Texas may have the most high school football players in the country. But is it really the most talent-rich state for recruiting?

College Football Recruiting 2015: Ranking The 10 Most Talent-Rich States


There are no secrets or mysteries concerning which states annually produce the most top college football recruits. For decades, California, Florida and Texas have comprised the “Big Three” and reigned supreme over the rest of the country.

This year, unsurprisingly, all three states are yet again brimming with elite prospects. However, the supposed “Big Three” certainly aren’t the only states that can lay claim to having an abundance of highly rated recruits.

In order to figure out which states were the most stocked with top-tier talent for the 2015 class, I decided to conduct a study.  The formula I used to figure out the state rankings was mainly based off the top 500 players in 247Sports’ composite recruit rankings along with the total number of blue-chip prospects (i.e. players ranked as a 5-star recruit by either Rivals, Scout, ESPN or 247Sports) each state had.

After gathering and analyzing the data, it became quite apparent that there are a select few states that clearly stand out from the rest this year.

Here are the 10 most talent-rich states for the 2015 college football recruiting class.

*Note: Each state’s top 10 prospect rankings are based off consensus rankings of the top four recruiting services: Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247Sports. Players in italics have been rated as a 5-star blue-chip prospect by at least one of those sites.

 

1. Florida

There’s really no need for an argument or debate in order to crown this year’s most talent-stocked state. Florida is the undisputed king. Led by a bevy of highly ranked blue-chip recruits, including an impressive trio of defenders—CB Kevin Toliver II, and defensive ends CeCe Jefferson and Byron Cowart—at the forefront, the Sunshine State once again has a ton of premier talent packed inside its borders.

Toliver is arguably the most complete corner prospect to come out of Florida since Patrick Peterson left Blanche Ely High School. The 6’2’’, 185-pound LSU commit is certainly not the only Florida defensive prospect that has generated some serious buzz, though. Cowart, Jefferson, safety Derwin James and CB Tarvarus McFadden are all coveted commodities as well.

On the offensive side of the ball, Apopka OT Martez Ivey is the most well-rounded, and at this point, the most college-ready player. However, dynamic dual-threat QB Torrance Gibson out of Fort Lauderdale’s American Heritage High School is the player with the most potential and the highest upside.

According to Rivals, last year, one in every 124 high school players in Florida signed a Division I FBS scholarship, which is an absolutely astounding ratio. What’s even more remarkable is there’s a good chance that ratio could be even more impressive in 2015.

Top-500 Prospects
: 67

Blue-Chip Recruits: 10


The Top 10 Prospects

1. CB Kevin Toliver II, Trinity Christian (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

2. DE CeCe Jefferson, Baker County (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

3. DE Byron Cowart, Armwood (Rivals, Scout, ESPN)

4. S Derwin James, Haines City (Rivals, Scout, 247)

5. OT Martez Ivey, Apopka (Scout, ESPN, 247)

6. QB Torrance Gibson, American Heritage (Scout, ESPN, 247)

7. WR George Campbell, East Lake (Scout, ESPN)

8. RB Jacques Patrick, Timber Creek (Rivals)

9. WR Calvin Ridley, Monarch (Rivals)

10. WR Tarvarus McFadden, American Heritage (Rivals)

 

 


2. Texas

With more high school football players than any other state, Texas has by far the deepest talent pool in the country. That tremendous depth is on display once again this year. Though the state may lack the type of top-flight stars that they’ve produced in years past, there are still plenty of must-watch prospects in the Lone Star State.

Texas A&M has made some waves already by picking up commitments from two of the state’s most talented prospects: QB Kyler Murray and DT Daylon Mack. That’s big news, considering rival and once perennial powerhouse Texas has yet to reel in any substantial signings from big-name in-state prospects.

High-profile programs like Allen, Katy and Trinity are all loaded again. East, West; Houston, Dallas — it doesn’t matter in which direction or in which city you look, as usual, there’s high quality talent all over the map this year.

