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February 14, 2013

Just Joshin': Numbers Say Sooners Love Oklahoma

Just Joshin' is a commentary article written by SoonerScoop.com recruiting editor Josh McCuistion. It's a lighthearted look at any topic possible relating to Oklahoma athletics.

"Oklahoma doesn't care about it's own state's prospects, they are secondary to Texas kids."

It's not always that exact quote but it's an idea that I hear all the time from coaches, parents, and even the in-state players themselves. For whatever reason, right or wrong, a perception has grown that Oklahoma doesn't care about it's own state's prospects.

It's not my role to get involved in recruiting for a school - Oklahoma or otherwise. But I am interested in the constant conversation of perception vs. reality. With that in mind I've always wondered if the Sooner staff brought up their in-state numbers compared to that of their contemporaries?

The reality is, and it's one I'd bring up if I were the Sooner coaches - as I'm sure I'm not the only one that hears these kinds of 'allegations' - is 'schools from around the country make these offers to other places, as we do, knowing that they won't pick up a commitment and they can later say 'we were involved early' for a player they decide they really like. '

On the other hand, if they decide that they offered a player they aren't as high on after further evaluation, they simply back off and there are no hard feelings about a school from across the country losing touch with a player they were fairly unlikely to land. The same process would hold true for a player they realized they weren't ever going to sign anyway, and it gives that school the availability to say 'oh we just found guys we liked better' - true or not, becomes seemingly irrelevant. Again, perception becomes reality.

But again, who is right and who is wrong - does Oklahoma overlook in-state prospects or do they follow a pattern that most of the country employs?

At the current moment Oklahoma has 73 scholarship offers out for the class of 2014, and offered, or did offer, six in-state prospects. So basically, eight-percent of Oklahoma's offer list is currently made of Oklahoma prospects.

First we'll start with the control, and Oklahoma's arch nemesis in all things, Texas.

The Longhorns currently have 37 scholarship offers out with 24 of those offers to players from their own state, or 65-percent.

Obviously those numbers are going to be more than a bit misleading with a state that produces roughly eight times the annual division one prospects that Oklahoma does. So while it's not percent match, if you multiply that eight percent of Oklahoma's offers by eight, guess where you're sitting at?

64-percent.

We'll move on to a few others, first other programs like Texas - huge in-state recruiting bases and we'll continue to work with that, again admittedly rudimentary, number for Oklahoma of 64-percent.

USC has offered 45 2014 prospects with eight offers in-state, a shocking total of 18-percent for a state that produces the third most division one prospects of any state in the country.

Georgia has also offered 45 2014 prospects at the moment but has a much larger in-state flavor with 21 of those prospects from the Peach State. That number comes out to 47-percent of their current outstanding offers.

Now obviously both Georgia and USC's in-state crops fall a bit short of Texas so if that is the gold standard, as the Lone Star State had more division one signees in 2011 than any other state, then you have to bump them a few percentage points. But the reality is that the situation still stands - Oklahoma is doing more in-state than most realize.

Now we'll move on to more direct comparisons to Oklahoma where little percentage adjustment is required. For example, South Carolina and Oklahoma both saw their in-state crops in 2011 produce 44 FBS players while Pennsylvania produced 60.

Penn State now has 43 offers out in the class of 2014 with only three coming from the in-state crop, a total good for seven percent. Even without the adjustment, this would put Oklahoma in front of the Nittany Lions. And it also forgets that with Penn State's current lot in recruiting they are forced to do more work and make more offers - which would seem to lend interest in offering kids who are closer to home and perhaps more open to Penn State's pitch.

In the state of South Carolina there are two big-time programs, but we'll focus on one of Bob Stoops's mentors, Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks.

Spurrier and his bunch have made a whopping 96 offers already to the class that will sign on Feb. 5, 2014. Of those 96 offers, 12 hail from within state lines. A total good for?

You guessed it, eight percent, the exact same total as Oklahoma - at least to a rounded number.

Now that I've said all this you've got to keep in mind that it's a historic year for Oklahoma in-state recruiting with six players in The Rivals250 - the most in the history of the ranking.

But still, the numbers just don't hold up that Oklahoma prospects are overlooked as some like to claim. Sure there are players that are missed on, notably Justin Blackmon among others but at the same time Oklahoma has offered prospects that others passed on - so it's hard to argue that they've not at least expressed interest in Oklahoma prospects at a clip that is comparable to their peers.

Others will say the offers aren't the issue so much as the follow up and dogged pursuit of in-state prospects but the bottom line is that Oklahoma has far from ignored the talent within their own borders.

"Oklahoma doesn't care about it's own state's prospects, they are secondary to Texas kids."

Looking at the numbers, that just doesn't hold up - but perception becomes reality when perception isn't combated with reality.

Now if we could just get Bob Stoops to use post game press conferences as an ode to Oklahoma high school coaches perhaps a glowing relationship can emerge.

Note: RivalsHigh's Feb. 7, 2011 article by Dallas Jackson was a key piece of this column, take a look at the numbers he provided here.



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