Every state, at least in the South, prides themselves on the athletes that they produce. They all want to be the best and believe wholeheartedly that they are. Well, let’s look at what each state produces and try to help you crush your second cousin in an argument at your family barbecue.
To add numerical value to this argument, I pulled recruiting information using 247 Sports recruit ranking and Sports Reference from the last 5 years that have had draft eligible players (2015-2019). The top 50 players per position were added to the database based on the state in which they played High School football and a value was added to that state based off the number of stars they had (5 Stars = 5pts, 1 Star = 1 pt). Then for the draft, I added ALL players drafted for that specific position and points were given based on which round they were drafted (1st Rd = 7 points ,7th Rd = 1pt).
– 1 player that was drafted was not added to this data collection due to him never playing high school or college football in the United States – Jordan Mailata of Australia.
– Athletes from Washington D.C. were put into the Virginia group.
– Athletes that may have transferred to a sports specialized school such as IMG, were included in the state of the specialized school. Too many transfers occur and it’s virtually impossible to determine why the transfer occurred.
The first position that we are going to take a dive into is one that is near and dear to my heart and arguably the most important position – Offensive Line. Off the cuff, I’d assume that the best offensive lineman would come from the areas in which the colleges have the best offensive lines – the Midwest. If we turn on Fox at noon on Saturdays in the Fall, we see massive humans playing in the trenches in the Big 10. However, that’s not necessarily the case. My second assumption would be that the big hog mollies come from the South, think Texas, Georgia, Alabama etc. The SEC is constantly pulling in the top talent on the offensive line and more times than not, players stay close to home. Just like my first assumption, that’s not completely true as well. The fact of the matter is that the majority of best offensive lineman come from the South, Midwest, and West.
The question that comes from this is, why do these areas produce the most offensive lineman? Well, after doing some research, I found that the areas that produce that most offensive lineman are also some of the top states in obesity per capita. Makes sense that the states that have the most obese people also make produce the most players at a position that requires you to weight 300+ lbs., right? Another thing I noticed was the states with higher populations of athletes of Polynesian descentproduced the second most amount of offensive lineman – California, Washington, Utah, Nevada (Pacific West Coast area).Polynesian people tend to be larger as well, so it makes sense that those states would have a higher amount of lineman.
But enough with the boring stuff, where does each state rank? I broke the data down to just high school recruits, just NFL draftees, and a combination of the two.
For High School recruits, the top 10 states are:
2. Florida (South)
3. Georgia (South)
4. California (West)
5. Ohio (Midwest)
6. Michigan (Midwest)
7. Tennessee (South)
8. Alabama (South)
9. Virginia (South)
10. Maryland (South)
For the NFL Draft, the top 10 states are:
11. Texas (South)
12. Florida (South)
13. California (West)
14. Ohio (Midwest)
16. Georgia (South)
17. Michigan (Midwest)
18. North Carolina (South)
20. Nevada (West)
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the combined list of the top states for Offensive Lineman are…any guesses? Disclaimer: if this article does not help you destroy your second cousin in an argument at the family barbecue, do NOT show them this and discard it from your memory bank. Alright, now here’s the list…finally:
Pick your head up Bubba-Joe, your argument ain’t done yet. As I was breaking down the data, I started to think…of course Texas, Florida, and California are in the top 10 as they have the highest populations. So, the next step was to break down the data along with population data from each state of high school and college aged kids (the census breaks down data from 0-18 and 19-25). This was a game changer, and what I will be doing going forward with the rest of this series (I didn’t want to take out the information above, because I felt like it would be interesting to compare the two). Below is the top 50 with population considered and how much of a change occurred in each state’s ranking (the top 5 risers and top 5 fallers are highlighted green and red respectively):
The same arguments that were made previously (high obesity rate/high Polynesian population) still apply, but the states that occupy the seats in the top 10 are totally different.
So, the most important part of the article…who the winner is. In my humble opinion, I believe that Georgia is the state that produces the best Offensive Lineman. In terms of sheer numbers, Georgia is 3rd in High School Recruits, 6th in NFL Draftees, 4th in High School Recruits and Draftees combined, and 2nd in High School Recruits and Draftees per capita. There isn’t even another state that can think about competing with those numbers. I hate to give Georgia another “championship” but it’s hard to argue with the numbers. And you know what they say, Jimbo lies, Nick lies, but numbers don’t lie…too soon?
If you’ve made it this far in the article, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this – whether you’re dog-cussing my opinion and how I crunched the numbers or are ready to give me the Nobel Peace Prize for my genius, my gratitude is the same.