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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Player position by home state in college football

In economics, comparative advantage is the ability of a person or country to produce a good at a lower opportunity cost than others. The result of a comparative advantage is that people or countries that are relatively good at some activity will tend to specialize in that activity.

The same principle applies to high school football. Some states are relatively good at producing athletes for particular positions, and so players at these positions are over represented from those states at the next level. For example, Australia is relatively good at produces kickers, so that 9 of 12 college football players from Australia in 2011 were kickers/punters. Domestically, Hawaii is particularly good at producing defensive lineman, so that 28% of Hawaiians in college football play on the defensive line while only 15% of college football players (as listed on team rosters) are defensive lineman.

In the chart below, I've also added a specialization score. This score ranks states by the degree to which they specialize by position. Hawaii is the most specialized, being most over-represented at linebacker and defensive lineman and most under-represented at running back and tight end (I've included only the 37 states with at list 50 representatives in FBS football). 

Some notable trends quickly emerge. First, four of the top five defensive back states come from the South (Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas, with Maryland as the fifth) while four of the bottom six come from the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, with Oregon and New York rounding out the bottom six). The trend reverses for offensive lineman, with the bottom five all coming from the South.

State Comparative Advantages by Position
State Spec. DB LB DL OL QB RB TE WR K/P N
Ave Score 15.5% 12.6% 14.7% 17.8% 4.8% 8.9% 5.7% 12.3% 4.9%
AL 35 16.7% 13 15.0% 6 15.0% 17 15.7% 25 4.1% 24 9.4% 12 4.6% 22 13.8% 11 1.9% 33 413
AR 6 16.0% 18 6.9% 37 11.5% 33 13.0% 34 9.9% 1 13.0% 2 8.4% 6 13.7% 12 5.3% 15 131
AZ 36 15.3% 20 11.9% 23 15.8% 14 19.8% 9 3.4% 29 9.0% 17 5.1% 19 9.0% 33 6.2% 7 177
CA 30 18.9% 6 12.3% 20 13.3% 27 15.0% 30 6.6% 5 9.4% 13 4.6% 23 13.6% 13 3.7% 26 1,524
CO 21 13.0% 28 15.5% 5 13.7% 26 16.1% 22 4.3% 22 13.7% 1 5.0% 20 9.9% 29 5.6% 12 161
FL 10 22.5% 2 12.4% 19 13.9% 23 12.6% 36 4.6% 20 9.2% 15 4.5% 24 14.2% 10 4.2% 24 1,503
GA 16 18.1% 9 15.0% 7 17.8% 3 12.5% 37 3.1% 33 11.4% 5 3.3% 32 10.9% 26 4.4% 22 734