Top-500 Prospects
: 60

Blue-Chip Recruits: 6


The Top 10 Prospects

1 . LB Malik Jefferson, Poteet (Rivals, Scout, 247)

2. DT Daylon Mack, Gladewater (Scout, ESPN, 247)

3. CB Kendall Sheffield, Marshall (Scout, ESPN, 247)

4. QB Kyler Murray, Allen (ESPN, 247)

5. OT Maea Teuhema, Keller (Rivals, 247)

6. WR Damarkus Lodge, Cedar Hill (Scout)

7. S Deionte Thompson, West Orange-Stark

8. RB Rodney Anderson, Katy

9. QB Jarrett Stidham, Stephenville

10. RB Ronald Jones II, McKinney North

 

 



3. California

Two of the top quarterback prospects in the country: Josh Rosen and Ricky Town, reside in California. Rosen and Town are both looking to overcome the rather lackluster stigma that’s been attached to recent highly rated quarterback prospects from California. They’ll both likely stay in their home-state on their next step toward stardom, as Rosen is committed to UCLA and Town is committed to USC.

The quarterbacks are both worthy of the hype, but the state’s real prize this year is CB Iman Marshall out of Long Beach Poly. The 6’1’’, 190-pound corner has USC, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA and Alabama all chasing him.

With Marshall back, Poly once again has plenty of talent. However, the state’s most talented program is actually Junipero Serra. Padres players such as LB John Houston, DT Rasheem Green, CB Stanley Norman, RB Malik Roberson, DE Corey Adolphus and WR Deontay Burnett are all bound for big-time programs.

Like Texas, in terms of per capita player production, California can’t compare to recruiting’s new hottest epicenter: Florida. However, the state’s “Big Three” reputation will be well defended yet again with this year’s stellar class of young stars.

Top-500 Prospects: 59

Blue-Chip Recruits: 8


The Top 10 Prospects

1. CB Iman Marshall, Poly (Rivals, Scout, 247)

2. QB Josh Rosen, St. John Bosco (Rivals, Scout, 247)

3. LB John Houston, Junipero Serra (Rivals, Scout, 247)

4. QB Ricky Town, St. Bonaventure (Scout, 247)

5. DT Rasheem Greene, Junipero Serra (Rivals, Scout)

6. DT Kahlil McKenzie, Clayton Valley (Scout, 247)

7. DE Keisean Lucier-South, Lutheran (Scout, 247)

8. DT Jacob Daniel, Clovis North (247)

9. QB Brady White, Hart

10. QB Travis Waller, Servite

 



4. Georgia

California and Texas have still maintained their “Big Three” status this year. But it’s Georgia that’s making the case to expand that title by one. Maybe it has do with the fact that it’s been constantly overshadowed by its neighbor to the south, Florida, but it just seems like Georgia has never really gotten the proper recruiting respect the state deserves.

Judging by the monster 2015 class, though, the Peach State likely won’t have to worry about being disrespected at all this year.

Georgia is home to five of the top overall prospects in the 2015 class: DT Trenton Thompson, OT Mitch Hyatt, ATH Terry Godwin, OT Chuma Edoga and WR Preston Williams. With plenty of star power, and plenty of Division I prospects, the state is quickly becoming a pivotal target area for big-name programs like Alabama, Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn and Ohio State.

Georgia may not rise to the top of the totem pole as fast or as furiously as Florida did. But it’s definitely going to be considered on the same level as the current “Big Three” some day in the near future.

Top-500 Prospects
: 43

Blue-Chip Recruits: 7


The Top 10 Prospects

1. DT Trenton Thompson, Westover (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

2. OT Mitch Hyatt, North Gwinnett (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

3. ATH Terry Godwin, Callaway (Rivals, Scout)

4. OT Chuma Edoga, McEachern (Rivals, 247)

5. WR Preston Williams, Lovejoy (Scout, 247)

6. DB Rashad Roundtree, Lakeside (Rivals)

7. RB Taj Griffin, McEachern (247)

8. DE Mekhi Brown, Carver

9. RB Eric Swinney, Sandy Creek

10. DE Natrez Patrick, Mays

 


5. Louisiana

Louisiana may not have a prospect that has the same caliber of star power as last year’s top recruit: RB Leonard Fournette. Still, Fournette’s hometown of New Orleans is once again home to another explosive offensive playmaker, WR Tyron Johnson, who has plenty of big schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame LSU and Oregon all chasing him.

Johnson may be the state’s only clear-cut blue-chip prospect, but there are plenty of other players around the state who have bright futures ahead of them at big-name schools.

Few other states can boast the overall skill-position talent that Louisiana has to offer. Receivers such as Johnson, Daylon Charlot, Derrick Dillon, Kirk Merritt, Michael Chigbu and Stanley Morgan and running backs such as Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette are all considered to be some of the best players in the country at their positions.

