Mapping Every College Football Player’s Hometown

With the college football season set to kick off in less than a month, the excitement surrounding the 2016 season is palpable. Fall practices are in full swing around the country and thousands of players are competing to for their spot at the top of the depth chart.

Since there is still a few weeks before the games begin, we were curious to see what exactly those rosters are made up of and where the players came from. Compiling data on all 13,738 players set to be on the upcoming 2016 FBS rosters, we mapped out each player’s hometown and compiled them into a single interactive map below.

Note:  To turn views for conferences on/off, click the icon in the top left corner and check/uncheck the conferences you want to view. To expand map for a larger view, click the icon in the top right corner. Click on any school logo to see player details.

Recruiting Heat Map by Conference

When looking at heat maps for where each major conference recruits from, it’s easy to see that teams focus on getting players from their region in attempt to keep talent “close to home.” There are a few exceptions as all the major conference look like they do a good amount of recruiting in the areas in and around Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta. Click on an individual conference heat map to expand.

Distance from Player’s Hometown to College

Going even further, we calculated the distance from each player’s hometown to the college they are attending in order to see which schools produce the most local talent. Not surprisingly University of Hawaii topped the list when it came to furthest average distance from hometown to college, but beyond that, the numbers were very interesting. The next four teams on the list were all Pac-12 schools and the three after that were the service academies. Far and away, USF recruits the most local talent since, on average, players only traveled 128 miles to attend school. Across the entire FBS, players comes from an average of 446 miles away to attend school.

Below the same data is charted out, showing the varying recruiting radiuses for each team.

What States Produce the Most Talent?

Digging into the talent that each state produces, we discovered that over one third of all FBS football players hail from either Texas, Florida, or California. Football has never been more popular throughout the county, but these three traditional hotbeds still produce the overwhelming majority of top tier talent.