OK, it's the offseason. Of course with national signing day only a week away, there's still a lot to talk about with respect to the immediate future of the football Bucks. But there's a 30 year demographic trend that isn't reversing and that not only impacts all of our lives and livelihoods, and that of our children and grandchildren, but also college football recruiting. And that's what we really care about right?
I'll save you some time, if you don't care about economics, demographics, national and global trends, stop reading. This post isn't for you.
The article I'm linking has nothing directly to do with college football recruiting, but it is interesting, as one must understand that tomorrow's Buckeye 4 star or 5 star recruit is today's 5-14 year old boy (or younger). The article is about economics and demographics and if you like chart porn and good information, you will like it. https://econimica.blogspot.com/2019/01/depopulation-and-monetizationlike... Click on the US regional population trend links near the bottom of the article. It's scary.
Now bear with me. Depopulation is the decline over time in the population of 0-64 year olds (i.e., workers and future workers) vs increase in the population of the 65 and over. Outright depopulation occurs when the growth rate of the 0-64 year olds is declining while the growth rate of the 65 and over is increasing at a rate that is in excess of the growth in the 0-64 year olds (i.e., the population growth of the non-producers exceeds the population growth of the producers and future producers). Within those 0-64 year old are some important demographic segments. For us, namely the 5-14 year old segment. Obviously, a decline in the growth rate, and even absolute decline in that segment (such that is going on in states like Ohio and Michigan and several in the MidWest, but not all) will ultimately have a direct impact on recruiting and where Ohio State must recruit.
As of 2018, 15 states are experiencing depopulation: AL, IN, KS, KY, ME, MI, MO, NH, NJ, NM, OH, PA, RI, VT, WI. Also as of 2018, 9 states are undergoing outright depopulation: AK, CT, HI, IL, LA, MS, NY, WV, WY. I've bolded those states that are traditional Ohio State recruiting bases, are border states (Ohio and every state bordering Ohio is either undergoing depopulation or outright depopulation), or that is the home of a rival. Incredibly, 24 states are either undergoing depopulation or outright depopulation, and it's a demographic trend that is not going to reverse. By the way, Michigan and Ohio will soon be numbers 10 and 11 of the outright depopulating states. Granted, the trends look at the 0-64 year olds, but click on those regional links in the article and take a gander at that 5-14 year old segment.
Urban Meyer was not only correct to take Ohio State's recruiting strategy national, but that strategy was critical to the survival of Ohio State football as a college football power and national brand. However, that strategy isn't really national. It's urban (no pun intended) and targeted. Only certain states in the South and West are not and will not be depopulating. Recruiting can't be just focused nationally, it has to be targeted strategically on just certain states. That means focus most of the efforts on GA, FL, the Carolinas, dMV, and TX, and only see who you can pick off in TN and KY. Still focus on CA given the absolute size of the population (but it will soon join the depopulation trend), but start paying more attention to CO, UT, and WA. Obviously, we have been seeing this and I expect Ryan Day will continue this type of strategic focus.
This doesn't mean ignore Ohio and the MidWest. I think Ryan Day is being tactical in his apparent intent to "lock down" Ohio. Despite the demographic trend in Ohio, all of our border state rivals are undergoing the same trends. If Day can lock down Ohio, that will only exacerbate the recruiting problems and pressure for Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Notre Dame, etc., as their recruiting will also be impacted by the depopulation underway in their home states. Not only will they be experiencing a decline in the absolute number of recruits in their home states, but also in the key talent categories.
This is a long-term demographic battle that is going to be fought and that will need to be fought both near and far.