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Peak Perspective: Who won each state in recruiting (2022)?

Looking at all the state recruiting battles.

Our recruiting coverage continues today with a look into the recruiting battles in the different Mountain West battleground states. It only makes sense to review which teams are recruiting the best in each state. After all, recruiting is one of the most significant ways to define if a program succeeds or fails. Given how often a player usually holds offers from many or most of the Mountain West teams, programs are competing against one another for recruits more often than not. While this isn’t accurate in every case (Boise State and New Mexico probably aren’t going head to head for a recruit, for example), it’s true more often than not.

This is not looking at the total number of states a team did or didn’t win. Instead, the emphasis is placed on which team is doing the best in each state. Also, this post focuses more on the in-state recruiting battles instead of explaining a team’s strategy to recruit a few or many different states.

For a state to be considered, it had to fall under one of a few categories. Some states are traditional Mountain West recruiting states, such as California, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Utah, etc. Similarly, other states are listed here because they are the home state of a team in the Mountain West, such as Idaho, New Mexico, or Wyoming. Lastly, a few states are listed for at least this year because either two teams recruited at least one player from the state or one team recruited at least two players from the state.

Recruiting success or “winning” the state is determined by both quality and quantity. The quality of recruiting a state is determined by the number of players a team signed in one state. The quality of their recruiting is defined by the number of three stars (or four stars) among their signees. As can be seen below, some states had more prominent recruiting battles than others. Also, this year will add the previous year’s winners to each state in order to show any potential patterns with specific states or teams.

Here is last year’s version for anyone who wants to see a year-to-year comparison.

Notes:

All numbers and stars are from 247 composite rankings. Transfer players were not considered for the purposes of this article, as they are not recruited from their home state.

Also, players listed for Air Force will consist solely of players listed on the 247 site.

Lastly, the four-stars are groups with three-stars in this exercise rather than being given a separate category.

California

Number of total players: 68

Number from each school: 15 (San Jose State), 14 (Fresno State), 12 (San Diego State), 8 (Colorado State), 7 (New Mexico), 6 (Boise State), 5 (Nevada), 5 (Hawaii), 4 (Air Force), 4 (UNLV), 2 (Wyoming), 1 (Utah State)

Number of 3/4 stars: 13 (San Jose State), 12 (San Diego State), 11 (Fresno State), 8 (Colorado State), 6 (Boise State), 5 (Hawaii), 4 (New Mexico), 4 (UNLV), 2 (Nevada), 1 (Utah State), 1 (Wyoming)

Consensus: California has always been seen as the top MWC state for recruiting, and this year was no exception. This makes sense with three members of the conference being in-state. Not only was it the state that brought in the most recruits, but it produced more players than the next four states combined. All twelve teams signed players from California, the only state in this list that can make that claim. Plus, the three in-state schools produced double-digit signees, benefitting the most in the Moutain West. Boise State and Colorado State also had strong showings this year. However, it was San Jose State that had both the most signings and the highest quality this year.

2021: San Diego State

Texas

Number of total players: 25

Number from each school: 10 (Air Force), 3 (Utah State), 3 (Wyoming), 2 (New Mexico), 1 (Boise State), 1 (Colorado State), 1 (Hawaii), 1 (San Diego State), 1 (UNLV)

Number of 3 stars: 3 (Utah State), 2 (New Mexico), 2 (Wyoming), 1 (Air Force), 1 (Boise State), 1 (Colorado State), 1 (UNLV)

Consensus: Texas has long been a big recruiting state in the Mountain West and continues to be the second most recruiting area in the conference. Overall, nine teams or 75% of the MWC landed at least one recruit from the Lone Star state. The Falcons once again led the way in total commitments, and frankly, no one else was even close. Unfortunately for them, none of those commits were considered three-stars by the 247 composite standards. Utah State and Wyoming each had three signees from Texas, and the Aggies made them count, with all three registering as three-stars.

2021: Boise State

Utah

Number of total players: 18

Number from each school: 11 (Utah State), 4 (Boise State), 2 (Nevada), 1 (Hawaii), 1 (San Diego State)

Number of 3 stars: 9 (Utah State), 4 (Boise State), 1 (Hawaii), 1 (San Diego State)

Consensus: This one should be pretty obvious. While several teams are looking to Utah for talent, it is primarily teams in the surrounding states. However, the Aggies were in firm control of the state in this class. They were aided by factoring in several returning LDS missionaries who count towards this class. Boise State was determined to begin recruiting Utah more, and through the first season, the efforts paid off. Regardless, the Utah State cleaned up in Utah this year.

2021: Utah State

Colorado

Number of total players: 9

Number from each school: 3 (Air Force), 3 (Wyoming), 2 (Colorado State), 1 (UNLV)

Number of 3 stars: 2 (Colorado State), 2 (Wyoming), 1 (Air Force), 1 (UNLV)

Consensus: After Boise State and Colorado State dominated Colorado last year, this year took a different turn. Air Force and Wyoming led the way in total commits, with each securing a third of the total in the entire conference. The Rams and Cowboys tied for the best quality of recruits, although it wasn’t leaps and bounds better than the Falcons or Rebels. No team truly stood out in recruiting Colorado this year, but Wyoming appears to have done the most consistent job this year.

