This week, ESPN updated or is in the process of rolling out its new rankings. There are 185 players in three classes who will be ranked by the end of the week. As one can imagine, it’s a daunting task to process that much information, analyze the players and incorporate them into lists. The process begins with knowing where to look for the talent.
What do Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming have in common? None of those states produced a ranked player from the classes of 2014-16.
Imagine being the head coach at Nebraska in the Big Ten trying to compete with teams in your league when your recruiting base is bare. Ditto for Iowa. Now, those places have produced talent in years past but in terms of the next three years, Fran McCaffrey and Tim Miles will rack up the frequent flier miles.
Looking ahead to 2016, would you believe that North Carolina and Tennessee currently have the most Top 25 players? How about the fact that Illinois and Texas are the only states with two top 5 prospects. What’s going on in New York? Only two elite prospects from three classes? Whoa.
We ran the numbers on the 185 ranked players. Here are the states that produce the most talent.
1. Texas (19 ranked players)
2. California (15)
3. Florida (14)
4. Illinois (10)
T-5. Georgia (8) and Nevada (8)
T-7. Alabama (6), Indiana (6), New Jersey (6), New Hampshire (6), North Carolina (6), Tennessee (6), Virginia (6), West Virginia (6) and Wisconsin (6)
• West Virginia is loaded because of the migration of players to Huntington Prep. No Huntington Prep, no West Virginia on the list.
• Nevada gets its boost from Findlay and burgeoning power Bishop Gorman.
• Oak Hill is in Virginia but the Warriors did not account for all of the state’s talent.
• New Hampshire? Let’s not forget the power of the prep schools.
• Kentucky and Kansas are home to national championships (Louisville, UK and Kansas) yet combined there are three ranked players in those states.
• Fair to say that Texas powers almost the entire Big 12 with players. The four states which border Texas combine for eight ranked players.
• Washington D.C. and Maryland are commonly referred to as hotbeds. Only six ranked players between the two in the next three classes seems a little low.
• Here are the most populated states in the country as of two years ago, with the number of ranked players in the next three classes:
1. California (15)
2. Texas (19)
3. New York (2)
4. Florida (14)
5. Illinois (10)
6. Pennsylvania (4)
7. Ohio (5)
8. Georgia (8)
9. Michigan (4)
10. North Carolina (6)