10 College Football Teams Who Must Get Better at in-State Recruiting
The first rule of thumb in recruiting for a program is to lock down its state. Its coaching staff must establish a fence around the borders of its state to let recruits know they're not getting out and to let other programs know they're not getting in.
Some schools have coaching staffs who understand this, while some schools have coaching staffs who simply do not. A pair of Pac-12 schools in the same state have the same problem, while a school in Virginia routinely lets too much elite talent get away.
Plus, another program allows its top in-state targets to often walk off the island.
In 2014, there were 30 players ranked in Washington by 247Sports. Washington State signed two of them.
The Cougars must get better at poaching some of their state's top talent, because they're already behind archnemesis Washington in the Pac-12 pecking order. Right now, the sentiment with recruiting in the state of Washington among most top prospects is to sign with U-Dub or leave the state altogether.
WSU needs to change that.
The state of Nevada produces several solid prospects each year, and UNLV essentially signs none of them.
Plus, past players such as Xavier Grimble (USC), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma/Dallas Cowboys) and Steven Jackson (Oregon State/Atlanta Falcons) have all bolted Nevada for other schools on UNLV's watch.
Rival Kentucky, however, signed four of the top five recruits from the Bluegrass State. Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino needs to do something fast, because Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is painting the state's recruiting trail blue and funneling all of its top talent to Lexington.
Not one of those 24 recruits signed with Illinois, and that includes 5-star linebacker Clifton Garrett (LSU), 4-star linebacker Nyles Morgan (Notre Dame) and 4-star offensive tackle Jamarco Jones (Ohio State).
The state of Illinois is a bit underrated when it comes to producing football recruits, but the Illini don't really benefit from it.
Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre had three 4-star prospects in his state in 2014. Running backs Christian McCaffrey and Nathan Starks signed with Stanford and UCLA, respectively, while athlete Kalen Ballage chose Arizona State.
The 2014 recruiting class in Virginia was one of the best the state had ever seen. It featured a trio of 5-star prospects in defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, safety Quin Blanding and defensive tackle Andrew Brown.
None of them signed with Virginia Tech. The Hokies also failed to sign any of the state's 5-star prospects in 2013. Head coach Frank Beamer is a good one, but he does have problems keeping his state's top recruits home.
Hawaii let Manti Te'o get away in 2009. It didn't sign any of the state's top five recruits in 2010. The Warriors let the best eight recruits get off the island in 2011, while 4-star defensive ends DeForest Buckner and Luke Kaumatule signed with Oregon and Stanford, respectively, in 2012.
Breiden Fehoko, a 4-star defensive tackle, has already committed to Texas Tech. It's clear to see Hawaii has a history of not being great at in-state recruiting.
Rutgers' in-state recruiting issues are already starting to show in the 2015 class. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the best player in New Jersey, but the 5-star cornerback has already pledged to Alabama.
Don't forget linebacker Brian Cushing ditched Rutgers for USC in 2005, so the in-state recruiting problems in Piscataway did not just start.
Arizona and Arizona State
It's not too tough to go into Arizona and land a good prospect. That is a problem for Arizona and Arizona State.
UCLA took the state's best player in 2013 in defensive back Priest Willis. Kyle Allen, a 5-star quarterback in 2014, signed with Texas A&M. In the same year, 4-star recruits such as offensive tackle Casey Tucker, receiver Jalen Brown and receiver/tight end Mark Andrews all signed with out-of-state programs.
It would be a huge shock if Christian Kirk, a 4-star receiver and the best player in Arizona for 2015, signed with either the Wildcats or the Sun Devils.
Kevin Stewart of ASUDevils.com (subscription required) wrote on March 19: "Kirk is the top-ranked prospect in Arizona this year and one of the top overall prospects in the West. He has ASU under consideration but will be difficult for it to haul in given his national stature."