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 numbers of recruits to allow for the contrast. I then mapped each segment by state.






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):


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



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. I would expect the numbers to level out over time as the sample size increases. The point here is not to accuse the rating services of any bias, but just to highlight this difference over the data set. It is quite possible that Georgia and California are indeed producing more elite talent than would be expected. Either way, it’s interesting.

2019 Missing Data

The following table shows how the output changes when correcting for the previously missing 2019 data.


As was expected, the inclusion of roughly 950 additional lower-rated players changed the 3-star totals. Also, the 2020 class inclusion was updated, which impacted the total number of each star-rated sums, but only marginally the percentages.

All States


A Note about IMG

The hometowns listed on 247 Composite ratings were used, not the high school. If a player was from IMG, this doesn’t necessarily mean they were credited to the state of Florida (unless they were listed as having a hometown in Florida). For example, IMP product Jordan Butler is listed as having a hometown of Las Vegas, NV, so his count went toward Nevada.

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