Which Big 12 States Produce More All-Big 12 Talent?

I thought this would be interesting. Even if it’s not dispositive I think the numbers do at the very least go along with some well known discussion that happens within the football community – namely that Texas has become more known for offensive players.

I counted up the total percentage of Big 12 players originating from HS programs in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and compared that to the population percentage of each state represented in the Big 12 (Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Iowa St, Kansas).


The total population of Big 12 states = 37.69 million

Texas population = 26.06 million which is 69% of the total population of the Big 12 states

Oklahoma population = 3.815 million which is about 10% of the total population of the Big 12 states

Kansas population = 2.886 million which is about 7.7% of the total population of the Big 12 states

Iowa population = 3.074 million which is about 8.2% of the total population of the Big 12 states

West Virginia = 1.855 million which is about 4.9% of the total population of the Big 12 states


Total number of 1st and 2nd team offensive players (not counting any returners/special teams) = 26

Total number of Big 12 offensive players that hail from a Texas HS football program = 15/26 (58%)

Total number of Big 12 offensive players that hail from an Oklahoma HS football program = 4/26 (15%)

Total number of Big 12 offensive players that hail from a Kansas HS football program = 2/26 (8%)


Total number of 1st and 2nd team defensive players = 26

Total number of Big 12 defensive players that hail from a Texas HS football program = 10/26 (38%)

Total number of Big 12 defensive players that hail from an Oklahoma HS football program = 5/26 (19%)

Total number of Big 12 defensive players that hail from a Kansas HS football program = 3/26 (12%)


 % of the total pop. of Big 12 territory% of All Conf. Defensive Players% of All Conf. Offensive Players
West Virginia4.90%0%0%

On a somewhat related note, I’ve always been an advocate of conference expansion that would open up recruiting territory. Putting this post together only reminded me just how small the Big 12 recruiting territory is and certainly how small the unimpeded recruiting territory is. Iowa and West Virginia produce very little if any talent. And while Kansas might produce a few kids – it still isn’t much and it isn’t as though they statistically produce a large number per capita the way a state like Oklahoma does.

Fortunately, our coaches have had the vision to recruit beyond Texas. Coach Montgomery was the main recruiter for Joseph Paul and has been the primary recruiter for Courtney Garnett. Coach Montgomery also recruited Dwayne Orso. Coach Bobby Jack Wright has been to Miami twice in the past couple months alone and plans on going again in the next week or two. And we’re all familiar with the efforts that have been made to continue getting talent out of California.

While a lot of people may have been critical of this strategy early on, it seems clear that our coaches were ahead of the curve. Because of some friendships I have, I’m pretty familiar with Miami area recruiting so I’ll use it as an example. In Miami there is only one BCS school in the area. Miami has a ton of talent but it’s isolated. Even getting up to the in-state schools like Florida and Florida State is a flight for Miami kids. The flight might not be as long as a flight to Norman but it’s a flight nonetheless. Another quality about Miami is that Miami kids tend to want to go where Miami players are. Coach Strong built an incredible pipeline to the city of Miami. I know players from there felt “the ville” was appealing, in part, because there were already so many Miami HS players at Louisville. This is another reason I believe Juwan Dowels is an important addition to our recruiting class. If you want explosive DBs and LBs, Miami is full of them.

I have been told that the desire to expand our recruiting territory was deliberate. I know a lot of folks believe it’s because we just couldn’t get Texas kids. But that isn’t the whole story. Remember, offering a kid isn’t the same as recruiting a kid.


  • soonerinks

    Very interesting read. In my opinion, Texas produces very talented skill players but in the last 5/7 years there has been a real noticeable drop off in DL, LB,OL and we used to make a living getting these positional players out of Texas. In the last couple of years, seems we have started looking elsewhere for these positions. Could be wrong, but that is what it appears to me.

    • dahldennsull

      Don’t think you are wrong at all. Texas is one of the most prominent states to focus on the 7 v 7 tournaments, and more and more kids in that state are wanting to play skill positions that are involved in this. I compare the 7 v 7 circuit to the AAU for basketball, albeit at earlier stages. You start hearing stories about these handlers, and how it diminishes a focus on certain skills that translate to any level and any scheme. Lots of kids are spending more time on flash skills like Centers and power forwards trying to shoot 3’s all game and developing no post game. Well now you have every football player wanting to score all the touchdowns as a 5’10 slot receiver, instead of using their quickness and speed to be an NFL corner/safety. Also, with spread out attacks, the development of OL and DL falters too.

  • Indy_sooner

    Wow. This write up sheds a different picture! The parity in the class will pay dividends. Linemen from Ohio, Miss. and La, skill players from Ca, Al and Tx, dbs from Fl. Etc all these places traditionally produce very good talent and not relying on any one state balances out drop off in production

    • ctsooner

      Indy, I completely agree. I still want Dowels after watching more film. Of all the DB’s JY told me to watch again and I did. Dowels may get us into the Miami area, however he’s also got star written all over him. I know you take the first to say yes, but make sure those DB’s are Parker and Dowel. Garnett is already a Sooner, so we are set at DT. Go get Quick (most probably a Sooner) and have the Cali kids work HARD on Adore, lol….(you never know, however longest of long shots).

