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Four states overwhelmingly produced top-end NFL draft picks over the last five years. Here’s how Miami is recruiting them

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Four states overwhelmingly produced top-end NFL draft picks over the last five years. Here’s how Miami is recruiting them

A recent On3 analysis of which states produce the most NFL talent over a five-year period showed Texas, Florida, Georgia and California have produced an overwhelming number of top-50 NFL draft picks since 2019. So far, we’ve been able to get a feel for Miami head coach Mario Cristobal’s recruiting plan for the country’s undisputed most talent-rich states.

For these purposes, we’ll take a look at Miami’s recruiting strategies for the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes. We’ll also take into account the actual home states of IMG Academy recruits since IMG largely consists of out-of-state transfers as opposed to listing all IMG prospects as Florida recruits.

Transfer recruits are not included. We’ll only take into account 2024 prospects who have emerged as Miami priority targets.

Below are the findings of On3’s analysis, followed by Miami’s recruiting patterns for the respective states.

Most top-50 NFL draft picks by home state since 2019

Number of first-round picks are in parentheses

1. Texas — 35 (21)
2. Florida — 29 (20)
3. Georgia — 26 (19)
4. California — 19 (13)
5. Louisiana — 14 (9)
6. Maryland/Washington, D.C. — 10 (8)
7. North Carolina — 9 (6)
8. Pennsylvania — 8 (4)
T9. Alabama — 7 (5)
T9. Mississippi — 7 (4)
T9. New Jersey — 7 (3)
12. Illinois — 6 (3)

Most top-50 NFL draft picks by home state since 2021

1. Georgia — 19 (15)
2. Florida — 18 (11)
3. Texas — 17 (11)
4. California — 13 (10)
5. Maryland/D.C. — 8 (6)
6. Pennsylvania — 7 (4)
T7. Louisiana — 6 (4)
T7. North Carolina — 6 (3)
9. Illinois — 5 (3)

Most top-50 NFL draft picks by home state this year

1. Georgia — 7 (5)
2. Florida — 6 (5)
3. Texas — 5 (4)
T4. Maryland/D.C. — 4 (4)
T4. Illinois — 4 (2)
T6. California — 3 (2)
T6. Mississippi — 3 (1)

Miami’s 2023 signing class included 12 Florida recruits**, four Georgia recruits, two California* recruits and one prospect each from Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland and Australia. The Hurricanes did not sign any prospects from Texas.

Miami’s 2024 priority targets have overwhelmingly centered around Florida, Georgia and California, much like the 2023 class. The Hurricanes are heavily pursuing more than two dozen Florida prospects as priority targets, headlined by names like five-star prospects Jeremiah Smith and Joshisa Trader and elite four-star running back Jerrick Gibson even in a year relatively light with South Florida talent.

Georgia and California have the second and third-most Miami targets in the 2024 class, similar to Miami’s recruiting pattern in 2023, although the attention the Canes’ staff has paid the two states pale in comparison to the effort they’ve recruited Florida with.

Georgia and California have roughly half a dozen priority targets each. Louisiana has a handful of targets like three-star safety signee Dylan Day and three-star safety Anthony Robinson, who were two of the first prospects to pick up Miami offers after Lance Guidry was hired as the Hurricanes’ new defensive coordinator, and five-star defensive lineman Dominick McKinley.

Few other states have more than one, two or three major Miami targets. Texas has largely been an afterthought for the coaching staff.

Recruiting classes under former head coach Manny Diaz largely followed similar trends, although he held a slightly higher recruiting interest in Texas.

*Francis Mauigoa’s home state is listed as California, where he lived before transferring to IMG, although he is originally from American Samoa.

**Antione Jackson signed with Miami in 2023 before later requesting a release from his NLI.

CaneSport’s Take: Miami program in recent years faced a development problem

On3’s data re-confirms an already well-known fact: Miami rarely needs to leave Florida to find top-end talent. But it also re-emphasizes Miami’s development problem over the last number of years.

Miami’s staff fully understands the importance of recruiting Florida and is extremely familiar with the hordes of talent in the state, which why the Hurricanes signed a dozen Floridians last year and could easily sign at least another dozen Floridians in this year’s class. Miami’s current roster features 49 Florida players of the 90 athletes on the roster, yet the Hurricanes are averaging just three draft picks per year over the last four drafts. Miami has not had an offensive player drafted in the first round since David Njoku in 2017.

On3’s state-by-state analysis also shows Miami doesn’t have a talent problem, and the Hurricanes certainly don’t have a recruiting problem. Miami has only had one recruiting class finish outside the top 20 since 2017 and have signed five combined five-star prospects under Diaz and Cristobal, even though Diaz was not heralded as the same level of recruiter Cristobal has been.

Programs like Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia have turned Florida into their recruiting playground in the last decade, regularly luring away top prospects with promises of developing players into first-round draft picks, which all three programs have done with ease. It’s been something high-profile five-star prospects like Jeremiah Smith have cited when asked why they would choose a program like Ohio State over the Hurricanes, saying time and time again their record of player development can’t be matched.

If Miami wants to start winning recruiting battles with the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world, the Hurricanes have to start showing top-end prospects they’re capable of putting more than just three prospects in the NFL draft every year. Yes, Miami has tremendous recruiting resources, and Cristobal has earned his reputation as a recruiter time and time again, but the majority of top-tier prospects care less about facilities, recruiting experiences and NIL deals than they do about player development.

The post Four states overwhelmingly produced top-end NFL draft picks over the last five years. Here’s how Miami is recruiting them appeared first on On3.

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