High schools in Maryland are very good at producing great football players. The University of Maryland is bad at keeping them from leaving the state. While new University of Maryland head football coach DJ Durkin is on his way to building a solid 2017 class, College Park has rarely been the destination of choice for Maryland's best recruits. These six charts explain the Terps' recruiting futility.
A Capital News Service analysis of football commitments and player rankings from 247Sports, a recruiting ranking service, found that Maryland is indeed a fertile recruiting ground. Most top college football programs are populated by a mix of five, four and three-star recruits, with a higher concentration of "blue chip" five and four-star recruits on the best teams. When adjusted for population, Maryland ranks sixth in the country in production of blue-chip talent. Maryland produces more blue-chip recruits per 10 thousand high school football players than Alabama, California, Texas and other well-known recruiting hotbeds.
The University of Alabama's football program sets a national standard for excellence in recruiting. The Crimson Tide have been the best team in college football over the past decade, winning four national championships since 2009. Schools in Alabama (including the University of Alabama, Auburn University and other schools) only keep 29 percent of their in-state recruits, but the state rarely misses on local blue-chip players. Alabama head coach Nick Saban's team doesn't need all of the recruits from his program's home state; his team's reputation allows him to also draw blue-chip prospects from other states. Maryland hasn't been able to do this, although Durkin has secured verbal commitments from three four-star recruits so far for the class of 2017.
Iowa doesn't produce many blue-chip players, but football teams at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University combine to keep more three-star recruits in state than anyone else. They don't compete for national championships every year like Alabama does. But they have had very good seasons with a bit of luck -- and the right schedule. Even though these recruits are mostly three-stars, the University of Iowa built up enough in-state talent to finish in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll in 2015. If a school can't prevent blue-chip in-state recruits from fleeing to more established programs, it at least has to keep a lot of three-star recruits from doing the same. Maryland hasn't been able to do this.
Most of Maryland's top high school players get snatched up by bigger, more successful programs. The state produced 39 five and four-star recruits between 2016-2012, seven of which signed with the University of Maryland. Some of Maryland's best high school players went to top programs like Stanford, USC, Texas and Alabama.
Many of those top Maryland high school players are choosing to remain on the East coast -- just not in Maryland. Maryland consistently loses players to Penn State, Ohio State and West Virginia, among other schools.
This map shows where blue-chip Maryland recruits have ended up over the past five years:
Colleges in states that produce a lot of good recruits tend to have the country's most successful college football programs. The University of Maryland is the only FBS program in Maryland, and could be in a great position to compete in the rigorous Big Ten East if it can ever convince most of these recruits to stay home.