State Matters: College Football Recruit ratings

I analyzed the Composite recruiting data from 2015 to the current 2020 rankings across several dimensions: Position, Height, Weight, Home State, and Star-ranking. Punters, kickers, and fullbacks were excluded because punters and kickers cannot have more than 3-stars and there are very few fullbacks, so why bother with them. Incomplete records or those with missing data were removed. The sample size was sufficiently large (N= 4964) to not be impacted by removals. Also, each year was analyzed for the top 1000 recruits, so not all the 3-stars were included. *Data from the 2019 class was corrupted, so only the top 50 players were included from that class- I will update once I fix the issue.

Here are some insights I found.

First, the talent, if you go by the composite rankings, is certainly not evenly distributed among the states. I took some of the states with varying total numbers and applied some heat mapping. I included states with differing number of recruits as to allow for the contrast. I then mapped each segment by state.

states

3star

All

4stars

5stars

We can easily see that, in this sample, California and Georgia are overrepresented in terms of 5-star players. Cali has 10% of the overall number of top players, but 14% of the 5-stars. Georgia is the same. Georgia, however, has only 9% of the 4-stars, while Cali has 11%.  This is even more marked given Georgia’s overall population (credit: Wikipedia):

population

So, are Cali and Georgia kids bigger than the other state’s ‘croots? Nope.

z1

z2

When standardizing the average weight for each position by state, Cali and Jawja aren’t necessarily putting out heavier players. I was too lazy at this point to do the same for height. Maybe I’ll add that later. But the red squares are incidents in which the average for that group is lower than the overall group average (all the states). Yellow is above the average. Out of the 17 position groups, Cali kids were lighter than average in 13 of them. Georgia kids were lighter in 7 of them.  Yes, this is just weight, and that certainly isn’t a measure of ability. But it can be considered as a measure of physical development to some degree.

Is there a bias for these states’ recruits? I don’t know, but there is certainly some level is disproportionality for some reason.

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