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Where did the top football recruits from talent-rich states end up on Signing Day?

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

UGA HC Kirby Smart
UGA HC Kirby Smart
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Very little happened in the world of recruiting on Tuesday, which is good since I had the day off. For Wednesday morning, let's take a look at who recruited well in the most talented states.

The state of Texas produced 52 four- and five-star players. By now, most people receiving this newsletter are aware that Texas signed just one of the top 10 players in the state while Ole Miss and Baylor grabbed two each, but the Longhorns did sign 12 of the state's top 50, which is very strong. Twenty of the 52 blue-chippers went out-of-state, including four to Alabama and Ole Miss, and three to LSU. Oklahoma signed just one. Interestingly, the SEC signed 13 of the state's top 25 players, but the Big 12 did sign more blue chips in all, taking 25 of the 52, compared to 19 for the SEC.

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. 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 (10), 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.

Auburn lost its ace recruiter Dameyune Craig to LSU over the weekend, and it will be interesting to see how the Tigers do in Florida without him. With Florida State and Miami, the ACC signed the bulk of the state's top prospects, with the SEC coming in second, well ahead of the Big Ten.

The state of California had 45 four- and five-star players, of which UCLA signed 11, USC signed eight and Stanford, Washington and Michigan each grabbed three. In total, 31 of California's 45 blue chip prospects went to Pac-12 schools.

Georgia featured 25 blue chippers in 2016, and while we are waiting to see where five-star Demetris Robertson signs, the Bulldogs did land nine of the 24 who have signed, a solid effort in the first year under Kirby Smart. Georgia is the only state with major football powers on every border, and it is not realistic to expect the Bulldogs to keep everyone home.

The SEC, however, does dominate the state, signing 18 of the 24, with the ACC signing four (none of which went to Georgia Tech). Auburn was the top out-of-state recruiter, signing three, while Clemson, Tennessee, Florida and USC each grabbed two.

Down in Louisiana, the state's talent seems to be rebounding a decade after Hurricane Katrina, with 21 four- and five-stars. Of that, a ridiculous 11 of the top 13 signed with the LSU Tigers, and 13 of the 21, with no other team signing more than one. That was an absolute lockdown.

Michigan is not a top talent state, but I did find it interesting that 29 players signed with Power 5 programs, but only three with the Wolverines, the same number as 2015. The Wolverines signed twice that many from New Jersey. Many assume that Michigan will dominate Michigan State, but the Wolverines' hyper-national approach should allow for the Spartans to continue to sign top local talents.

Thirteen of the 14 blue chip talents in North Carolina left the state, which is a bit surprising given that the Tar Heels did make the ACC Championship. Eight went to ACC schools (four to Clemson, three to Florida State), plus one to Notre Dame, perhaps an example of its pseudo-ACC membership via scheduling agreement.


If you're a recent signup or missed a day, that's okay. I link my previous Crootletters in this section.

I broke down how elite programs recruit offensive linemen.

LSU stole Auburn's best recruiter, who also happens to be one of the most beloved AU players of all time.

This read on the challenges of recruiting at Penn State and how James Franklin and his staff are trying to overcome is well worth your time.

I discussed how winning early in a head coaching tenure can hurt recruiting due to perception of trajectory.

2016's running back recruit crop was not very good. 2017's is very promising.