Gary Doran

Pac-12 Recruiting the Western States (2010-2014)

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After the detailed examination of football recruiting inside the state of Arizona over the past five years, the research and analysis expanded to the Western United States. This recruiting analysis examines 981 high school recruits from eleven western states that signed with a Power Five Conference football program from the 2010 through 2014 recruiting classes. There were no kickers or punters in the group. All the recruiting data in the analysis is from the rivals.com website.

Number of Recruits by State:
California………………………………….651 (66.4%)
Arizona……………………………………. 90 ( 9.2%)
Washington……………………………… 77 ( 7.9%)
Utah………………………………………… 48 ( 4.9%)
Colorado………………………………….. 48 ( 4.9%)
Oregon…………………………………….. 36 ( 3.7%)
Nevada…………………………………….. 19 ( 1.9%)
Idaho……………………………………….. 6 ( 0.6%)
New Mexico……………………………… 4 ( 0.4%)
Wyoming…………………………………. 1 ( 0.1%)
Montana…………………………………… 1 ( 0.1%)
TOTAL………………………………………981

* Did not include Hawaii nor Alaska

Western State Recruits by Pac-12 School

Western_Recruits

– Arizona State signed the fewest high school recruits of all the Pac-12 teams during this five year period
– Just under 80% of all the high school recruits signed by Arizona State came from the western region
– About half of all the high school recruits signed by Arizona State came from the state of California
– Arizona State signed 37 fewer high school recruits than the Washington Huskies during the five year period
– Roughly 70% of all the high school recruits signed by all the Pac-12 Conference teams came from the western region
– Less than half of the high school recruits signed by Stanford were from the western region
– About two-out-of-every-five high school recruits signed by Utah came from outside the western region
– Even with its national stature, 80% of the high school recruits signed by USC were from within the western region
– Even with the strong competition from all around the country, over 85% of the high school recruits in California signed with a Pac-12 Conference team
– Almost half of all the high school recruits from Colorado signed with a team outside the Pac-12 Conference
– The Washington Huskies averaged signing over six recruits per year more from the western region than the next highest teams, UCLA and USC

The Washington Huskies relied heavily on the western region for recruits over the past five years in getting nearly 90% of their signees from the area. Additionally, they signed 33 more recruits from the western region than the next highest teams, and 41 more than Arizona State signed during the same period.

It seems that both Stanford and Utah looked outside the western region more often than the other Pac-12 Conference teams, and maybe for two completely different reasons. Stanford needed to look elsewhere because not enough western region recruits could meet their academic standards, while Utah needed to look elsewhere because not enough Power Five-level western region recruits wanted to sign with them.

Recruits by State

State_by_School

Where

Number of Power Five-Level Recruits Signing Outside their State

California……………………….. 443………68.0%
Arizona………………………….. 53……….58.9%
Colorado………………………… 35……….72.9%
Washington…………………… 28……….36.4%
Oregon………………………….. 17………..47.2%
Utah……………………………… 17………..35.4%
TOTAL………………………….. 593………62.4%

– More than half of all the Arizona State high school recruits signed over the past five years have came from the state of California
– Almost one out of every two of all the high school recruits signed by the Pac-12 Conference teams were from the state of California
– The state of Arizona produced the second most Power Five Conference high school signees of the eleven western states
– The state of Arizona was 4th out of the six western region Pac-12 states at keeping recruit in-state
– Roughly, 75% of the high school recruits signed by the Washington Huskies were from just two states; California and Washington.
– Only about one-third of all University of Oregon recruits signed came from the state of California
– The high school recruits from the state of Utah stayed home at a higher rate than any of the other eleven western states, even though there was only one Power Five Conference team in the state
– Almost three-out-of-four of the high school recruits from the state of Colorado signed with a Power Five Conference team outside the state
– The state of California produced an average of 130 Power Five Conference high school signees per year
– The eleven western states provided an average of just under 200 Power Five Conference high school signees per year
– The state of California produced enough Power Conference-level signees to cover almost 80% of all the recruits signed by Pac-12 teams

Clearly California produces a very significant number of Power Five-quality recruits and draws a lot of recruiting attention from all over the nation, as 40 out of the 65 Power Five Conference teams signed at least one recruit from the state. It also sees a substantial number of quality recruits sign with teams outside the state. The state of Arizona also seemed to produce a decent share of talent, as it attracted significant attention of major players from the Pac-12 and beyond. For example, Oregon signed almost as many recruits from Arizona as it did from its own home state.

There seems to be a strong allegiance from the recruits in the northwest states of Washington and Oregon to stay within the Pac-12 Conference as nearly 96% of the recruits signed with a Pac-12 team, (108/113). The recruits from the state of Utah signed with its in-state Power Five team at a better rate than any of the other eleven states, even though there was only one Power Five Conference team in the state. Recruits from the state of Utah signing with BYU were not included in the analysis, since the Cougars are not playing in a Power Five Conference.

