Welcome back to the third edition of Which State Produces the Best Player at Each Position! Last week we saw Georgia improve their record to 2-0 in this series. Not bad for the Peach State. This week, we will dive into the Edge position. Now I know what you’re thinking; what is the “Edge” position. Well, it’s defensive ends (think JJ Watt, Danielle Hunter, Cameron Jordan, etc.)  and outside linebackers who are used more like a defensive end (think Chandler Jones, Von Miller, Brian Burns, etc.). Games are won and lost in the trenches, and in today’s game, if you can’t rush the passer, you will struggle. In every aspect of the game, the edge rusher is invaluable. So, you’re a big-time recruiter (obviously because you’re reading this extremely famous and notarized article) and you’re trying to find where to look for the next great edge rusher. Well, if you keep reading, two things will happen: 1. You will read more of the article 2. You will see which state produces the best edge rushers. 

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). 

NOTE: 

– 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. 

My first assumption is that edge rusher will come from the same areas as tight ends, as they have similar body types and, just like my last article, I was incorrect…shocking right? However, when comparing these two things, I noticed a trend; 8 of the top 10 top producing edge states, are states that have a beach front (I didn’t notice this when writing the last article, but the 8 out of the top 10 top TE states are very mountainous…so tight ends are essentially mountain men). But why is this? Easier access to sand training? More peer pressure to have beach bod (most edge rushers are more cut up than a beef cow)? Is there actually something in the water? Who knows, but recruiters, all that matters is that now you can take your family on “vacation” while also getting the best edge athletes. This probably is just a fun coincidence, so let’s leave that and jump into the numbers. The top 5 states in terms of high school prospects (without population considered) are:

1. Georgia (138)

2. Florida (129)

3. Texas (81)

4. California (78)

5. Virginia (50)

The difference even between the top 5 states are astronomical. Georgia and Florida produce by far the most high school edge recruits – why would that be? Well, let’s see if those high school players turn into NFL draft picks. Here are the top 5 states in terms of NFL draftees (without population considered):

1. Texas (87)

2. Georgia (85)

3. Florida (67)

4. Virginia (44)

5. Ohio / New Jersey (37)

So, in terms of high school edge players becoming NFL athletes, the states essentially stay the same with only California falling out of the top 5 (7th with 26pts). However, the beach thing still applies…except with Ohio…but who cares about Ohio, right? To finish off this competition, we will combine HS and NFL pts and secondly apply population – and you may be surprised with the top of this list.

So, after reviewing the data, you probably already know who’s going to win…again. Georgia is now 3 for 3 and it’s getting old. No matter how you look at it, with or without population considered, Georgia is in the top 2…that’s absurd and I don’t think this trend will end anytime soon in this series (maybe I should skew the numbers to make South Carolina win all the remaining positions). But since this whole Georgia thing is getting old, let’s check out some of the surprises from this round. Hawaii being number 1 in edge rushers per capita is a head scratcher. Hawaii and other states with higher populations of people of Polynesian decent are normally larger (see OL article), so I assumed that Hawaii would be big in defensive tackles, but I wouldn’t have expected edge. Kansas was another one that left me puzzled. A: I would never expect a state like Kansas to produce anything other than basketball players, and B: Kansas isn’t near an ocean, but it is illegal to catch a fish with your bare hands there, so they must be near enough water to produce edge rushers, I guess.

If you’re still reading this article, you’re probably a close friend of mine or a family member reading out of a feeling of obligation, but nonetheless, I want to sincerely thank you (as little as possible) for taking the time out of your day to read my article. You truly are of penultimate importance in my life.