football Edit

Raiding the state: Florida

Mark Pszonak contributed to this story.

Out-of-state recruiting is becoming more important in today’s world of college football and we are seeing more schools march into enemy territory and pull top prospects away with regularity. This week, we take a look at five of the biggest talent-producing states in recruiting and what schools have done the best job raiding them since 2012. Here is a look at Florida.

Note: None of these lists include JUCO or Prep School prospects and focuses on four- and five-star prospects.

STATE SERIES: Monday: Ohio | Tuesday: Georgia | Today: Florida | Thursday: California | Friday: Texas

Stealing some Sunshine
Team Four- and Five-Stars since 2012





Ohio State







It should come as no surprise that Alabama recruits Florida successfully, but the Tide really hit the Sunshine State hard during the class of 2017 with seven elite additions. While it should be interesting see how players such as Alex Leatherwood, Jerry Jeudy and Vandarius Cowan develop in the coming years from this class, the Tide have already produced several stars from Florida in recent years. This list includes Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry and Calvin Ridley, who are either already making their mark in the NFL or surely will in the near future. Alabama has lured 18 prospects ranked four-stars or higher since 2012 and already one, wide receiver Xavier Williams, for 2018.

Farrell’s take: Alabama has not only had a lot of success in Florida, but it has produced stars. South Florida especially has been kind to the Tide although things will get tougher with Mark Richt at Miami now. I honestly expected to find a bigger number of four- or five-stars for ‘Bama, but it recruits so well nationally that Florida is just one area of focus.


Nipping at Alabama’s heels in Florida is Auburn. While the Tide added seven elite recruits during the class of 2017, the Tigers accomplished the same feat during the class of 2015. Included in this class was the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Byron Cowart, plus Carlton Davis, Jeffery Holland and Ryan Davis. The Tigers added two more four-stars from Florida in 2017 with Devan Barrett and Nick Brahms, and look poised to add even more elite talent from the state in 2018, with four-star quarterback Joey Gatewood and four-star athlete Shaun Shivers already committed. Auburn is right behind Alabama with 16 four-stars or higher since 2012.

Farrell’s take: This might surprise some people as you’d expect perhaps Clemson or Georgia or even Ohio State to be No. 2 on this list, but Auburn did a great job recruiting the state, especially for the short time Will Muschamp came over. Not all have panned out, especially Cowart, but the success should continue for quite some time.


The Buckeyes, mainly under former Florida coach Urban Meyer, have landed 13 prospects ranked four-stars or higher since 2012, led by brothers Joey Bosa and Nick Bosa, plus 2017 five-stars Trevon Grimes and Shaun Wade. The Buckeyes have actually seen the majority of their recruiting success in Florida come during the last two recruiting classes, when they have pulled in eight recruits who were four-stars or better. This trend is very likely to continue, as the Buckeyes already have commits from four-star running back Brian Snead and five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, who is from Maryland but plays at IMG Academy.

Farrell’s take: This is not surprising at all with Meyer’s success when he was at Florida and the fact that Ohio State recruited Florida well under Jim Tressel as well. But with such a geographically disadvantage and the weather issue, it’s still beyond impressive and shows how well Meyer can recruit nationally.


Ray Ray McCloud
Ray Ray McCloud (AP)

While Clemson surprisingly did not add any four- or five-stars during the class of 2017, the Tigers have done very well for themselves in the Sunshine State since 2012. More importantly, several of these players have already made a big mark on the program or have a chance to in 2017 and beyond, such as Deon Cain, Ray Ray McCloud III, Jayron Kearse, Mackensie Alexander and T.J. Chase. The Tigers have also received two huge 2018 commitments from Florida, five-star Xavier Thomas (originally from South Carolina) and four-star Mike Jones Jr. (originally from Tennessee), who both play at IMG Academy. Since 2012, the Tigers have landed 11 prospects ranked four-stars or higher.

Farrell’s take: Even back to Tommy Bowden, Clemson recruited Florida well and it continues now with Dabo Swinney and a national title. Clemson is a threat in almost every state it focuses on now and you can bet it will be pressing for more IMG kids and continue to work the state, especially the Tampa area where it has had a lot of success.


Sony Michel
Sony Michel (AP)

The Bulldogs have used their neighboring status to their benefit with 10 four- or five-star commitments since 2012. As with Clemson however, the Bulldogs also did not add a four- or five-star from the Sunshine State in 2017 and surprisingly have not done so in two of the last three classes. Several of the players that the Bulldogs have added from Florida since 2012 have made important contributions, including Isaac Nauta, who is originally from Georgia but played his senior season at IMG Academy, Sony Michel, Isaiah McKenzie and John Theus.

Farrell’s take: While 10 isn’t shabby, I expected this number to be a bit higher and Georgia needs to improve upon this with so many schools coming into Georgia to nab prospects. Yes, it has hit some home runs in the state, but Florida has to be a huge priority for Kirby Smart moving forward and I expect this number to increase in the next few years.


Others Of Note: LSU and Notre Dame just missed the list here with eight four-stars or higher each while Tennessee has landed six. Louisville and Michigan are at five apiece.

Farrell’s Take: LSU has done well here especially being far removed from Florida at least by SEC standards. Louisville continues to impress and hit home runs (Lamar Jackson). Jim Harbaugh and Michigan hope to improve upon this number soon and I think they will.