LOOK: This is how FBS college football players break down by hometown

Where do 2016 college football players come from? Jake Sharpless shows us on the blog Rukkus, which is filled with some cool, interactive maps that paint a picture of college football's geography entering this season.


Sharpless compiled the hometowns for all of the nearly 14,000 players on 2016 Football Bowl Subdivision rosters. Then, he charted them using Google Maps. Some of the findings and my observations:

  • The average Pac-12 player comes from 836 miles away, almost double that of any other Power Five conference. This speaks to one of the pains of being in the Pac-12: It's not close to lots of talent compared to other major conferences. The Big Ten (424 miles) has the next farthest hometown distance in the Power Five. Life is good for the SEC (337 miles), which can pick and choose from its backyard.
  • Players at South Florida have the shortest average distance from their hometown to college (129 miles). The next closest: Louisiana Tech (168 miles), Mississippi State (171 miles), Troy (173 miles) and Charlotte (180 miles). It's interesting to note how different the recruiting styles are for the two major programs in Mississippi. While Mississippi State players are 171 miles from home, Ole Miss players are 494 miles away (the highest by any SEC public university). Hugh Freeze's program is under NCAA investigation for recruiting violations.
  • Not surprisingly, the farthest average distance from hometown to college is Hawaii (1,811 miles). The next farthest: Stanford (1,243 miles), Washington State (1,189 miles), Oregon (1,047 miles), Army (1,045 miles) and Navy (1,002 miles). Stanford wants to recruit around the country because of its academic profile. Oregon is in a remote location but, thanks to Nike and Chip Kelly, has succeeded by recruiting nationally. Washington State is just stuck in the middle of nowhere and almost five hours away from Seattle.
  • The average FBS player is 446 miles away from his hometown. Six of the first eight College Football Playoff teams currently have players below the FBS average: Clemson (263 miles), Michigan State (283 miles), Ohio State (367 miles), Alabama (381 miles; two CFP trips) and Florida State (403 miles). The CFP outliers are Oklahoma (515 miles) and Oregon (1,047 miles).
  • Why do some Big 12 schools not want Houston in their league? The Cougars enjoy the eighth-shortest average distance from hometown to school (185 miles) and they live in Texas, which produced a national-high 13.4 percent of the FBS players in 2016. Home cooking has been very good for Houston lately without the Big 12's exposure and money.
  • Why should the Big 12 strongly consider Houston if it expands? Check out the SEC heat map and look at the league's invasion into eastern and central Texas. When Texas A&M joined the SEC, it opened the doors for other SEC schools to take advantage of Texas talent.
  • Thirty-five percent of all FBS players come from Texas, Florida or California. The Big Ten is the only Power Five conference without a school in one of those states, increasing the need for a coach like Jim Harbaugh to recruit nationally. Vermont is the only state without an FBS homegrown player.
  • Harbaugh didn't just randomly schedule a Michigan satellite camp in American Samoa before it was canceled due to concerns about the Zika virus. There are more FBS players from American Samoa (20) than combined from Vermont, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire and Montana. South Dakota, Delaware and Wyoming also trail American Samoa in FBS players.
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jon Solomon is CBS Sports's national college football writer. A former Alabama resident, he now lives in Maryland and also writes extensively on NCAA topics. Jon previously worked at The Birmingham News,... Full Bio

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