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Counting 'Eers: West Virginia recruits by year, by state (2002-14)

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

Today, we're tackling a pretty loaded and wide-ranging question: Where does West Virginia get its talent? 

Before we get going, take a look at yesterday's post that details where players on the current roster hail from. Now, your caveat there and what I've gotten a few emails asking about is that the more telling numbers would be where the scholarship players come from — disregarding the walk-ons. I'm working on pulling together that data, so I'll have that shortly, but we'll move on for the moment.

To track WVU's talent, I trimmed the list down to the signees since 2002, which marks Rich Rodriguez's first full class, and used Rivals.com data to create a spreadsheets of recruits and where they've come from. We could break it down to where players come from by state, by position, by year, by age ... but we'll keep it easy today and start by taking a look at the full realm of 2002-14, 325 players spanning three coaching staffs, and see where the recruits have come from (click images to see larger version):

BYSTATE

Pie chart of percentages:

bystate0213

A couple notes:

This graph spans three coaching staffs and doesn't differentiate, so what you're seeing is a blanket view of where WVU signees from a 13-year window come from, disregarding who brought them here or the offensive scheme or anything of the sort. There are better ways to break it down, so I did that below.

A study by Football Study Hall that I linked to in the previous post brings up some interesting notes. (Only 27 states were listed.) It concluded that the top-10 recruit-producing states the last six years are, in order: Texas, Florida, California, Georgia, Ohio, Alabama, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan. West Virginia's top-10 recruiting states were:

  1. Florida (61) | Football Study Hall rank: 2.
  2. Pennsylvania (49) | 8
  3. Ohio (44) | 5
  4. Virginia (23) | 12
  5. Maryland (22) | 16
  6. West Virginia (18) | NA
  7. Mississippi (14) | 14
  8. Texas (12) | 1
  9. Alabama (10) | 6
  10. Georgia (10) | 4

 In the 13-year window, only 18 signees were homegrown West Virginia natives.

 West Virginia (18) plus border states Maryland (22), Ohio (44), Pennsylvania (49), Virginia (23) and Kentucky (2) comprised 49.6 percent of the signees.

That's all fine and pretty interesting, but let's break this down further. This next graph shows you where recruits come from, like the prior one did, but clumps them in terms of their recruiting classes, year by year:

STATEANDYEAR

Data table? Data table:

  '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09

'10

'11 '12 '13 '14 TTL
FL 2 1 2 8 4 4 5 6 3 6 13 3 4 61
PA 6 5 6 7 5 4 2 4 1 3 1 4 1 49
OH 4 4 4 2 3 6 2 4 2 3 4 3 3 44
VA 0 2 2 1 2 3 5 3 5 0 0 0 0 23
MD 0 2 0 3 1 2 3 2 1 0 3 3 2 22
WV 0 1 1 4 0 3 2 2 1 2 0 1 1 18
MS 3 1 2 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 14
TX 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 5 1 0 12
AL 3 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 10
GA 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 3 0 10
AZ 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 2 0 0 0 1 0 9
CA 1 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 9
LA 2 2 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
NJ 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 2 0 8
NY 2 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
DC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 0 5
KS 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 4
NC 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3
KY 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
MN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2
IA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
MI 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
OK 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
ON 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
TN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
  34 24 24 32 16 28 29 26 20 22 29 26 15 325

Here we get a little more clarity. Now, it's possible here to analyze the breakdown by coaches, but I already did that grunt work for you, and those posts will be coming within the next day or two. As you can imagine, the three coaching staffs had their eyes on significantly different sectors of the country.

A few notes:

There are just three states — Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio — that West Virginia has pulled a recruit from each year. Those states, not surprisingly, are the top three on our list and their outputs make up 47.3 percent of all WVU signees since 2002.

It's quite clear, though, as the shading sufficiently indicates, that West Virginia has lost a grip of its Pennsylvania pipeline. After signing 39 Pennsylvanians from 2002-09 (4.8 per year), WVU has brought in just 10 in the last 4 1/2 years (2.2 per year).

States, in no particular order, that have fallen by the wayside or show some surprising results:

  1. West Virginia: 18 home-state kids in 13 years is surprising no matter which way you slice it. The state of West Virginia doesn't produce many football studs in comparison to Texas, California and the like, but to only average one per year the last five classes is staggering.
  2. Texas: The state that produces the most college football players in the country didn't send a single recruit to WVU for seven years (2003-09), and still only 12 total in a 13-year span. Granted, in this age, if they're going to play Big 12 ball there are plenty of in-state options for them.
  3. Louisiana: Rodriguez signed nine Louisiana kids from 2002-05, but not one has followed since.
  4. Alabama: The No. 6 recruit-producing state has sent two kids to West Virginia in the last nine years.
  5. Kentucky: It's no powerhouse, but it's a border state, and a state in which football, in some form, is played at the high school level. Yet WVU has pulled just two in 13 years and one in the last 12.
  6. Virginia: This one really is perplexing. WVU brought in a huge haul from Virginia for eight consecutive years from 2003-10 but hasn't gotten another in the next four classes.
  7. California: The No. 3 recruit-producing state (and, by the numbers, Texas, Florida and California are way ahead of everyone else), California has had just three 'Eers in the last six classes. And one of those was JUCO transfer punter Nick O'Toole.
  8. Georgia: The state is the fourth-richest state in terms of football talent but has spread 10 signees over 13 classes.

Florida obviously runs away with this one. WVU has gotten 56 signees from Florida in the last 11 years alone (5.1 per year).

 Oh, and New York, get your act together.

Thoughts? Reactions? Comments? Fire away below. I'll start breaking down the classes and coaching-staff tendencies in the coming days.


Stephen J. Nesbitt: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.

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