      Oh, thanks K…..

      • Sonny Schovanec

        agree ct. I really like the Dowels kid. Human highlight reel. Explosive playmaker.

      • Indy_sooner

        Agreed even though at this point, I am more concerned with landing Parker than Adoree. Last year, I had Byrd as my favorite and Parker is this year’s. I just think we have the luxury of being very picky at WR, something you cannot say for the backfield and Parker is just a very rare beast. Either way, one gets a feeling that we will put ourselves at a position in future to be able to close on anybody anywhere in the country…something you don’t get from just recruiting Tx.

  • red clay

    Maybe with a different AD down in the people’s republik of austin we can finally re-build the Big XII brand.

    Back in the day, the old Big 8 routinely had 3 teams finish in the AP top ten. But that was before the Big XII and the presence of a certain AD on the wrong side of the Red River to bungle the conference brand name. That stumbling block is gone. Time will tell if his replacement has any sense.

    It is up to SoonerNation to re-build the Big XII and bring in suitable conference re-alignments, acquire some hot property teams. We are more than able.

  • Gary Jackson

    Striker is from Fla. That has to help some.

    • Jordan Esco

      And Darlington, Finch, Thomas are all also from Florida (so was Gary Simon before he transferred, fwiw).

      Obviously OU’s roster is never going to be predominantly from the state of Fla, but if you can steal a couple of the top kids from there every year that’s a success and how you establish a consistent pipeline (like they’ve done w/ Cali).

  • JJsooner1

    Super K, This is a very good slant on recruiting. Nice work. Stats seldom lie. I like our efforts in Florida and Cali. Nevada has given us some good players as well.

    Here’s a question for you: With the advent of the spread, are D-Linemen requirements changing when we recruit them? You still need the bulk, but is speed and quickness even more important now than ever?

  • Leroy Jenkins

    I at first was critical of OU’s recruiting in Cali, mostly because I live in Texas and know there’s some great players down here. I was wrong, and this further proves that. You’re totally right- OU has been “ahead of the curve” for a while now.

    A buddy and I talked after the Fiesta Bowl concerning possible Big XII expansion. I would love for the Big XII to add UCF, and our recruiting would get a boost from that, too. We couldn’t think of the 2nd team to add: I said Houston, he said BYU or Boise State. I think the Big XII should expand, and if it does will continue to boost OU’s recruiting efforts.

    • Jordan Esco

      I’m for expanding or I think it’s simply inevitable this conference will fall apart, but I’m also not expanding just for the sake of expanding. Even those programs you’ve mentioned don’t really appeal to me.

      They REALLY blew it when they didn’t get Louisville.

      • Leroy Jenkins

        Oh I totally agree about Louisville. They’ve got great sports programs and would have been tremendous in the Big XII. Why does UCF not appeal to you? They’re 8th in student enrollment in the nation, and a program on the rise. If we had to take one, I’d think that would be near the top.

        And out of the others, BYU would be ideal, even though it likely won’t happen. What teams would you consider?

        • Indy_sooner

          They have a huge enrollment, but I would think there is simply not a big fanbase in Fl in addition to not travelling well. They had issues selling bowl game ticket allotments (but then again, so did Baylor)
          BYU, Louisville and FSU would have been great additions…esp get Louisville and their basketball program.
          At this point, it wold probably be easier to have Nebraska back?

      • JJsooner1

        So is Louisville completely off the table? Commitments are a fickle thing nowadays. I felt last summer that they were the best fit for us and Arkansas was worth going after. Tit for tat sort of. They got Mizzou and A&M. Seems fair to me and Ark is a better fit in the Big 12 than the SEC IMO.

  • Sonny Schovanec

    Being around it a little bit HS football in Kansas, Oklahoma, & Texas. Oklahoma High School football is a good brand. Oklahoma over the years has put out good players. This is a banner year for D1 kids in OK. There are a lot of schools who make a living in our state. Mizzou had three starters from OK this year, KState a few, Iowa State has had success with Okie kids. Oregon State and Wash St. recruits Oklahoma kids hard. When I was around it Wyoming recruited Okie kids hard.

    • Sonny Schovanec

      Considering population, Obviously FL, Cali, & Texass put out more in share numbers but as far as brand Oklahoma HS coaches do a very solid job.

  • Atlantasooner

    Looking at our current recruiting class/ideal recruiting class
    OK kids: 3 committed, 5 in ideal class
    Tx kids: 7 committed
    Cal/Zona: 5 committed, 6 in ideal class (ignoring Ijalana/Bond)
    SEC Land: 3 committed, 6 in ideal class
    Other regions: 1 committed, 3 in ideal class

  • Super Keith

    Texas will (and should) always remain OU’s first choice for out of state talent, but Barry Switzer had it right when he reached out to non-traditional-pipeline states for talent. There are going to be years when a specific state’s talent is down (regardless of size), so the key is to have connections to other athlete-rich states. Something Stoops has done a very good job of in recent years.

  • Sooner Ray

    When you are OU, the nation becomes your recruiting territory. I think we should always go after the best talent regardless of where that may be, and new pipelines could be opened every year.