2021: Boise State

Nevada

Number of total players: 9

Number from each school: 2 (Nevada), 2 (UNLV), 2 (Utah State), 1 (Air Force), 1 (San Diego State), 1 (San Jose State)

Number of 3 stars: 2 (Nevada), 2 (UNLV), 2 (Utah State), 1 (Air Force), 1 (San Diego State)

Consensus: Nevada is located in an area where many different Mountain West schools can search for talent, especially the two in-state teams and the California programs. During this cycle, it seemed as if a few different teams used the state as a complement to heavier recruiting in other states rather than any one team recruiting Nevada as their primary state. Six different teams signed a player from Nevada, but none had more than two players. After being absent from the list last year, UNLV reinvested in local talent, as did Nevada. Utah State also had good fortune after not signing any players last year. Those three basically end up tying based on the raw data but diving a bit deeper reveals the Rebels had the highest-ranked recruit, barely edging out the Wolf Pack.

2021: San Diego State

Washington

Number of total players: 9

Number from each school: 4 (Air Force), 3 (Boise State), 1 (Fresno State), 1 (Nevada)

Number of 3/4 stars: 3 (Boise State), 1 (Fresno State), 1 (Nevada)

Consensus: Washington is traditionally not a primary recruiting state for any program, but many teams supplement their classes with a few players from the state. Four different teams got in the mix with this class. Specifically, Boise State made concentrated efforts to find talent in the Pacific Northwest. It paid off with three quality players, including one of the best players in the conference this recruiting cycle, meaning the Broncos won this state pretty handily.

2021: Boise State

Hawaii

Number of total players: 7

Number from each school: 3 (Hawaii), 1 (Boise State), 1 (Nevada), 1 (San Diego State), 1 (Utah State)

Number of 3 stars: 2 (Hawaii), 1 (Boise State), 1 (Nevada), 1 (Utah State)

Consensus: After seeing no teams but Hawaii land a player from the islands in 2021, things went back to normal in 2022, with five different teams securing at least one player. The state of Hawaii produced quite a bit of talent in this recruiting cycle, and the in-state Rainbow Warriors were able to lead the charge, despite all the challenges they faced with a last-minute coaching change. They had almost half of the seven players all by themselves, with three, and two were considered high-quality recruits. Hawaii owned the state once again this year.

2021: Hawaii

Nebraska

Number of total players: 7

Number from each school: 5 (Wyoming), 2 (Air Force)

Number of 3/4 stars: 3 (Wyoming)

Consensus: The Cowboys recruit in places many other Mountain West teams do not. Due to this, they have basically been able to have the monopoly on Nebraska compared to their conference mates, and this year was no exception. The Cowboys found five players from the state in this year’s cycle, including the highest-ranked player for their 2022 class. Air Force also made an appearance but did not come close to matching Wyoming’s efforts.

2021: Wyoming

Florida

Number of total players: 6

Number from each school: 3 (Air Force), 2 (New Mexico), 1 (Boise State)

Number of 3 stars: 3 (Air Force), 2 (New Mexico), 1 (Boise State)

Consensus: Despite being on the other side of the country, many MWC teams attempt to recruit in Florida due to its talent-rich status. This year was no exception as three different teams signed players from the sunshine state. The Falcons recruit nationally compared to any other team in the conference. New Mexico and Boise State do not (yet) have a consistent presence in Florida but were able to come away with a player or two this year. Still, Air Force seemed to recruit the state best this cycle.

2021: Colorado State

Arizona

Number of total players: 5

Number from each school: 2 (Air Force), 2 (Fresno State), 1 (UNLV)

Number of 3 stars: 2 (Fresno State), 1 (Air Force), 1 (UNLV)

Consensus: Arizona has been a key recruiting state for numerous Mountain West teams in the past, but there was a sharp drop off this year (13 players to 5 players). It will be worth seeing if that trend continues going forward or if it is just a one-year anomaly. This year only three teams landed a commitment in Arizona, down from seven last year. No one landed more than two players, so no one truly established themselves over anyone else. With that being said, Fresno State tied for the most players, and both of those players were three-star recruits, so they won the state.

2021: San Diego State

New Mexico

Number of total players: 5

Number from each school: 4 (New Mexico), 1 (Boise State)

Number of 3 stars: 1 (Boise State)

Consensus: While not generally known as a primary recruiting state, even among Mountain West teams, New Mexico saw two teams mine talent from the state, including the Lobos. The Broncos were able to secure the best player, while the Lobos had the most players. This one could be argued either way, but given that New Mexico had no three-star players, this state is going to BSU for this year.

