Saturday, June 30, 2012

Going National: Soutwestern Region

Interactive Map by iMapBuilder

Since the arrival of Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator in 2007, Duck fans have seen not only a uniquely dominant offense, but they have seen the football program rise to unprecedented heights culminating in the 2012 Rose Bowl win. Along the way, a couple of special players from parts not normally represented on the Duck roster transformed Oregon football into a national brand.

This month, Duck Sports Authority began this series on national recruiting. So far we have taken a look at every region save one. Today we turn our attention to the region which has seen the biggest impact on the Oregon football team: the Southwest Region. An area untapped prior to Chip Kelly's arrival, the Southwest is a hotbed of talent. Though Texas and Texas A&M have traditionally dominated the state with Oklahoma also getting a vast majority of their talent from the football crazy state, there were plenty of overlooked football players that were passed over by the big boys of the Southwest.

We learned that the Ducks roster has undergone a transformation. Prior to 2007, this team was predominantly populated by athletes from the West Coast; especially California. Comprising nearly 70% of the scholarship players in 2007, California dominated the Ducks roster. In the 2011-12 season, though, Californians counted for only 48% of the Ducks roster. That is a significant change.

The West coast had long been the dominantly represented region on the Ducks roster. Prior to the successes of Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly, that was out of pure necessity. Attempting to lure players to Oregon was difficult enough when it was just getting them out of California. Getting them from everywhere else was exponentially more difficult as Oregon did not have a brand name nationally.

Let us take a look now, at how Oregon's presence in the Southwest region has changed during Chip Kelly's tenure. We begin by looking at the scholarship players from the top three states in the region (Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma) that were on the Oregon roster in 2007 and again in 2012.

Players by State
State Number %
TX 0 0.0
AZ 0 0.0
OK 0 0.0
All Others 0 0.0
State Number %
TX 6 7.8
AZ 5 6.5
OK 0 0.0
All Others 0 0.0

When Duck Sports Authority first looked at the changing recruiting trend of the Duck football coaching staff, it was clear that the roster had been impacted with players not from the Ducks normal territory. We have already seen that there were some Midwestern and Southeastern players sprinkled into the roster over the last several years. The Southwest, though, is where the Ducks have found their biggest impact over the past five years. It's not just that the Ducks got a few players out of Texas, but that the players who Oregon coaches were able to sign were impact players like...

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