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Tennessee's So-Called Recruiting Disadvantage....
Posted: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 7:26 PM
by Josh
• Permalink
We all know that Tennessee doesn't produce a ton of in state talent. Ever wonder why? Most of the time, when the so-called experts attempt to explain it, they say that states with bigger populations produce more talent and Tennessee just isn't big enough. Well, I've done some research and my findings indicate that this isn't entirely true. In fact, there are several states smaller than Tennessee that produce much more talent. I don't know if people just want to think Tennessee is a small state with a small town way of life, but the truth is, Tennessee is the 16th most populous state in the country. It has 3 cities with a metro population over 1 million. Believe it or not, the Knoxville CSA has a population well over 1 million.

Now before I present the data, let me just say that I think in state talent is very overrated when it comes to program success. Georgia has much more in state talent than Tennessee, yet the Vols have a much more prestigious history. Oklahoma produces similar talent to Tennessee in state, and like Tennessee, they are a top 10 all time program. Nebraska produces far less in state talent than Tennessee, yet they are a top 5 all time program. New Jersey produces much more in state talent than Tennessee, yet Rutgers has had a very lack luster program over the years. Anyway, here is the data and you can judge for yourself why Tennessee lacks compared to other states in in state talent. I included every state in the South as well as most of the biggest states and Oklahoma and Nebraska since they are similar to Tennessee as far as being elite programs without huge talent bases.

Division 1 players by state from maxpreps.com and based on the 2010 class.
State population figures from census.gov
Total populations are based on 2009 estimates and % of African-Americans are based on 2008 estimates.

National Percent African-American-12.8%

Alabama
Division 1 scholarships- 90
Population- 4,708,708
Percent African-American- 26.4%

Arkansas
24
2,889,450
15.8%

California
323
36,961,664
6.7%

Florida
355
18,537,969
15.9%

Georgia
182
9,829,211
30%

Kentucky
14
4,314,113
7.7%

Louisiana
90
4,492,076
32%

Mississippi
62
2,951,996
37.2%

Nebraska
6
1,796,619
4.5%

New Jersey
59
8,707,739
14.5%

New York
28
19,541,453
17.3%

North Carolina
57
9,380,884
21.6%

Ohio
172
11,542,645
12%

Oklahoma
42
3,687,050
8%

Pennsylvania
75
12,604,767
10.8%

South Carolina
49
4,561,242
28.5%

Tennessee
38
6,296,254
16.8%

Texas
408
24,782,302
11.9%

Virginia
84
7,882,590
19.9%

In most cases there seems to be an explaination. States with relatively low populations can produce a lot of Division 1 talent if they have a relatively high percentage of African-Americans. States with a relatively low percentage of African-Americans can still produce a lot of Division 1 talent as long as they have a large overall population to offset it. I did observe 2 anomalies that I though were interesting.

Oklahoma produced 4 more Division 1 players than Tennessee, yet they have about half the total population and only 8% African-Americans.

New York produced 10 fewer Division 1 players than Tennessee, yet their total population is 3 times that of Tennessee.

Draw from these numbers what you will, but please stop saying our lack of talent is because of our lack of population. It's just not true.

Tennessee's African-American percentage of 16.8 is low compared to the rest of the South, but it is still above the national average. Virginia has a similar percentage of African-Americans and about 1.5 million more people, yet they produce more than twice as many Division 1 players as Tennessee. Maybe our talent isn't getting coached as well in middle school. Maybe there aren't enough good high school coaches in Tennessee. But it's not our lack of population.

Calhoun's Atop Bearden Hill
6515 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN
865.673.3377

Calhoun's on the River
400 Neyland Drive
Knoxville, TN
865.673.3355

Calhoun's at Pellissippi Parkway
10020 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN
865.673.3444



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