Texas recruiting: Bigger, but is it better?

January, 30, 2012
1/30/12
1:45
PM ET
The sheer volume and passion that surrounds Texas high school football is unlike anywhere else in America.

This year, the state is home to the top two prospects in the ESPNU 150, too.

Recruiting in Texas is bigger than anywhere else, but are the players necessarily better?

Colleague Mitch Sherman took a look at the issue from a wide angle, and the results seem to indicate that players in Texas are just like anyone else.
ESPN.com examined the post-high school football careers of 772 consensus prep All-America players from 1998 to 2007, using a composite of the Parade All-America and SuperPrep Elite 50 teams.

Each player was assigned a value of 1 through 5, similar to the star-ranking systems used to commonly classify recruits -- with 1 as a bust and 5 as an All-America-caliber college player, first-round NFL draft pick or All-Pro.

The study compared 81 prospects who played high school football in Texas to 176 in California and Florida, regarded as the other top talent-producing states, and 515 from everywhere else.

The results showed no discernible difference in level of success between any of the regions. Players from Texas scored a decade-long average of 3.06. California and Florida players averaged 3.16, and the national average was 3.10.

Despite the intense and unmatched environment of Texas high school football, a top-tier prospect from Texas, statistically, fares no better or worse in college and the NFL than a player of equal acclaim from Arkansas or Massachusetts or Hawaii. Texas serves as a microcosm of the nation as a whole in generating bona fide football stars. What happens before college makes no more difference to elite recruits in Texas than in the rest of the country.

There's lots more in Sherman's study, including a look at the culture within Texas and famous recruits who went on to glory or flameout status. Check it out.

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