All 50 states, ranked by their percentage of the country's elite college football recruits by Alex Kirshner

Georgia has established itself as the country's fourth-best recruiting state, and that's good news for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.
Photo: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Recruiting rankings matter, and getting top talent is a prerequisite for winning college football championships. Teams need to sign a bunch of four- and five-star players to have any chance at all.

It's common knowledge by now that a few states (Florida, Texas, California) have more of this elite talent than anywhere else. But just how clustered are America's best four- and five-star football players? I counted, in every state and the District of Columbia.

All the data here come from the 247Sports Composite, which aggregates ratings agencies' evaluations of players. Our state-by-state blue-chip counts don't align perfectly with the website's national count of them, but their resulting figures are within decimal points of equal for each year. (I counted manually and the website is always updating.)

Here's how many blue-chip players have come from every state in the last five years, with each state's national percentage of elite talent attached:

State '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Total Percentage of total
Florida 45 47 50 42 46 230 14.0%
Texas 43 52 47 37 46 225 13.7%
California 36 45 44 34 41 200 12.2%
Georgia 33 26 34 23 25 141 8.6%
Ohio 15 12 17 15 19 78 4.8%
Louisiana 12 21 13 16 12 74 4.5%
Alabama 14 8 12 11 13 58 3.5%
Virginia 14 6 13 10 13 56 3.4%
North Carolina 7 15 9 13 7 51 3.1%
Tennessee 9 8 11 7 9 44 2.7%
Pennsylvania 8 9 9 7 10 43 2.6%
New Jersey 4 8 7 10 11 40 2.4%
Illinois 5 6 5 12 9 37 2.3%
Mississippi 5 11 7 8 5 36 2.2%
Michigan 10 9 4 4 8 35 2.1%
Maryland 8 11 6 4 6 35 2.1%
South Carolina 4 5 5 9 5 28 1.7%
Arizona 6 5 2 7 6 26 1.6%
Indiana 3 4 3 6 7 23 1.4%
Oklahoma 4 1 5 7 2 19 1.2%
Washington 4 3 6 2 2 17 1.0%
Arkansas 2 3 5 2 3 15 0.9%
Utah 4 2 3 3 1 13 0.8%
D.C. 1 4 3 2 3 13 0.8%
Nevada 5 0 3 4 0 12 0.7%
Missouri 3 1 3 3 2 12 0.7%
Oregon 2 2 1 2 3 10 0.6%
Colorado 2 1 3 3 1 10 0.6%
Hawaii 2 2 4 0 2 10 0.6%
Kentucky 1 3 2 2 1 9 0.5%
New York 1 0 1 3 1 6 0.4%
Minnesota 0 1 1 3 1 6 0.4%
Kansas 0 3 0 3 0 6 0.4%
Iowa 0 2 0 2 1 5 0.3%
Wisconsin 0 2 0 2 1 5 0.3%
Connecticut 2 0 2 0 0 4 0.2%
Delaware 1 0 0 1 0 2 0.1%
New Mexico 1 0 1 0 0 2 0.1%
Massachusetts 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.1%
Nebraska 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.1%
Idaho 0 0 1 0 0 1 0.1%
South Dakota 0 1 0 0 0 1 0.1%
Alaska 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Maine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Montana 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
New Hampshire 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
North Dakota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Rhode Island 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Vermont 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
West Virginia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Wyoming 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
National 316 339 342 319 326 1642 100.0%

The top five states have more than half the country's blue-chip players for the last five years, at 53.3 percent of the total.

Florida, Texas and California really do have so, so many more elite recruits than anybody else. Between the three, they've got about 40 percent of them. The top nine states have two-thirds of the national total.

Georgia has pretty well entrenched itself as the fourth-best recruiting state, with some combination of Ohio and Louisiana at Nos. 5 and 6. Then there's a mass of states that produces between 2 and 5 percent of the country's top recruits every year, and then a bunch more that almost (or literally) never produce elite players. Nine states haven't had any blue-chip players in the last five years. Some states have never, ever had them.

