Tag Archives: geographic midpoint

In SEC recruiting game, focus of most teams starts in own backyard

A national view of SEC recruiting midpoints. See the maps below for zoomed-in versions.

A national view of SEC recruiting midpoints. See the maps below for zoomed-in versions.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Most SEC schools keep their focus close to home when signing recruits. That’s why the number of top prospects nearby is such an accurate predictor of a team’s success.

Consider this map a sneak peek of a story I’m working on for later in the month. I charted the high school of each recruit signed by an SEC school to produce the “geographic midpoint” for each team and the league as a whole.

(Yes, you know my obsession with geographic midpoints.)

The results weren’t that startling.

Collectively, the midpoint of every SEC prospect signed in 2014 was near Fayette, Ala., only about 45 miles south of the geographic midpoint of all 14 SEC campuses in Haleyville, Ala.

Only three teams travel a great distance from their home base, and I bet you could have guessed them before I charted this map: Missouri, Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt added a handful of California prospects, which pushed its midpoint west.

Vanderbilt added a handful of California prospects, which pushed its midpoint west.

Vanderbilt was much more pronounced because new coach Derek Mason added some California recruits and lost some in-state signees.

Although the Vols continue to recruit nationally, the midpoint of the class hasn't been this close to Knoxville in years.

Although the Vols continue to recruit nationally, the midpoint of the class hasn’t been this close to Knoxville in years.

What about the Vols? As we’ve written before, Tennessee has moved north under coach Butch Jones, but the new midpoint is in line with the SEC average. (That little pink line on the map points to the “expected midpoint” for each team based on the SEC average).

What schools are outliers, compared to the rest of the league?

Obviously Arkansas, Missouri and Vandy have to recruit nationally out of necessity. Both Arkansas and Missouri recruit aggressively in south Florida, which pushes their midpoint south and east.

Texas A&M and LSU, generally, stick to their own fertile territories without spending too much time fighting others in Atlanta or Florida. That’s reflected in their midpoints.

Alabama recruits nationally despite its talent-rich state, and prospects from Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota helped push the Tide’s midpoint north this year.

The green map marker circled in white is Fayette, Ala., the geographic midpoint of every SEC recruit signed in 2014. That's only 45 miles southwest of Haleyville, Ala., (the green circle), which is the geographic midpoint of all 14 SEC campuses.

The green map marker circled in white is Fayette, Ala., the geographic midpoint of every SEC recruit signed in 2014. That’s only 45 miles southwest of Haleyville, Ala., (the green circle), which is the geographic midpoint of all 14 SEC campuses.

Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State have nearby midpoints. The Bulldogs’ midpoint is in Macon, Miss., which is just 38 miles from Starkville.

I thought this was interesting: Florida and Georgia have very similar recruiting midpoints. The Gators did have plenty of south Florida recruits, but their 2014 class had much more of a national flavor than you might expect. Recruits from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Wyoming pushed the midpoint north and west.

Georgia, meanwhile, had a smaller class (after signing more than 30 last year) and had a strong south Florida presence. (You’ll recall that Tennessee didn’t sign a south Florida prospect for the first time in five years).

What does all this mean?

* Even for a conference in the southeast corner of the United States, most teams still push even further south.

* Texas A&M and Missouri have expanded the geographic boundaries of the conference, but the Aggies rule Texas and don’t have to venture far from there.

* Next to Texas A&M, LSU has the strongest commitment to owning its home base.

* Even teams with strong local bases have a balanced national recruiting strategy.

* If you cover recruiting in the southeast, you should buy a house in Fayette, Ala.

Any other stuff I missed? Let me know.

The geographic midpoint of Tennessee’s 2014 class? For now, Riceville gets the honor

This map shows the geographic midpoints of recent Tennessee recruiting classes. The Class of 2014 has not been finalized.

This map shows the geographic midpoints of recent Tennessee recruiting classes. The Class of 2014 has not been finalized.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The geographic midpoint of Tennessee’s 2014 class is farther north and closer to Knoxville than it has been in at least six years.

That was the takeaway from the News Sentinel’s analysis on Tuesday (available for subscribers).

Why the shift north?

Butch Jones has added a couple of prospects from his old stomping grounds in the Midwest. But a bigger factor is the lack of any South Florida presence. For the first time since 2008, the Vols won’t have any prospects from the Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach areas.

If the hometowns of all 34 current commitments in the 2014 class are weighed equally, the geographic midpoint falls just 60 miles southwest of Neyland Stadium, near Riceville. (That map marker could change slightly based on last-minute changes, which is why we’re giving it an asterisk for now).

Here’s the midpoint of the other classes we reviewed. Want to find midpoints yourself? This site is really cool.

*Class of 2014: Riceville, Tenn.

Class of 2013: Calhoun, Ga.

Class of 2012: McDonough, Ga.

Class of 2011: Newnan, Ga.

Class of 2010: Memphis, Tenn.

Class of 2009: Trenton, Ga.

The 2011 and 2012 classes — both recruited and signed exclusively by Derek Dooley and his staff — are remarkably close. They’re both in the south suburbs of Atlanta.

The only real head-scratcher on the list is the Class of 2010, which is about 300 or 400 miles west of all the other midpoints. That class had several California prospects, which skewed everything west. If you take away three of the four West coast kids, the midpoint looks much more normal.

Here’s the map that shows all the midpoints if you want to take a closer look.

A look at Tennessee’s 2014 scholarship roster before newcomers enroll

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdHNfMFViR0NkMXI3aklHM24waEc1OHc&single=true&gid=0&range=A1%3AK59&output=html&widget=true” height=”500″]

Defensive end Jordan Williams will be a senior in 2014 (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The roster above will only be relevant for a few weeks.

(Here’s a link if you’re viewing this on a mobile platform).

At least a dozen early enrollees will arrive on campus in January. About 20 more new Tennessee players will join this summer.

But it’s still interesting to see the Vols’ roster at this snapshot in time, because it drives home the loss of several experienced seniors.

Of the 58 scholarship players currently on roster, only 23 have started a game. Dozens of players have little meaningful experience. As the roster crunch starts to hit, some players may be prodded to move on with their careers.

As of this moment, the senior class has 16 15 players. That number will likely dwindle.

There are three players left from the Class of 2010, 17 from 2011, 13 from 2012 and 22 from Butch Jones‘ inaugural class in 2012.

The geographic midpoint of the roster — near Cartersville, Ga. — hasn’t changed much from a year ago.

Check out this cool interactive map to get another geographic view of the Vols’ roster.