LSU has already picked up commitments from both Guice and Brossette, and the Tigers are surely going to make a strong effort to keep some of those prolific pass-catchers in state as well.

While Louisiana may not have a bona fide top-5 talent like Fournette again this year, obviously, there’s still plenty of talent down in bayou country to get excited about.

Top-500 Prospects: 28

Blue-Chip Recruits: 1


The Top 10 Prospects

1. WR Tyron Johnson, Warren Easton (Rivals)

2. RB Derrius Grice, Catholic

3. ATH Donte Jackson, Riverdale

4. OT Jerry Tillery, Evangel Christian

5. WR Daylon Charlot, Patterson

6. RB Nick Brossette, University Lab

7. CB Xavier Lewis, East St. John

8. WR Derrick Dillon, Pine

9. DT T.D. Moton, Woodlawn

10. WR Kirk Merritt, Destrehan

 

 


6. Ohio

During its decade-and-change-long run of dominance, Ohio State is a program that’s remained powerful by being able to recruit on a national level. The Buckeyes’ recruiting reach has expanded even further during Urban Meyer’s tenure. Obviously, though, it’s certainly helped that the team has had plenty of home-grown talent to choose from in its own state.

Unfortunately for Ohio State, many prominent programs from the Big Ten, the Big 12 and even the SEC have realized just how much quality talent there is in Ohio, which is why Meyer and the Buckeyes are going to have to fight off plenty of invaders this year.

The state’s most prized possession is St Xavier LB Justin Hilliard, who is ranked as a 5-star prospect by both ESPN and 247Sports. The 6’2’’, 225-pound Cincinnati native is currently choosing between offers from the likes of Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and the home-state Buckeyes.

Ohio State was able to land three of the top in-state prospects in the 2014 class: S Erick Smith, LB Dante Booker and ATH Marshon Lattimore. However, the Buckeyes aren’t going to have an easy time replicating that feat again in 2015, since they’re going to have to battle plenty of worthy programs who will be looking to snatch up a few of Ohio’s many outstanding prospects.

Top-500 Prospects
: 19

Blue-Chip Recruits: 1


The Top 10 Prospects

1. LB Justin Hilliard, St. Xavier (ESPN, 247)

2. ATH Jerome Baker, Benedictine

3. RB Larry Scott, Hubbard

4. CB Eric Glover-Williams, McKinley

5. DT Hjalte Froholdt, Warren G. Harding

6. CB Shaun Crawford, St. Edward

7. S Tyree Kinnel, Wayne

8. WR David Dowell, St. Edward

9. RB Darrin Hall, Austintown Fitch

10. LB Nick Conner, Scioto

 

 


7. Virginia

Virginia was home to the top overall prospect of the 2014 class: DE Da’Shawn Hand. This fall, the state will once again be home to yet another explosive edge-rusher: Oscar Smith’s Josh Sweat, who is already considered to be one of the top overall players in the 2015 class.

Though Sweat hasn’t yet accumulated the type of hype and publicity that Hand had by the time his senior year began, he has compiled quite an impressive list of scholarship offers, which features plenty of prestigious programs such as Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and Virginia Tech.

The 6’5’’, 235-pound DE from Chesapeake may be the state’s top attraction, but Virginia also has plenty of other gifted young d-lineman such as tackles Tim Settle and Darvin Taylor and ends Ricky DeBerry and Clelin Ferrell.

With Sweat, Settle, DeBerry and many of state’s other highly rated prospects all still unsettled on a school choice at this point in the process, Virginia is shaping up to be one of the key battleground states for many of the top schools from the ACC, SEC and the Big Ten.

Top-500 Prospects: 17

Blue-Chip Recruits: 3


The Top 10 Prospects

1. DE Josh Sweat, Oscar Smith (Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247)

2. DT Tim Settle, Stonewall Jackson (Scout, ESPN)

3. DE Ricky DeBerry, St. Christopher’s (Scout)

4. OT Matt Burrell Jr., C.D. Hylton

5. DE Clelin Ferrell, Benedictine

6. OT Austin Clark, Rockbridge County

7. CB Garrett Taylor, St. Christopher’s

8. LB Jahvoni Simmons, Ocean Lakes

9. DT Darvin Taylor, Thomas Dale

10. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Dan River

 

 


8. North Carolina

North Carolina may not have a reputation as a true recruiting hot spot. Still, in recent years, the state has produced plenty of players who have made a big impact at the collegiate level, including standouts such as Todd Gurley, Keenan Allen and David Amerson.

