Written by Corbett Smith
See where all 25,000 Division I football players call home, and what that means about the Dallas-Fort Worth area
Benn Stancil, the chief analyst at Mode - a data analytics firm - has put together this interactive map of the contiguous 48 U.S. states, showing where the 25,000 Division I football players call home.
Stancil's work is very impressive - sortable by conference, individual college/university and position.
As expected, the Dallas/Fort Worth area produces its share of DI kids, exceeded only by the Los Angeles metro area, South Florida and Houston.
It's not perfect (Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii!). The methodology behind the groupings looks at where the player calls "home, according to ESPN," not graduating high schools.
So a player like Denton Ryan's Mario Edwards, Jr. - now at Florida State - isn't included as part of the Denton County group, since Edwards Jr.'s hometown on ESPN is listed as Gautier, Miss., his birthplace.
Nevertheless, it's worth some quality time poking around.
Here are five takeaways from the map:
1. Dallas County is the hub. A total of 404 players come from the county, the most in the area - which is not surprising when you consider the county includes all of Dallas, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Richardson, Mesquite, Garland and Irving. Only two other counties in the nation exceed Dallas County's total: Los Angeles County [Calif.], 648; and Harris County [greater Houston], 498.
2. Texas quarterbacks aren't as prevalent as it's been made out to be. There's been a lot written about how Texas high school quarterbacks have taken over (like this 2012 article, showing that 1/4 of NFL teams have starting QBs that either came from a Texas high school or college). While the quality is there, the quantity really isn't. Collin County leads the way among D/FW counties with 13 quarterbacks. But that's fewer than Maricopa County [Ariz.] and Fulton County [Ga.].
3. Harris County (Houston) has more players in Division I in nearly every position, except two: defensive backs and kickers/punters. Dallas County's 89 defensive backs just outpaces Houston's 86 (a quick look at the SportsDayHS Area Top 100 indicates that might not change anytime soon; more than a quarter of the list [27 players] are defensive backs). Dallas County's 20 kickers/punters is tied for most in the country with Los Angeles [Calif.] County.
4. Conferences without an in-state team rarely hit the Metroplex. This isn't a shocker; but some areas of the country are recruited by every conference - namely South Florida and Southern California. The Big 10, Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences dip into the D/FW talent pool, but not extensively (Tarrant County has the second-most Big 10 players in the state behind Harris County, with 12). The ACC and MAC hardly come around at all. Recruiting in the FCS is even more regional - with a few exceptions. The Patriot League - with Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross and others - has 12 Dallas County players. That's tied with Los Angeles [Calif.] County and Broward [Fla.] County for the most players outside the Northeastern United States.
5. Per capita, Rockwall County is the most productive recruiting ground in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. From a college-aged male population, Rockwall County has produced 22 players - including Oklahoma's Austin Woods, SMU's Jarrett Spencer and Louisiana-Monroe's Austin Moss.
Play around with the map here, from Mode.