Because the state of Arizona is producing more and more Power Five-level talent, there is greater competition for the recruits nationally, as ten different Power Five Conference teams outside the Pac-12 have signed recruits from the state. Clearly, the competition is tough, and getting tougher for Arizona State and Arizona.

The Ratings

Stars by School

Star Rankings vs. Conference Wins Ranking in Last Three Years

Star Rankings                                 Conference Wins Ranking
USC……………….……..…… 1st ..…………………….…………………….. 5th  (-4)
UCLA……………………….. 2nd ……………………………………………. 4th  (-2)
Stanford………………….… 3rd ……………………………………………. 2nd  (+1)
Oregon……………………… 4th ……………………………………………. 1st   (+3)
California………………….. 5th ……………………………………………. 11th  (-6)
Washington………………. 6th ……………………………………………. 7th   (-1)
Arizona…………………….. 7th ……………………………………………. 6th   (+1)
Arizona State…………….. 8th ……………………………………………. 3rd  (+5)
Oregon State……………… 9th ……………………………………………. 8th  (+1)
Utah……………………..…. 10th …………..……..……………………….. 9th  (+1)
Colorado………………..… 11th ………….………………………………. 12th  (-1)
Washington State…….. 12th ………………………….………………. 10th  (+2)

– Arizona State’s “Rivals Rating” tied for 10th with Colorado in the conference of its high school signees from the western region states
– Arizona State’s average star rating for all of its signees from the state of California was only 2.95, while it was 3.19 for signees from the state of Arizona
– The Oregon Ducks’ average star rating for the state of California was 3.39, while it was 3.75 for those signees from the state of Oregon
– The star rating for those recruits signing with a Power Five Conference team outside the Pac-12 was 3.27, which would have ranked 6th in the Pac-12 Conference, or right in the middle
– USC had an average of 3.88 star rating for its high school signees from the western states, while UCLA averaged 3.56.

Based on the star rankings over the past five years vs. the conference wins over the past three years, Arizona State has done more with less than any other conference team. On the other hand, California, and to a lesser degree USC seems to get fewer conference wins than their star rankings would project.

The two schools in the LA market seemed to pull the cream of the crop from both California and the other western states, even though both schools changed coaching staffs during the five-year period. Additionally, Pullman Washington must be a difficult place to recruit, because Washington State placed dead last in both star and rival ratings, even below newcomer Colorado which amassed a very lackluster record of 2-25 conference record over the past three years.

Stars_by_State

– From a ratings basis, the state of Arizona was second in the conference right behind California in its ranking of those recruits signing with a Power Five team
– The recruits from the state of Colorado received a Rival Rating average relatively higher that its average star rating

It is interesting how close the “average rating” is for each state. Taken as a whole, the 651 California recruits signing with the different Power Five Conference teams was very similar to the “average rating” of the 91 recruits from Arizona signing with Power Five Conference teams. Also taken as a whole, those recruits in the states of Washington and Utah were not that far behind those in California and Arizona from a ratings standpoint. The real question would be; if the overall ratings are the same state to state, is the actual quality of the recruits also the same state to state.

Number_of_Stars

– The Power Five Conference teams averaged signing less than five signees per year from the western region that were rated as 5-Star recruits
– The Power Five Conference teams averaged signing about 53 signees per year from the western region that were rated as 2-Star recruits
– The Power Five Conference teams averaged signing about 26 signees per year from the western region that were rated as 4-Star recruits
– The University of Southern California signed nine of the possible 24 5-Star recruits from the western region
– Five 5-Star recruits signed with a Power Five Conference team outside the Pac-12
– Arizona State signed a total of 13 4-Star recruits; while the Cal Bears signed 26 4-Star recruits and UCLA signed 40

There is substantial competition for the elite 5-Star recruits, and a good portion of them left the region. It’s also clear that although Arizona State has been recruiting at a higher level lately, the past five years taken as a whole shows them coming up short on the higher-quality recruits. It’s also clear that the rich keep getting richer in terms of tradition rich programs by the fact that the University of Southern California got more than its fair share of 5-Star signees.

Cities

– Eight of the top ten cities producing Power Five signees were in the state of California
– Tempe, AZ produced more Power Five signees than Seattle, Tucson, Denver, San Jose, Bakersfield, Spokane or Albuquerque
– The top three cities in Arizona produced roughly ten Power Five signees per year, and more signees than the entire state of Oregon or Nevada
– The top four cities in California produced more Power Five signees than any of the other ten western states
-The city of Seattle, WA only produced three Power Five signees
– The state of Nevada only produced two Power Five signees outside the city of Las Vegas
– The state of Washington did not have a city that produced more than eight Power Five Conference signees.