Though the Tar Heel State may not have a true sure-fire star prospect in the 2015 class, this year’s group of prospects is arguably the deepest group the state has boasted in at least a decade.

At the forefront are three distinguished defensive linemen: tackle Shy Tuttle and ends Jalen Dalton and Darian Roseboro. The state also features quite a collection of running backs, led by Garner’s Nyheim Hines, Wake Forest’s Bryce Love and Princeton’s Johnny Frasier. All three are coveted rushers who boast plenty of scholarship offers from highly renowned programs from around the country.

The player who could be  primed to ultimately have the biggest breakout year and really step out onto the national stage this fall is dual-threat QB Anthony Ratliff. The UNC commit from Butler, North Carolina has all the tools to become a dynamic playmaker at the next level, especially if he ends up in the right system which best suits his skill-set.

Top-500 Prospects
: 19

Blue-Chip Prospects: 2


The Top 10 Prospects

1. DT Shy Tuttle, North Davidson (247)

2. DE Jalen Dalton, West Forsyth (247)

3. DE Darian Roseboro, Lincolnton

4. RB Nyheim Hines, Garner

5. CB Mark Fields II, Hough

6. RB Bryce Love, Wake Forest

7. CB Mook Reynolds, Northern Guilford

8. OT Mason Veal, Ardrey Kell

9. RB Johnny Frasier, Princeton

10.  OC Brian Chaffin, Charlotte Christian

 

 


9. Alabama

Jameis Winston, Julio Jones, Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dee Ford — those are just a few examples of former highly rated recruits from Alabama who went on to experience tremendous success at the collegiate level in recent years.

The state’s next wave of top-flight talent for the 2015 class looks like it’s destined to produce plenty of impact players as well.

Though Alabama is a bit light on blue-chip prospects this year, DT Daron Payne does have the look of a potential elite recruit. Payne, a massive 6’3’’, 330-pound behemoth from Irondale, Alabama is rated as a 5-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports.

The state’s two big programs: Alabama and Auburn, have both flexed their in-state recruiting muscles already. The Tide have picked up commitments from both OG Lester Cotton and RB Desherrius Flowers, while the Tigers have received pledges from RB Kerryon Johnson and LB Darrell Williams.

Still, the biggest and most intriguing battle will be the one fought to secure Payne’s services. He’s an absolute top priority prospect for both Alabama and Auburn, and both schools will pull out all the stops to acquire his signature.

Top-500 Prospects
: 17

Blue-Chip Recruits: 1


The Top 10 Prospects

1. DT Daron Payne, Shades Valley (Rivals, Scout, 247)

2. OG Lester Cotton, Central School

3. RB Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy

4. LB Richard McBryde, Charles Henderson

5. RB Bradrick Shaw, Hoover

6. OG Tyler Carr, Southside

7. RB Desherrius Flowers, Vigor

8. LB Darrell Williams, Hoover

9. OG Brandon Kennedy, Wetumpka

10. DE Christian Bell, Hoover

 


10. Tennessee

Looking for the next up-and-coming recruiting “hotbed” state? Then look no further than Tennessee.

This year, the state has 14 prospects who are rated as 4-star recruits by Rivals, which is a lot more than any of the other so-called “second-tier” states such as Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina.

Tennessee’s two biggest cities: Memphis and Nashville are both loaded with great prospects.

OT Drew Richmond out of Memphis University School is the true cream of the crop recruit this year. The 6’6’’, 313-pound tackle has the combination, of size, strength and natural athleticism that has intrigued schools such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

Last year, Tennessee had 40 players sign with FBS schools. However, judging from the type of senior talent that’s spread across the state, that total should be dramatically higher for the 2015 class.

Top-500 Prospects
: 15

No Blue-Chip Prospects

The Top 10 Prospects

1. OT Drew Richmond, Memphis University School

2. DB Rico McGraw, Ensworth

3. OG Jack Jones, Oakland

4. DE Kyle Phillips, Hillsboro

5. ATH Jauan Jennings, Blackman

6. LB Joshua McMillon, Whitehaven

7. CB Donovan Sheffield, Ensworth

8. WR Van Jefferson, Ravenwood

9. LB Josh Smith, Oakland

10. TE Jackson Harris, Columbia Central

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