When we think of high school football, there are certain states that come to mind right away. There have even been movies made about the sport, including “Friday Night Lights”, “Remember the Titans”, “Varsity Blues”, and “The Blind Side”. These movies are all based in states where high school football is taken a bit more seriously, and they’re home to the top talent that winds up playing college ball.
Which states have produced the most five-star recruits throughout the history of recruits receiving rankings? Here are the five that dominate the high school landscape, who the top recruits were, and how their football careers ended up.
There have been dynasties throughout college football history that have been because of the college’s destination. Notre Dame was once seen as the Catholica Mecca for football players while Miami and USC offered sunshine and fun to be had year-round. Then there are those schools that have been able to build dynasties because they can build a base of top local talent, and Alabama fits in that category.
Alabama has produced more five-star talent than all but four other states, with most of the players committing to Alabama or Auburn. If you take only their high school evaluations into consideration, the top-rated players in Alabama history include Andre Smith, Kerry Murphy, Brodie Croyle, and Julio Jones, all of whom stayed in-state to attend Alabama.
You could probably guess that California would be on the list because it has the largest population for any state by far. However, you’d probably think that the Golden State would be a little higher on the list than fourth. So why is it that the state who has 10 million more people than any other does not produce the most football talent?
It’s simple, really, Californians don’t really get into football as much as states in the American southeast. Children are often getting more into baseball, basketball, or soccer, leaving football slightly lagging behind. That doesn’t mean that California doesn’t produce some top talent, though. Some of the best recruits ever from California include Roland Powell, Korey Foreman, Matt Barkley, and Bryce Young.
We mentioned how football in the southeast just means a little more, and that’s the case in the state of Georgia. The state has a higher population than you might think, sitting in the eighth place spot in the country. The University of Georgia has always had a good football program, and a lot of that comes from having the in-state talent to keep them going.
Georgia has produced some of the best Bulldogs to ever play, but they’ve also created some nationally-recognized talent along the way. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is from Georgia and made his way to Clemson, Robert Nkemdiche went to Ole Miss, Justin Fields wound up at Ohio State, and Eric Berry attended Tennessee.
After seeing that California wasn’t in the number one position, you probably thought that Texas would be far and away the top blue chip factory. However, Texas comes in at number two on the list, and it’s not really as close as you think. The state that’s most synonymous with high school football has still produced dozens of five-star recruits, and it includes some players that would go on to become some of the greatest in college football history.
The top two recruits of all-time from Texas are legendary, with running back Adrian Peterson coming in at number two while the top spot goes to quarterback Vince Young. Other top Texas recruits include Myles Garrett (Texas A&M – number one pick in the NFL Draft), Matthew Stafford (Georgie – also a number one pick), and Jeff Okudah (Ohio State).
The third-largest state in the country by population is the most dominant when it comes to producing five-star recruits. While Florida would already be a top three state at worst for producing talent because of this, they’re boosted up to number one thanks to academies that focus on sports above all else. This attracts five-star talent from other states, especially at the IMG Academy.
Ernie Sims is the highest-rated recruit to ever come from Florida, and he would attend Florida State before heading to the NFL. Other recruits toward the top of the list from the Sunshine State include Vernon Hargreaves III, Laremy Tunsil, Derwin James, and Patrick Peterson, all of whom comfortably made it to the NFL as first-round selections.