Do the results from in-state rivalries factor into football recruiting? Should they matter?

Do the results from in-state rivalries factor into football recruiting?It seems when deciding on where an athlete wants to attend college, two of the biggest factors that they look for are either early playing time or the success of the program.  For early playing time, what that likely means is a school that has a new coach and is rebuilding.  It is what all new coaches are selling, including Brian Kelly of Notre Dame.

But if you are not as much into going to a program that is not a sure thing, than the success of the program may be something that you will look into.  For example, take a look at what former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez went through.  He decided to sit the bench a few years and learn before hitting the field.  Sanchez paid his dues and he has been having a tremendous season to this point.  He decided to take the success of the program over starting early at a school that struggled.  And right now, I don’t see him second guessing himself at all as a starter for the New York Jets.

As a recruit, you may also throw location into the equation because you want to stay close to home.  If you are from the state of Florida, you may look at Florida State, Miami, and Florida during the football recruiting process.  And while their overall success could play a role in your decision, the head to head success of the teams may also be important.  Did the Gators beat Miami?  Did the Hurricanes beat Florida State?  That in-state rivalry is huge for many recruits and something to definitely consider.

Because momentum is so important in the decision of a potential recruit, if a school gets hot on the field one year, they usually capitalize on that during the recruiting process.  Hypothetically, Florida State gets on a roll this season and is able to defeat both Miami and Florida.  Many athletes in that area like all of the schools so that could be a major momentum swing for them during the football recruiting process.  Not only does that help them on a national level, it is a huge help with the local talent throughout the State.

These athletes who are looking at the big three in Florida are very intent on seeing the result from those head to head games.  If Florida State now becomes the “it” school and brings in a ton of in-state kids, then those kids may start recruits others.  It could help the Seminole coaching staff build pipelines to these high school powerhouses just because they were able to go 2-0 against the other Florida schools this season.

My guess is that right now, the success that Florida has had makes them the “it” school in the state.  But with Miami having played the Gators tough recently, they may be a program to watch in future years.  The goal obviously is to take the title of being the most popular team in state.  And with the sheer amount of talent that Florida produces every year, being that school is a great thing.

I believe that this carries over to other states that have big rivalries.  Games like Alabama vs. Auburn, USC vs. UCLA, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Michigan vs. Michigan State, Texas vs. Texas A&M and games along that line do factor in a major way with the recruiting process.  Being on a team that has the attention of the State and has proven to be successful is always a major boast in the recruiting process.  It helps you take a longer look at the school if they can win some games.  In the end, winning games may be a huge help in possibly getting you to the next level as well.

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