the top 50 teams, looking at this correlation or lack thereof. Or maybe someone like the Mathlete, or Ace, or some of the recruiting geeks, can look at this. I don't know statistics, but one thing I do know is that you can't correlate a single data point to the whole. However, you could probably see trends that give a sense of what has happened with recruits choosing to either stay home, or to go elsewhere.
Addendum: The basketball team would seemingly have more diversity geographically, because of only 15 on the roster, compared to 113 for the football team. However, not only isn't there more diversity, there is far less. On the basketball roster, fully 87% (13 out of 15 listed on the current roster) come from Michigan or a neighboring state:
- Michigan - Morgan, Horford, Person, Akunne
- Ohio - Burke, LeVert
- Illinois - Vogrich, Bartelstein, Bielfeldt
- Indiana - Robinson, Albrecht, McGary
- Ontario - Stauskas. Ok, neighboring country. But for all practical purposes, Ontario can be classed a neighboring state. Toronto is closer than Peoria.
Only Hardaway and McLimans come from somewhere else. (Florida and New York, respectively.)