2021: New Mexico

Georgia

Number of total players: 4

Number from each school: 2 (Air Force), 1 (Colorado State), 1 (New Mexico)

Number of 3 stars: 1 (Air Force), 1 (Colorado State)

Consensus: Georgia is a new addition to the list this year, thanks to three different schools signing four different players in 2022. At this time, it is unknown if schools like Air Force or Colorado State are making intentional efforts to dip into the southeast or if it was merely a coincidence. Perhaps it is also worth noting that those were the two teams reportedly leaving the Mountain West for the American way back in September. Either way, the Falcons seem to have a leg up on the rest with the highest number of signees and tied for the most three-stars, although they did not have a commanding lead in either category.

2021: N/A

Oklahoma

Number of total players: 3

Number from each school: 2 (New Mexico), 1 (Utah State)

Number of 3 stars: 1 (New Mexico), 1 (Utah State)

Consensus: Oklahoma is another new addition this year (although Boise State recruited a player from the Sooner State last year), and while it may not be an annual occurrence, three players and two schools found players this year. The Lobos managed to snag two players, with the Aggies having the third one. Each got a three-star recruit for their efforts, and in a tight race, New Mexico emerges as the winner for this state.

2021: N/A

Idaho

Number of total players: 2

Number from each school: 1 (Air Force), 1 (Utah State)

Number of 3 stars: 1 (Utah State)

Consensus: Idaho usually belongs to Boise State, but that was not the case this year in terms of the purposes of this article. While Boise state took many players as preferred walk-ons this year, the Falcons and Aggies took the scholarship players in regards to Mountain West teams. Utah State takes Idaho this year. Side note: there are a number of talented players in Idaho for the 2023 recruiting cycle, and the state could end up being an under-the-radar battleground next year.

2021: Boise State

Oregon

Number of total players: 2

Number from each school: 1 (Boise State), 1 (Nevada)

Number of 3 stars: 1 (Boise State), 1 (Nevada)

Consensus: In a bit of an oddity, Oregon was not a state that was featured last year. While it has never been a recruiting haven for Mountain West teams, it is a state many teams attempt to get a foothold in to grab some talent. Two MWC teams were able to do that this year; Boise State and Nevada. They each had one player, and both of those players were three-stars. Looking at the 247 rankings, the Bronco’s player was a bit more highly regarded, so Boise State is the winner of Oregon in 2022.

2021: N/A

Wyoming

Number of total players: 1

Number from each school: 1 (Wyoming)

Number of 3 stars: 1 (Wyoming)

Consensus: Wyoming isn’t a huge battleground state as far as the rest of the Mountain West teams are concerned. The Cowboys recruit the top players, and maybe CSU reaches across the border every now and then, but otherwise, the other teams in the conference don’t glean from this state. This year, Wyoming basically has the state to itself in terms of recruiting, and even the Cowboys only took one scholarship player in 2022. Obviously, this year Wyoming won Wyoming.

2021: Wyoming

There were two new states featured in this year’s edition of this post, Georgia and Oklahoma. Now that this is an annual post with the intent of identifying patterns over time, there will also be a space to mention states that were featured in recent years that did produce enough Mountain West talent to be highlighted this year. For the 2022 recruiting cycle, those states were Illinois and Louisiana. Illinois was a state Wyoming has long had a foothold in, but perhaps that is no longer the case now that the assistant coach who recruited Wyoming has moved on. After producing three total players last year, it did not produce any this year (although a Boise State JUCO player originally played high school football in Illinois). Similarly, Louisiana was on the radar in last year’s post after Hawaii secured two players from that state. This year, only one player came from there, belonging to Colorado State.

Illinois

2021: Wyoming

Louisiana

2021: Hawaii

This continues to be an interesting exercise to see which teams are focusing their recruiting efforts in which states. And also, which teams are having more recruiting success than others in specific states. It’s worth looking at this data both in a specific year and from year to year to see if certain trends emerge. Although it has only been two years’ worth of information, a few basic trends can be identified.

  • Everyone recruits California to some degree.
  • The three in-state California schools focus on getting the majority of their class from their home state. Many other schools recruit their home state but not at the same level as FSU, SDSU, and SJSU.
  • Not every state recruits their home state well. Air Force and Colorado State do not seem to favor their backyard more than any other state.
  • Some MWC schools seem to be focusing on the states in the south and east a bit these past two years, but it is too soon to tell if that is intentional or not.
  • Wyoming continues to recruit states most other MWC schools don’t (Wyoming, Nebraska). Air Force recruits nationally compared to its peers but seems to make a concentrated effort to recruit Texas.
  • It should also be noted that coaching changes (especially the head coach but assistants as well) can heavily impact what areas schools are recruiting. For example, Boise State was intentionally recruiting Texas and Colorado last year (8 total players) but had only one player from both states combined this year. Hawaii focused more on Texas and less on their own state under the previous coach but will likely focus on recruiting the islands more purposefully with the new coaching staff.