The College Football Playoff brings four teams that come from different conferences, and also recruit in very different ways. Ohio State and Florida State rely on talent much closer to home. Alabama do very well everywhere, while Oregon have to mostly go out of state to get their best player.
Oregon lead the Air-Mile index indicated in these maps and thought of by John Nelson. While they do recruit well inside the state, football talent isn’t exactly plentiful there. Despite a lot of competition inside California, Oregon go to Los Angeles and the Bay Area for most of their talent, but in general have to recruit from all over the place.
While their recruiting rankings don’t usually show up among the top in the nation (unlike Alabama, FSU and Ohio State), Oregon are a bit more specific and pull towards certain needs. Just think of Marcus Mariota from Hawai’i, who was very low rated by national ranking systems when he was brought to Eugene, but his rise paved the way for Darron Thomas to leave early, with some saying he knew what was waiting behind him.
The clash between Alabama and Ohio State brings forth the two best recruiters in the nation. As the map shows, Alabama do concentrate on SEC country with a lot young kids coming from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, but Saban’s tentacles stretch to the East, into Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania as well.
Ohio State rule the Midwest, but Urban Meyer makes it possible for them to do pretty well down in SEC country as well. Still, the focus of his recruiting relies on Ohio and other nearby states, where it’s very difficult to compete with the Buckeyes.
Florida State recruit in the most talented high-school football grazing grounds, alongside California and Texas. In there, they have to compete with Florida and Miami for the top talents, but Florida State do pretty well when moving up the coast to the Northeast, recruiting quite a lot out of DC, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. None of their recruits come from a more Western spot than Texas.