HI 1 13.5% 25 20.0% 1 27.7% 1 16.1% 23 3.9% 27 3.9% 37 1.9% 37 10.3% 28 1.3% 36 155
IA 5 9.6% 35 10.5% 29 13.2% 29 20.2% 7 7.0% 3 4.4% 36 11.4% 1 12.3% 19 8.8% 3 114
IL 2 9.3% 36 10.4% 31 12.9% 30 28.1% 1 6.2% 7 9.6% 11 5.3% 17 9.6% 31 5.3% 16 356
IN 31 12.0% 32 10.9% 27 14.1% 20 19.3% 11 5.7% 9 8.9% 21 7.3% 11 15.1% 8 5.2% 18 192
KS 34 16.5% 16 12.0% 22 12.0% 31 18.8% 13 6.0% 8 6.0% 34 5.3% 18 10.5% 27 6.0% 8 133
KY 15 13.2% 27 10.4% 30 9.0% 37 20.8% 6 6.9% 4 9.0% 18 5.6% 16 13.2% 14 8.3% 4 144
LA 17 21.1% 3 12.7% 17 13.7% 25 14.5% 33 4.4% 21 7.6% 29 3.4% 31 16.2% 4 4.2% 25 408
MA 18 17.7% 11 12.9% 16 11.3% 34 19.4% 10 3.2% 31 8.1% 28 11.3% 2 11.3% 23 3.2% 29 62
MD 8 24.2% 1 14.5% 10 14.0% 21 15.9% 24 3.4% 30 9.2% 16 3.9% 28 11.1% 25 1.4% 35 207
MI 37 15.4% 19 12.5% 18 14.2% 19 16.5% 21 4.9% 17 9.0% 20 4.9% 21 15.7% 5 5.2% 17 345
MN 14 10.5% 34 14.7% 8 15.8% 15 23.2% 4 3.2% 32 8.4% 25 6.3% 14 11.6% 21 1.1% 37 95
MO 29 12.0% 31 13.9% 13 13.3% 28 18.4% 15 6.3% 6 12.0% 4 6.3% 13 11.4% 22 5.7% 11 158
MS 28 18.7% 7 11.4% 25 16.3% 8 17.1% 19 2.8% 36 8.1% 27 4.1% 27 13.0% 15 2.0% 32 246
NC 19 14.5% 22 16.3% 4 15.3% 16 12.8% 35 4.8% 18 8.8% 24 3.8% 29 14.3% 9 6.0% 8 399
NE 3 14.9% 21 11.7% 24 10.6% 35 27.7% 2 5.3% 14 7.4% 30 9.6% 4 8.5% 36 3.2% 30 94
NJ 24 13.3% 26 16.4% 3 16.0% 12 16.9% 20 5.3% 13 7.1% 31 6.7% 12 15.1% 7 1.8% 34 225
NM 4 18.5% 8 11.1% 26 9.3% 36 14.8% 31 5.6% 11 9.3% 14 7.4% 9 9.3% 32 13.0% 1 54
NV 11 16.3% 17 10.9% 28 20.7% 2 15.2% 28 1.1% 37 9.8% 9 3.3% 33 16.3% 3 4.3% 23 92
NY 13 11.2% 33 9.6% 33 16.0% 10 24.1% 3 3.7% 28 11.2% 7 4.3% 26 12.3% 18 5.9% 10 187
OH 33 17.5% 12 14.3% 12 16.0% 11 15.4% 27 4.6% 19 6.3% 33 7.4% 10 11.2% 24 4.9% 19 798
OK 22 17.9% 10 9.7% 32 16.9% 5 22.1% 5 4.1% 25 6.7% 32 5.6% 15 11.8% 20 3.6% 28 195
OR 7 9.1% 37 9.1% 34 17.0% 4 14.8% 32 5.7% 10 11.4% 6 9.1% 5 17.0% 2 6.8% 6 88
PA 26 13.8% 24 14.6% 9 16.4% 7 19.1% 12 4.2% 23 8.2% 26 8.0% 7 8.0% 37 4.5% 21 377
SC 9 19.5% 4 8.2% 36 15.9% 13 15.5% 26 5.5% 12 5.9% 35 2.7% 34 17.7% 1 4.5% 20 220
TN 27 16.7% 14 13.0% 15 11.5% 32 20.0% 8 4.1% 26 11.1% 8 4.4% 25 8.9% 34 5.6% 13 270
TX 25 19.3% 5 12.2% 21 14.6% 18 15.1% 29 5.1% 16 8.8% 22 3.7% 30 15.6% 6 3.7% 27 1,741
UT 23 12.0% 30 14.5% 11 16.9% 6 18.1% 16 3.0% 34 12.0% 3 7.8% 8 9.6% 30 5.4% 14 166
VA 32 16.6% 15 13.7% 14 14.0% 22 17.3% 18 7.8% 2 9.8% 10 2.6% 35 12.7% 16 2.6% 31 307
WA 20 14.3% 23 8.5% 35 13.8% 24 18.0% 17 5.3% 15 9.0% 19 10.6% 3 12.7% 17 6.9% 5 189
WI 12 12.5% 29 17.6% 2 16.2% 9 18.4% 14 2.9% 35 8.8% 23 2.2% 36 8.8% 35 8.8% 2 136

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