It doesn’t matter what college program it is, basically every coach has to recruit out of their local area. There may be some exceptions at the smaller levels but how many Division I programs in any sports have every recruit from in-state (if there really is a school that does, please let me know)? Schools like Alabama in football and Kansas in basketball recruit nationally to help themselves win games.
But sometimes athletic recruits want to know what these schools are doing in the recruiting process. Say you are a Division I recruit with offer from smaller schools and attention from others. Why are the Division I programs offering out of state kids when they have a talented athlete as myself right in their backyard? While that is a tough question to answer, I will definitely try to come to a conclusion.
The first reason is that they think this national recruit is better than you. I hate to be the one to say it but judging off of their football recruiting board or basketball recruiting board, an offer usually goes to the athletes rated higher on the board. If the #1 prospect commits elsewhere, then they may offer the #2 prospect. If you are the #4 prospect, it may be tough to get that scholarship if they are only taking one player at your position.
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What is tough about this situation is that these college coaches do not factor in if you grew up loving their program. These coaches will base their evaluations on camps, stats, playing ability, athleticism, character, and your highlight video. If you are lacking in any one of these areas, that may be why the out of state recruit is ahead of you on the recruiting board. It is very difficult to be an honest evaluator of your talent as well as your parent because there will always be bias there no matter what. And with the coaches feeding you lines like keep working hard, send your first three game films, and things of that nature, it is tough for them to give you a true evaluation. I can safely assume most coaches will not tell you where you rank on the recruiting board.
The second reason is that the in-state prospect is under the microscope more than the national recruit. If you are thirty minutes away from the school versus ten hours, the college coach can make visits much easier to your basketball games, wrestling matches, or things of that nature. They can evaluate you more in-depth and take a closer look at your athleticism. These coaches can only do so much with a national recruit.
The in-state coaches will also have more connections in your area so they will likely be able to find out more about you. When you see a kid who grew up in Columbus, Ohio and has offers from all over the country except for Ohio State, something is very wrong that the Buckeye coaching staff knows. My guess is it has something to do with character and it is something these other coaches will eventually find out about. But as an in-state athlete, you will be scrutinized more often and more in-depth.
The third reason (and this one is debatable) is that they know they can wait longer to offer because you are an in-state athlete. This may or may not be true but I have seen it happen many, many times. The University of Texas normally does not offer recruits until Junior Day during the winter. Even if schools like Texas A&M, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and others extend offers, the Longhorns usually wait to get the athlete on campus before offering (note that this has been changing somewhat but it is something that Mack Brown likes to do).
The reason that these coaches do this is they know that many recruits are willing to wait for that in-state offer from the school that they love. I spoke with a recruit a few years back and he had offers from about five schools but the in-state program he grew up loving had not offered him. In talking to him, this recruit said that even if the in-state school offered, he would probably not go there anyways. A few weeks later the in-state school offered him and quickly after that he committed to the school. Some of these schools know that they can wait longer to offer because the school may be their dream offer.
I have seen one school in the Big 10 wait on a number of athletes before eventually offering them. One such prospect had a few mid major offers but saw a team currently ranked in the top five of the country offer. That in-state school quickly offered the following day. Do you really think it was the evaluation that night that led to an offer? This athlete eventually picked the in-state school who had waited on the offer.
The recruiting process is a crazy time and even if you feel that State University should be offering you, it is important to be patient and realize things happen for a reason. Maybe instead of going there you are meant to go to the Division I-AA school and be an All American. Only time will tell and patience in the key.