Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
A detailed breakdown of where Pac-12 football players come from and the geographical makeup of the conference's teams.
With recruiting season in full tilt, Pac-12 football fans are on pins and needles wondering where high school seniors all up and down the West Coast are going to be playing next season.
But while we wait for the official signatures to come in, there is another question that can be answered for the moment, where specifically are these players coming from?
As one could easily assume, the vast majority of players in the Pac-12 hail from the massive (In population and sheer size) state of California with all 12 teams fighting over the supple crop that grows in the country's most populous state each year. However, teams, especially those outside of California, can't just rely on talent from the golden state to fill out their talent and have to harvest the other states in the region and even outside of the region.
Taking a look at the Pac-12 rosters for the 2012 season, we put together some stats to show which states and cities the players of the conference are coming from.
As one would imagine, California dominates the rosters of Pac-12 teams, but what is much more interesting is looking at how the states after California stack up.
Here are the top 10 states that Pac-12 players call their home state, the number of players who do, and the percentage of the conference players that they represent.
1. California - 602 players - 47.2%
2. Washington - 99 players - 7.7%
3. Arizona - 91 players - 7.1%
4. Texas - 79 players - 6.2%
5. Oregon - 58 players - 4.5%
6. Utah - 57 players - 4.4%
7. Colorado - 43 players - 3.3%
8. Hawaii - 40 players - 3.1%
9. Florida - 29 players - 2.2%
10. Nevada - 13 players - 1%
It's pretty impressive and says a lot about the level of high school football in the state that nearly half of the players in the conference come from California. With areas like greater LA, the Bay Area, the Central Valley, San Diego and Sacramento, the state has a spread out recruiting ground that every team in the conference needs to effectively harvest to have any kind of success.
It initially seems strange that Washington would be the next state on the list, but of the states that hold Pac-12 teams, Washington is actually the second-most populated so it does make sense. However, I would say that it won't be long before Arizona jumps up ahead of the evergreen state due to the state's rising population and burgeoning high school football scene.
Outside of those three states, it becomes a mixture of the other states in the conference along with some of the larger states that aren't in the region.
I was surprised that Texas was actually the fourth state on the list. Recruiting Texas has really increased out West and the surge in Texas players in the conference can also be attributed to the addition of Utah and Colorado along with the Arizona schools increasing their recruiting there.
I was also surprised to see Florida jump into the top 10, but that is likely just due to the vast amount of talent in the state and the increasing amount of national recruiting by big programs like USC, Oregon and Stanford.
With the other states that hold conference teams, it really demonstrates how schools like Oregon, Utah and Colorado must recruit well out of state. While a third of the schools in the conference hail from these states, only a little more than 10 percent of the players come from them.
Also, interesting and expected, is to see a state like Hawaii that has a very large percentage of players for the limited population it has due to the conference's utilization of Hawaiian players, particularly across both lines.
In regards to the conference, the massive percentage of players that come from California should give the four schools in the golden state a huge advantage. While the four schools in the state do have the highest percentage of Californian players on their roster, only USC has really been able to allow their location to allow for them to control the conference on a regular basis. Schools like Oregon, Washington and Arizona State have done a good job of harvesting California, but geographically they do have a disadvantage as they have to convince the majority of their players to leave their home state to play.
I'd like to note that when gathering hometowns I used whatever was listed as opposed to greater metropolitan areas, so someone will only have their hometown counted as Los Angeles if they list LA as their hometown. Otherwise it is a huge gray area in what you could consider a place like LA, or another city. It's like this across the board too with places like San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver and Seattle.
Here are the 25 or so cities that the most Pac-12 players list as their hometowns along with how many guys are from there.
1. Los Angeles, CA - 33 players
2. Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ - 19 players each
4. San Diego, CA - 18 players
5. Chandler, AZ - 17 players
6. Long Beach, CA - 16 players
7. Corona, CA & Salt Lake City, UT - 15 players
9. Fresno, CA and Inglewood, CA - 13 players
11. Sacramento, CA - 12 players
12. Oakland, CA & Compton, CA - 11 players
14. Seattle, WA, Honolulu,HI & Mission Viejo, CA - 10 players
17. Pasadena, CA, Houston, TX, Bakersfield, CA, Newport Beach, CA, Tucson, AZ, & Las Vegas, NV - 9 players
23. Denver, CO, San Jose, CA, Tacoma, WA, Danville, CA & Portland, OR - 8 players
No surprise that LA is far away the most prevalent, but it is still very impressive as most people who live in and around LA, don't list it as their hometown.