It makes a difference. Check out maps No. 6 through 9 here, which point out a few things: Champions come from areas with lots of good players, the best players are hugely clumped together in the big three states and the SEC and Pac-12 are operating at enormous geographic advantages.

This picture never really changes, either.

I went into this research expecting to find that some states have particular years where they would erupt and produce far more blue-chip prospects than normal. Not really!

States' shares of the national blue-chip ranks stay almost the exact same every year, with very few exceptions.

State '17 '16 '15 '14 '13
Florida 14.2% 13.9% 14.6% 13.2% 14.1%
Texas 13.6% 15.3% 13.7% 11.6% 14.1%
California 11.4% 13.3% 12.9% 10.7% 12.6%
Georgia 10.4% 7.7% 9.9% 7.2% 7.7%
Ohio 4.7% 3.5% 5.0% 4.7% 5.8%
Alabama 4.4% 2.4% 3.5% 3.4% 4.0%
Virginia 4.4% 1.8% 3.8% 3.1% 4.0%
Louisiana 3.8% 6.2% 3.8% 5.0% 3.7%
Michigan 3.2% 2.7% 1.2% 1.3% 2.5%
Tennessee 2.8% 2.4% 3.2% 2.2% 2.8%
Pennsylvania 2.5% 2.7% 2.6% 2.2% 3.1%
Maryland 2.5% 3.2% 1.8% 1.3% 1.8%
North Carolina 2.2% 4.4% 2.6% 4.1% 2.1%
Arizona 1.9% 1.5% 0.6% 2.2% 1.8%
Nevada 1.6% 0.0% 0.9% 1.3% 0.0%
Mississippi 1.6% 3.2% 2.0% 2.5% 1.5%
Illinois 1.6% 1.8% 1.5% 3.8% 2.8%
Utah 1.3% 0.6% 0.9% 0.9% 0.3%
New Jersey 1.3% 2.4% 2.0% 3.1% 3.4%
Washington 1.3% 0.9% 1.8% 0.6% 0.6%
South Carolina 1.3% 1.5% 1.5% 2.8% 1.5%
Oklahoma 1.3% 0.3% 1.5% 2.2% 0.6%
Missouri 0.9% 0.3% 0.9% 0.9% 0.6%
Indiana 0.9% 1.2% 0.9% 1.9% 2.1%
Oregon 0.6% 0.6% 0.3% 0.6% 0.9%
Connecticut 0.6% 0.0% 0.6% 0.0% 0.0%
Colorado 0.6% 0.3% 0.9% 0.9% 0.3%
Arkansas 0.6% 0.9% 1.5% 0.6% 0.9%
Hawaii 0.6% 0.6% 1.2% 0.0% 0.6%
Delaware 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 0.0%
New Mexico 0.3% 0.0% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0%
D.C. 0.3% 1.2% 0.9% 0.6% 0.9%
Kentucky 0.3% 0.9% 0.6% 0.6% 0.3%
New York 0.3% 0.0% 0.3% 0.9% 0.3%
Alaska 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Maine 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Montana 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
New Hampshire 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
North Dakota 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Rhode Island 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Vermont 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
West Virginia 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Wyoming 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Idaho 0.0% 0.0% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0%
South Dakota 0.0% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Iowa 0.0% 0.6% 0.0% 0.6% 0.3%
Wisconsin 0.0% 0.6% 0.0% 0.6% 0.3%
Massachusetts 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.6%
Minnesota 0.0% 0.3% 0.3% 0.9% 0.3%
Nebraska 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.6%
Kansas 0.0% 0.9% 0.0% 0.9% 0.0%

The state with the biggest jump in blue-chippers this year is Michigan, whose 10 four- and five-star kids mark, in total, a 2.3 percent increase over its average from the last four classes. That's the maximum.

The players change every year, but recruiting, on the whole, barely changes at all. If your state has a lot of elite players, it'll keep doing that. And if it doesn't, it'll keep doing that, too.