Does Distance Impact Football Transfer Rates?

Submitted by FrozeMangoes on December 17th, 2018 at 4:52 PM

Recruiting is becoming a national game. At first glance this would seem to really benefit UM. MI is not ID from a talent standpoint but it is also not FL, OH, TX or CA. Also, UM has the resources to have endless jet trips to visit prospects and secure their commitment…

However, with the recent departure of A. Solomon it got me thinking. Is there an opportunity cost to signing recruits farther away? Would UM be better off taking a slightly less rated local recruit knowing you are more likely to get his premium years after development?


For the purpose of this exercise I will be looking at transfer rates of recruits greater than and less than 300 miles. 300 is completely arbitrary and if I had more time I could input the data into excel and make it so you could change the distance. My thought is that at 300 miles you can get home on the weekend if you need without flying. 300 miles is a 5 hours’ish car trip.


         Total Recruits                Transfers               % Transfer                   % of Total Transfers

         <300   >300                <300    >300            <300      >300                    <300      >300

2015     9       6                       3           1                    33      16                           75         25

2016      7     19                      0            4                     0       21                           0          100

2017     12    18                       3           4                    25      22                        42.8       57.2

Total      28    43                       6           9                    21      20.9                       40          60


Obviously, this isn’t a large enough sample size to be significant but it appears that a recruit from greater than 300 miles is no more likely to transfer than one less than 300 miles. The next step would be to break it down even further to see if there was a distance which rates did increase.


Some Caveats:

I started with JH’s recruiting classes because a lot of guys transfer with new coaches. Also, I didn’t include grad transfers or cases that were generally accepted to be disciplinary. Lastly, obviously, all transfers aren’t home sick related and players transfer for numerous reasons, but I was bored.


I am sure I missed a transfer somewhere and I would say to point them out but I cannot edit this regardless haha



blue in dc

December 17th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

You were clear.  I am the one who wasn’t.

I realize the link wan’t directly related to your analysis (as you were clear that you did not include all transfers and were focused on a very specific question).

i just thought that since you started a fact based discussion, it fit here better than the other threads.    If I was more ambitious, I would have calculated the actual full attrition rates for those classes and made my own thread.   Since I didn’t, I just posted it in yours.


December 17th, 2018 at 5:53 PM ^

You are right - neither of us has a rigorous statistical study but it is intuitively obvious that it matters.  

Most of us can think back to our freshman years in college.  A number of kids got homesick.  And then a number of them "disappeared."  

It's easier to stick-it-out (for a U-M freshman) if you are from AA or Detroit or Saline (e.g., close, easier to visit home) than from Traverse City or Chicago or NYC (e.g., not as close).

Wouldn't be different for athletes.


December 17th, 2018 at 5:14 PM ^

You know what would be interesting, although it would take years of research? A comprehensive study of transfers and the driving forces behind it. Interviews, surveys, etc....but gathering enough data to give a good picture of what students from all over Division I have in mind when they say they've had enough and would like to go elsewhere. In theory, it would be a comprehensive QC check on coaching in general, though I doubt it would move anyone to change their strategy. 


December 17th, 2018 at 5:19 PM ^

Yeah, this really doesn't surprise me.  If you ask 17 year olds if they want to move hundreds of miles away from home to go to school and check back a year or two later, my guess is a number of them would say that was a bad idea.  Hell, I knew a number of people at UM who transferred to be closer to home.  But there aren't blogs dedicated to the school choices of electrical engineering students, so nobody notices 

Space Coyote

December 17th, 2018 at 5:30 PM ^

One thing that likely skews the data is where recruits are rated. Typically, I think you are going to take a few more fliers and late adds from close to home. Those fliers help cement recruiting ties, and the late adds are typically possible because of the draw of being close to home. Those same things can also apply to areas where you are trying to build bridges (think NJ and Georgia for Michigan, where they have taken more reaches out of at different points).

All players have a reason to transfer, but I don't think most players transfer for one reason. It's a combination of reasons. And when you start thinking about it that way, you start to add additional "excuses" (for lack of a better word) to legitimize it. "Distance" becomes one of those things. And truthfully, if there are other issues, it's easier for "distance" to play a role, because you are further away from your support system and people of the same background.

So intuitively, I think distance matters, but it is rarely the primary matter.


December 17th, 2018 at 5:32 PM ^

Out of the six transfers from the 2017 class, Deron Irving-Bey was from Flint, JaRaymond Hall was from Oak Park, and James Hudson was from Toledo.  Does that mean we should avoid signing recruits from within 55 miles of Ann Arbor?

Both 2017 Georgia signees transferred - Kurt Taylor and Aubrey Soloman.  Does that mean we should not sign recruits from Georgia?



December 17th, 2018 at 5:33 PM ^

My database goes back to 1990 and was on the front page a few days ago so feel free to use that. You can sort players by state and by how their careers ended