What might be even more impressive though is that if you combine Phoenix and Scottsdale, which are practically the same city, they would actually have more players than LA and then throw in Chandler and it is even more. This is a huge testament to how great of a recruiting ground the Phoenix area has become.
I was really interested to see which city in California would pop up after Los Angeles and I probably wouldn't have picked San Diego, although it only has a couple more players than the next California city on the list. I expected to see Long Beach up there as it is almost just a part of LA itself, but has a good collection of high school programs including maybe the best in Long Beach Poly.
One other interesting thing that pops out is the cities whose population wouldn't dictate that they would have as many players as they do. Corona is probably the best example of this, the city only has a population of a little more than 150,000, but out-produces major West Coast cities like Seattle, Oakland, Sacramento and Denver. Mission Viejo and Danville are also great examples to this and a testament to how strong high school football is in California.
The production of individual cities shows not just the value of being in the state of California, but the city of Los Angeles. The fact that USC is regularly able to pick the best players in the greater LA area, which produces a staggering amount of more talent than the other metro areas in the region and maybe the nation, is probably the top reason why they are the most powerful program in the conference. This is also why UCLA is also almost always among the most powerful in the conference.
With the Phoenix area being so surprisingly plentiful, it is also surprising at the same time, that Arizona State, or Arizona to a lesser extent haven't been able to harness this into developing a higher level and more consistent program. Some of this could be due to the fact that the area is only recently seeing such an explosion of high school football talent, but it will be interesting to see if the Sun Devils can ever generate success and excitement in the area and utilize their proximity to what could now be the Pac-12's second-most valuable recruiting area to become a power.
Using each team's 2012 official roster, we were able to figure out just what percentage of state's each team in the Pac-12's player's call home and included some notes of things that stand out for the makeup of each team's roster.
Colorado & Arizona 2%
- Washington relies on California players more than any other school that isn't in the state and by a wide margin, with half of their players hailing from the golden state.
- The Huskies also heavily rely on Hawaii, with a higher percentage of Hawaiians on their team than any other team in the conference.
Oregon and Hawaii 2%
- Despite not being as popular with elite prospects in the state of Washington as the Huskies, the Cougars rely on in-state players just a little bit more than their rivals.
- The Cougars have recently started recruiting across the country more, with a sizable chunk of their players coming from Texas and Florida.
- No school relies on in-state prospects less than the Ducks whose roster consists of less than one-fifth Oregonians.
- They don't quite as much as Stanford, but the Ducks do a lot of national recruiting, with their roster speckled with players from all around the country and even the world.
Arizona, Hawaii & Texas 4%
Utah, Oklahoma & America Samoa 2%
- The Beavers do a lot of recruiting in Washington, pulling out a huge percentage for a state that isn't California or their home state.
- The Beavers rely on players from the Northwest almost twice as much as the Ducks, with nearly 40 percent of their players being local while the Ducks barely 20 percent.
Florida & North Carolina 2%
Colorado & Maryland 1.5%
- The Bears recruit much more locally than their cross-bay rivals as they have more than twice as many California products on their team.
- The Bears apparently recruit well in Oregon as they have a sizeable percentage of Oregon raised players for a school outside of the state.
Florida & Washington 4%
- The Cardinal rely on California players far less than any other school in the state and less than every other school in the conference except for Utah who just joined the conference two years ago.
- They can do this because they recruit so well nationally, as their roster has the most diverse hometowns of any in the conference.
Arizona & Maryland 3%
Texas, Tennessee & Hawaii 2%
New York, Utah, Nevada & Georgia 1.5%
- The Bruins also have a very diverse roster, but also primarily rely on players from their home state, coming second only to USC in that facet.
Hawaii, Washington and Ohio 1.5%
- The Trojans barely have to even leave their backyard to fill their roster, as they generally get the cream of the crop for not just Southern California, but all of the massive state.
- Even with supple talent states like Washington, Arizona and Utah nearby, the Trojans go all the way to Florida to pull talent when they aren't recruiting in their home state.
Illinois, Washington, Hawaii & Pennsylvania 2%
- The Wildcats rely on California just as much as their in-state rivals, but far less on their home state and instead pluck a lot more players from Texas.
Texas & Florida 3%
- The Wildcats pull more players from the state of Colorado than any other school in the conference not named Colorado.
Nevada, Louisiana & Arizona 2%
- No other team outside of California relies on its in-state prospects more than the Utes.
- The Utes rely on players from the state of California less than anyone in the conference.
Hawaii, DC & Arizona 3%
Louisiana & New Jersey 2%
- Not surprisingly, the Buffs pull more players out of the state of Colorado than any other school.
- They also pull a low percentage of players from California, but subsidize with players from Texas which is actually closer to Texas than it is California.