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State Of The (Student) Union: Determining The Best CFB State

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Maryland's football team has been anything but impressive of late, but the state produces a surprising number of FBS players. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images.
Maryland's football team has been anything but impressive of late, but the state produces a surprising number of FBS players. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images.

Texas. California. Florida. Not too many surprises at the top of the college football supply chain. Those three states account for 36 percent of the more than 11,000 BCS athletes.

But they can’t supply all of the nation’s talent. Where low population certainly hurts many states, others capitalize on their density. These are the states that don’t necessarily come to mind right away when asked to rattle off the nation’s powerhouses.

Yet, these are the states with a larger talent pool both at home and abroad:

5. MARYLAND

Roster Vitals: 41 percent in-state, 127 exports

Schools: Maryland

The Virginia-to-New Jersey corridor is as densely populated by football talent as it is with people and traffic cones. The Old Line State is quite adept at churning out new talent.

Maryland might only have one school, but it makes the most of that talent, building a roster with 41 percent of its players from the state. Its retention rate rivals that of Nebraska, but where Maryland trumps the football-laden Cornhusker state is in the amount of players they export. Only 10 states export more players than the 127 Maryland claims. That’s more than traditionally-strong states Michigan and Tennessee, to name a few.

The wins have been scarce with four losing seasons in the last six years, but a coaching transition could be to blame. If Randy Edsall is looking to cement his reputation, he might want to lure as much homegrown talent as he can to College Park.

4. PENNSYLVANIA

Roster Vitals: 48 percent retention, 179 exports

Schools: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple

The state of Pennsylvania has always been regarded as a strong football state. Recent history in University Park, however, has cast a pall over the entire state. Despite the transgressions of a small, small minority that have sullied the state’s name, football continues to thrive in the Keystone State.

Close to half of the players at Pennsylvania’s three schools are in-state talent, led by Pittsburgh’s 58-percent Pennsylvanian roster makeup. That’s good enough for 12th in the nation. Couple that with the 179 Pennsylvanians playing outside of the state (seventh-best in the nation), and the Quaker State becomes a viable hotbed of football talent.

3. NEW JERSEY

Roster Vitals: 53 percent retention, 153 exports

Schools: Rutgers

New Jersey might be small in size, but the Garden State is big on growing football talent.

New Jersey is out-populated by its neighbor New York by roughly 11 million people. Yet, New Jersey out-exports them. New Jersey’s 153 exported players lands the one-school state at ninth overall, ahead of New York’s 88 playing outside of its borders. Rutgers is able to keep New Jersey residents for 53 percent of its roster. That ties New Jersey with Ohio in terms of in-state retention and leaves them looking up at the likes of California, Florida, Georgia and Texas.