Syracuse Football By the Numbers: Expansion of the Otto-Man Empire

Now that I've given the great state of NY its due, it's time to look outward and onward. Next up, I'm looking at the out of state players. A couple things first off:

- Out of state players make up the majority of every single SU football roster in this sample. Not even the Great Wall of GRob could change that.

- It's impossible to build a database that is both 100% complete and 100% accurate without investing MASSIVE amounts of time and effort. Even isn't 100% accurate. This study incorporates several sources, and errs on the side of completeness.

- This discusssion focuses on the same 25 year sample as the previous discussion involving NY players.



Myth #2: New Jersey holds the most vital out-of-state recruiting grounds to Syracuse Football.

I'm sure you've heard this myth reworded in many forms over the years, and from multiple sources. Truth is, on it's best day, this myth is only about 25% true, but I even believed it at one point in my younger and more impressionable days.

- Coach P relied heaviest on NJ players. His average number (14.4) of NJ players  was not only the highest in this sample and near double of any other coaches average, but also appears to be the highest when compared to the entire history of Syracuse Football.

- 11 NJ players were drafted by the NFL during this sample, the highest number of any state other than NY. 8 of them were recruited by and played their entire Syracuse career for Coach P.

- The average draft position of those 11 is 145, compared to 103 for PA and 154 for FL.

 - Coach Mac had 10 NJ players on the roster on the undefeated 1987 team. One below the average (11) for this sample.

- The ratio of NY to NJ players was nearly 5:1 in 1991. That ratio was exactly 1:1 in 1996, through an equal decline number of NY players and equal increase in NJ players.



- 1999 was the high mark of NJ players, with 21. Syracuse went 7-5 that season. This season included that 62-0 obliteration @ Virginia Tech, the worst loss in Syracuse history since 1912.

- 2000 was the second highest number of NJ players, with 19. Syracuse went a thoroughly mediocre 6-5 that season.

- 1994-2003 saw an above average number of NJ players each year, and were the only years in this sample that saw an above average number of NJ players. Syracuse was also consistently good, but also consistently declined into mediocrity towards the end of this mini-sample. Compare that to 1992, when they finished ranked #6 in the nation.



- In 2006 NJ players on the roster bottomed out at 3. This represented Greggers "best" season's work at 4-8.

- The second lowest number of NJ players on the roster was 6 in 1989 and 1991. Those teams went 8-4 and 10-2, respectively.

- HCDM enters the year with 9 NJ players, one less than the average for the best seasons.

Myth #3: There's too many football programs and not enough local talent for everyone to maintain successful football programs in the northeast.

This I actually agree with. Partially. As we know, Syracuse's dominance and win percentage also declined drastically during this timeframe, while UConn and Rutgers rose from utter nothingness and disgrace to form mediocre-to-good programs during the latter half of this sample. BC maintained it's usual historic level of ambiguity as a football program.

- The number of players from North of the Mason-Dixon line started at 81 in 1987, down to 60 on the 2011 roster. It bottomed out at 50 in 2009.

- The states of CT and MA accounted for an approx. 13 players (avg) during the Coach Mac years, all the way down to 2 (avg) during the HCDM years.

- Of the 5 best teams during this sample (1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 2001), the average number of players from each state were as follows: PA (14), NJ  (10), FL (9), MA (7), CT (6), MD (3), TX (3) and OH (2).

- Of the 6 worst teams during this sample (2002, 2005-2009), the average number of out of state players came from PA (13), MD (11), NJ  (8),  FL (7), VA (7), CT (3), TX (3), CA (3), DC (3) and OH (2)

- HCDM also enters 2011 that either set or tied high mark of players from each of the following hotbed states: FL (14 - tie), GA (5) and CA (7).




- The states with the best ratios of total number of players to total number of NFL draft players were NH and IL. SU drew just a few players from each state TOTAL, but managed to squeeze 1 NFL draftee player from each (Paul Frase from NH and some guy named McNabb from IL).

- The next best ratios came from NY (roughly 6:1), but after that from NJ, OH and MA, in that order (roughly 7:1). The next group was FL, CT, MD, PA and DC. These 4 states plus DC were also very close, hovering around 10:1.



- The worst seasons featured a disproportionately high number of players from MD anc VA. On that note, I guess it's no suprise that Greggers was enamored with those states.

- Not to say their isn't quality talent from the Mid-Atlantic: 4 players from MD and VA (2 a piece) are at the top of the depth chart at their position in 2011. Syracuse also has had 3 players from MD drafted in the NFL during this sample. They were drafted in 2006, 2007 and 2009.


- Coach Mac's final (and best) seasons showed a balanced recruiting effort across the Northeast, the only significant area of emphasis outside of this was FL.

- NJ is home to some fine players, there's no doubt of that. But numbers wise, you'd have to split hairs over which is truly the most vital to Syracuse amongst PA, NJ and FL (which is probably why this is such a hotly debated subject in some circles of Syracuse fans).  Not to mention the lesser recruited/smaller states that produced high ratios of NFL draftees for Syracuse.

- Truth is no one state in this discussion has a great enough supply of talent to depend on entirely. But it's no surprise that Coach P nearly doubled the number of players from the Garden State by 1993 and TRIPLING them by 1996 (Tying back to the previous discussion, he effectively sacrificed NY players for NJ players 1-for-1 during this time). There really wasn't as much competition back then.

- This may be leaning toward the opinion grey area, but as a fan I have no problem with the above Coach P stategy. Minus the part about how he demonstrated that his teams didn't get better as he became more reliant on NJ, they got worse . And when his pipeline of NJ recruits dried up, he didn't have a stable base of NY players to fall back on.

- There were a less-than-average number of NJ  players on the roster during the worst seasons, but the same is true for every other northeastern state, other than PA, which stood pat. Same is also true for FL.

- 9 to14 each seems to be the target range for NJ, PA, and FL players, that was the average during the 5 best seasons. Which means bringing in 2 to 4 players per season from each of those states to maintain that level.

- CT and MA appear to be highly underrated recruiting grounds, in terms of quality of they players they have provided for SU specifically, and who is getting those players now.

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- As discussed before, HCDM is still unproven as a recruiter. But as he trends away from GRE numbers, he is trending towards Coach Mac and the "best seasons" average for out of state recruits. This really isn't  proof of anything, other than he probably did more than a little homework himself on this subject.


That all being said, my head is hurting from all these numbers. And some of them are quite depressing, when you recall how good SU once was. 

I still have one more fanpost left, and I think it's by far the most fascinating and actually, it's uplifting and incorporates a lot of pre-1987 data. I even have some fancy graphs to help spice things up! So if you've made it this far, don't worry, the best is yet to come

Let me know what you think...I plan to keep tweaking this database as we move forward, so please feel free to provide input. Good or bad.

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