Wednesday morning in the Crootletter, my daily newsletter on National football recruiting, I discussed recruiting in the state of Florida.
The state of Florida is an interesting case now that IMG Academy, a finishing school for top players, is up and running. IMG had nine blue-chip players this year, more than most states, and to get a true feel for who is recruiting the state well, it's necessary to exclude the five temporary IMG residents from out of state. All five returned to the region from which they came, and my observation is that this has pretty much been the case throughout IMG's history.
That leaves 42 elite players from the state of Florida, a number which is a bit low as it was a down year in the Sunshine State. Of the 42, 25 stayed in state, with Miami (ten),Florida State (eight), and Florida (four) leading the way. Auburn was the top out-of-state team for grabbing Florida players, with three, while Ole Miss, Ohio State, Tennessee and Clemson each added two.
IMG makes a concerted effort not to recruit players from the Sunshine State, and indeed 11 of the 12 IMG Athletes ranked as four- or five-stars early on in the 2017 rankings are from out-of-state.
There is no rule that those players cannot sign with in-state schools, but the results from IMG's admittedly small sample set in its short existence show that players overwhelmingly return to the region from which they came. This is consistent with what we know about recruiting -- that geography is an incredibly important factor, of which playing in Florida for one season is not going to often overcome.
Keep this in mind when looking at how Florida State (and Florida and Miami) are doing recruiting their home states. The pool of elite recruits for whom they are battling is smaller than a cursory look at the ratings suggests.