The state of California possesses most of the major hotspots for talent at the Power Five Conference level. Surprisingly, the state of Arizona is heads and shoulders above the other nine western region states in terms of hotspot cities producing Power Five Conference signees. The state of Washington lacks a major Power Five Conference signee-producing city. In fact, the 76 different signees from the state were scattered over 33 different cities.

Based on population of the different cities, Westlake Village, Gardena, Lakewood, Corona, Chandler and Scottsdale would be the top six cities for producing Power Conference signees per population.

Recruits by Position

Position_by_State

– The state of Utah produced a greater percentage of defensive line Power Five Conference signees than any other western region state, over one-third of all their signees were defensive linemen
– Over 50% of the recruits from the state of Utah signing with a Power Five Conference team was either an offensive or defensive lineman
– One-third of all the Power Five Conference signees from the state of Colorado were offensive linemen
– The state of California averaged producing 10 quarterbacks per year that signed with a Power Five Conference team
– The state of California also averaged producing over 16 wide receivers per year that signed with a Power Five Conference team
– Almost one out of every six recruits from the state of Washington that signed with a Power Five Conference team was a tight end
– One out of every eight Power Five Conference signee from the state of Colorado was a running back

If the state of Utah produces a Power Five Conference-level recruit, it probably would be a big lineman. On the other hand, if you are looking in the western region for a quarterback, the odds are pretty good that there would be one from the state of California. Not counting the “athlete” category, which could end up playing either offense or defense, the western region provided roughly 54% of players on the offensive side of the ball and only 46% on the defensive side of the ball. Could that be the product of an offensive-minded Pac-12 Conference, or something else?

What All this Means for Arizona State

Performance
Over the last five year combined, Arizona State has signed high school recruits with rankings at the lower end of the conference, especially if the rankings by Rival’s website is considered. However, if the conference wins and losses are used as a measure of success of those recruits, then the program has over-achieved during the past three years better than any of the other Pac-12 schools.

State Recruits’ Loyalty
Three states, Utah, Washington and Oregon did a better job of keeping its recruits in- state, while California and Colorado did worse than Arizona State. It would be interesting to research why these three states did a better job of keeping recruits home than those in Arizona.

Recruit Rankings
Although the perception is that the quality of star rankings vary from state to state, the star averages of the entire group of recruits signed by Power Five-level teams from each state to do not vary that much. This would also be a good area for further research.

Recruiting by Location
Arizona State signees are 50 percent from California, 20 percent from Arizona, ten percent from the remaining nine western region states and 20 percent from the rest of the country. Clearly, California is ground zero for Sun Devil recruiting. It’s interesting that only ten percent of the signees are from nine of the western states. That means that there was a pool of 240 Power Five-level recruits possible from those states and Arizona State only signed seven of them, or a three percent success rate. In California, Arizona State’s success rate was more than six and a half percent, while it was over 17 and a half percent in Arizona.

Recruiting Hotspots
When looking strictly at power cities for recruiting, Arizona State needs to look no further than the cities of Chandler and Scottsdale in its own backyard for Power Five-level recruits. Additionally, the Sun Devils have had good success in the city of Corona in recent years. In fact, twelve of the top 15 cities in the western region are in either California or Arizona. Seven of the hotspot cities in California are in Southern California.

Recruits by Position
Since Arizona States gets about 70 percent of its recruits from either California or Arizona, it is interesting to see the pool of players that were available. There were roughly 100 Power Five-level offensive linemen from California and 25 from Arizona over the past five years that Arizona State could have taken. The Sun Devils pull four offensive linemen from California and four from Arizona. However, for the defensive linemen, there were still 100 from California, but only 13 from Arizona. The Sun Devils were able to sign eight from California and two from Arizona.

In looking over the offensive skilled positions of quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end, the state of Arizona produced a total of only 23 Power Five-level recruits in the five years period, or less than five per year. In the state of California, the number was 214 recruits for those positions, or almost 43 per year.

It seems that because of the small pool of Power Five-level skilled offensive players from the state of Arizona, when Arizona State misses out on signing one of these position players, the loss gets magnified, whereas if they miss on a similar position with a California recruit, the Sun Devils have several other options available within the state.

About Gary Doran

Gary Doran

Gary graduated from ASU many years ago. After careers working in banking, finance and the financial administration of academic research funding, he is now interested in utilizing his passion for numbers towards two things he thoroughly loves; Arizona State University and college football. He is looking forward to finding the “stories” buried within the numbers on a football stat sheet. He has gone to ASU football games all the way back to the days of Frank Kush and the WAC. He has been married to an amazing ASU graduate for almost forty years, and they currently live in Ventura, CA. Although this may disqualify him from talking football, he and his wife enjoy the practice of yoga and dancing the Argentine Tango. Ole!

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