I read an article the other day on Fight On State that ranked the states on how many Div. I-A recruits they produced to determine which states were putting out the most talent. It was interesting to see Pennsylvania was up 28% this year with 91 recruits versus 71 last year. It's good enough for #6 on the list. I noticed New Jersey, a traditionally fertile recruiting ground for PSU, had 69 recruits. So I thought it's really like Penn State has two states to themselves which combined would equal the #4 on the list. But then it occurred to me that Penn State didn't sign a single recruit from the Garden State this year. This led me to do some digging to find out where Penn State's traditional recruiting rivals are pulling their talent from. Charts? Yeah...charts.
|Penn State||Ohio State||Michigan||Wisconsin||Illinois||Notre Dame||Rutgers||Pitt|
What you're looking at is a breakdown of various teams and how many recruits they got from each state in this most recent recruiting class. Some observations.
Penn State clearly has a local recruiting strategy, or at least they did in 2007. All but five of their signees came from PA or an adjacent state. The Illinois recruit was a legacy (Suhey) and the California recruit is Poti, a junior college kid. The Nitts did a decent job of protecting the home turf against the Big Ten rivals with 8 recruits, but Pitt managed to score 13 Pennsylvania recruits.
Ohio State had a wealth of talent in their home state and chose to take advantage by pulling in 10 home state recruits. But nobody did better at protectin their home turf than Wisconsin. Although they only signed five kids, those kids were five of the top six prospects in the state and equaled one-third of all the Div. I-A prospects in the entire state.
Michigan and Notre Dame have chosen to take a more national approach to recruiting. Michigan was only able to protect five recruits in their home state while Notre Dame didn't sign a single kid from Indiana, Illinois, or Michigan.
Getting back to Penn State's recruiting in New Jersey now. After looking at the chart above I thought maybe it was just a down year for recruiting in New Jersey. So what if Schiano scored 10 recruits. Maybe they were all two or three star prospects. So I did a little more research and came up with the following chart.
What you're looking at is a breakdown of the recruits pulled out of New Jersey in the past six years. Let me explain how to read the chart. The numbers indicate how many recruits a school pulled out of the state by star ranking as ranked by rivals.com . A 0-2-4-1 means a school pulled out zero five stars, two four stars, four three stars and one two star in that year. Got it?
Notice how Penn State did pretty well in New Jersey from 2002 through 2006 pulling out a few solid recruits each year. Then all of the sudden in 2007 they don't pull a single recruit. Now look at Rutgers. From 2002-2005 they kept a lot of talent in state, but it was mostly a lot of lesser talent with the occasional four star recruit that was too attached to mama to go play for an out of state school. Then look starting in 2006 how Schiano started keeping some of the better talent from crossing the state line. There is a noticeable jump in the number of four and three star recruits electing to play for Rutgers. Also notice how Charlie Weis and Ralph Friedgen from Maryland have stepped up their recruiting in the Garden State. I guess we can forgive Friedgen since Larry Johnson Sr. takes all the good talent the state of Maryland has to offer year after year.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that Penn State can no longer take New Jersey for granted as their own personal farm system. Greg Schiano and Charlie Weis are working hard to get all the talent they can out of New Jersey. Just for the heck of it I looked at Pennsylvania too. Here's that chart.
I thought about adding West Virginia to the list, but a quick glance of their recruiting over the years show they pull a few solid players out of PA, but not really many blue chip prospects to speak of. You can see we're doing a pretty good job of keeping Schiano and Tressel out of Pennsylvania. Lloyd Carr always seems to pluck a blue chip recruit out of the Keystone State. The up-and-comers are Wannstedt and Weis. Both of these guys have started to hit Pennsylvania harder than their predecessors.
That's all I have for you now. I'm going to look at this closer by breaking down some of the head-to-head matchups and see where Penn State has won and lost over the past few years. Look for that in the days ahead.