Alabama football recruiting targets talent-rich states along with in-state prospects. The state-by-state disparity in talent is significant.
For more than a decade Alabama football has been college football’s recruiting leader. No other school has come close to the Crimson Tide in No. 1 classes. Only four times in the last 13 signing classes has the Crimson Tide been lower than No. 1 or No. 2. Those ‘weaker’ classes were No. 3 in 2008 and 2009, No. 4 in 2010 and No. 5 in 2018. The other eight signing classes were No. 1, including seven straight from 2011-2017.
Nick Saban made Alabama football a recruiting juggernaut despite the state of Alabama not having a population base to compete with larger states like Texas, California and Florida.
The excellent recruiting site MaxPreps published a state-by-state breakdown of the class of 2021 recruit talent.
Bama Hammer is taking a similar but different approach by using the player rankings from the 247Sports Composite. MaxPreps used the Top247, so the data points are somewhat different.
Based on the 2021 class, we break the nation down into four categories of state football talent. For simplicity, the top states are the ‘A’ group, followed accordingly by the ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ groups of states.
The ‘A’ States for Elite Football Talent
The numbers in parentheses next to the state are the current counts of Top 100 recruits in each state.
- Florida (15)
- Texas (14)
- California (10)
- Georgia (10)
Almost half (49) of the top recruits coming from four states is significant. The football programs in those states have an advantage over other schools.
The ‘B’ States for Elite Football Talent
- Louisiana (5)
- Michigan (5)
- Pennsylvania (5)
- Alabama (4)
- North Carolina (4)
- Ohio (4)
- Maryland (3)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
Nine states with 36 top recruits is a big dip from the ‘A’ list of states.
The ‘C’ group is composed of two states with two top recruits (Arizona and West Virginia) and ten states with just one top recruit, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah and the District of Columbia.
We will skip listing the entire group of 25 states without any top recruits (a ‘D’ list) in the 2021 class. Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Wisconsin are notable in the ‘D’ list.
Is the current number of four, state of Alabama, top recruits consistent with past years? Remember, the 2021 numbers are fluid. There will be many changes before the final player rankings. Given that, four is slightly above a five-year average. Top 100 players from Alabama for the past five years are: 2020 (4); 2019 (5); 2018 (1); 2017 (3); 2016 (3).
Nick Saban makes up for the advantage for schools like Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M by doing well in other states like California and Louisiana. He also does not cede the states of Georgia, Florida and Texas, where the Alabama Crimson Tide has signed 43 players over the last five classes.