USA Today has compiled data from the past 20 NFL drafts to look at the states and schools that produce the most draft picks, among other things.
The big three, California, Texas and Florida, now have pretty solid empirical evidence to support their claims as fertile football grounds:
It is no surprise that California, along with Florida and Texas, produce large numbers of draftees. After all, they are three of the four largest states in the USA, making up 26% of the population.
But those three states out-produce their population when it comes to NFL draft picks. They account for 1,808 of 5,395 players drafted â€” 34% â€” according to a USA TODAY analysis of the NFL draft from 1988-2007.
The state of Ohio finished 5th over that time, behind the big three and Georgia, over the same period. There's no doubt that had the data been gathered from, say, 1968-1987, Ohio would probably have been in the top three, but this data only further illustrates a potential problem with the shift South of population in the United States.
Maybe that's why 2008 was the first season on record where out of state recruits outnumbered Ohio kids (11-9) in a Buckeye recruiting class. Expect to see more classes like this going forward. Still, there's no reason to believe this strategy can't be successful for established football powers in the North or other less populous states (see Nebraska in the 1990s).
There's a handy flash map if you're in to drilling down into the data, and the article reveals some interesting facts:
Ohio State averaged 8Â½ wins and 4.9 draft picks per year in the 13 seasons before Jim Tressel became head coach in 2001.
Since Tressel took over, the Buckeyes have averaged 10.4 wins and 7.8 draft picks a year.
Oh, and don't forget the stereotypes. The data showed that the Big Ten only lead the way in NFL selections at one position over that time period -- offensive lineman.