What the data says about where B1G players call home

AndyVance's picture
January 15, 2013 at 5:18p

This piece in this morning's Buckshots, coupled with this infographic from this morning's Skull Session, got me pondering on the subject of geography and recruiting in Big Ten football. So, as is my habit when I find something that intrigues me, I do some data analysis. Here's what I've learned thus far:

Ohio is as important a recruiting ground as they come: the Buckeye State is the second most-common state of origin on the rosters of SIX teams in the conference (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin), and comes in third on a seventh (Iowa). Counting Ohio State, that means Ohio recruits are among the largest factions on EIGHT of 12 teams in the Big Ten.

Other fun facts:

  • On average (and not counting Ohio State, 11.5% of a team's roster is comprised of Ohio talent.
  • Ohio State has the highest percentage of in-state talent of any team in the B1G: 68%
  • Purdue has the lowest percentage of in-state talent of any team in the B1G: 23%
  • Ohio State is the only team in the conference to feature >50% in-state talent on its roster.
  • The average B1G team roster is comprised of only 42.9% home-state players.
  • Six Canadians play in the B1G, including three on the Iowa bench, and one each for the Spartans, Wolverines and Nittany Lions.
  • Two Australians play in the conference, Indiana freshman Marcus Kinsella and Iowa sophomore punter Jonny Mullings, both punters
  • The average B1G team features players from roughly 20 different states; Nebraska is the most diverse with 24 states represented, while Michigan State is the least diverse at only 15 states on the roster (Ohio State and Wisconsin each have players from only 16 states on the 2012 roster).
  • Ohio players make up 24% of the Spartans' roster and 21% of the Wolverines'
  • Ohio State is the only team in the conference that doesn't have at least one additional state represented by more than 10% of its roster
  • Not surprisingly, Florida is a very important state for B1G recruits: six teams have the state as the #2 or #3 most-represented state on their rosters, and Purdue actually has as many players from Florida on the 2012 roll as it did players from Indiana (23% each).
  • Penn State's #2 state for current players to call home is Maryland, with 13%; three teams have Texas listed as their #2 state (Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern).

I could spend hours sifting and sorting this data alone, but as time is a precious commodity, I'll stop here for now. I'm going to go back and further examine how each team recruits outside the traditional Big Ten footprint, and specifically how well (or at least, how frequently) the conference does in pulling recruits from SEC country, as that appears to be more and more important in the current recruiting arms race.

I'll keep you posted.

Comments Show All Comments

GV9's picture

Pretty soon we're going to be down to just Ohio and Georgia, at least for 2014, and that's not a bad thing at all ;-) 
Interesting article. 

BostonBuck's picture

Very interesting. Thank you for the hard work.

I very much like the overweight to in state talent on OSU. Should be a point of pride for all us natives.

That being said, I am not at all adverse to a little augmentation of highly talented very fast skill players with 10.2 speed and hands of glue and .02 percent body fat who call dixy home but want to play for the home team.... :)

petebuc52's picture

Good research; Ohio make what the Big10 takes i guess..Figured as such...

Devin1024's picture

I had been wondering about this information for awhile. It seems that at some point every game one of the announcers will say,"these so and so players from (insert team name here) grew up wanting to play in ohio stadium but weren't recruited to play at Ohio State. They are really excited to come back to their home state and show what they can do. 
Thanks for doing all the leg work!

acBuckeye's picture

Great info, thanks Andy.

rdubs's picture

Were you looking at 85 scholarship player rosters or the full 100 man roster for these stats?

AndyVance's picture

Using the full rosters available on ESPN (and/or the team's websites, depending). Admittedly, I'm guessing that probably skews the data a bit toward in-state recruits, perhaps particularly in the case of Ohio State. That said, I didn't have what I thought to be a full-proof way of differentiating players on scholarship or not. If you know where I can find accurate/current scholarship rosters, I could easily (I think) go back and run the datasets again.