Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network.
Florida and Florida State both have new coaches, so this trend might not continue, but out of the top 11 prospects in the state, only two decided to stay close to home and both players - five-star RB Lorenzo Lingard and five-star WR Mark Pope - signed with Miami.
That means the Gators and Seminoles were left out in the cold when it comes to top in-state talent and that has to be concerning for such proud programs who should be locking down prospects in such a talent-rich state.
The state’s top player, five-star DE Xavier Thomas, picked Clemson. Plantation American Heritage CB Patrick Surtain signed with Alabama. Ohio State did an excellent job in Florida landing three of the top 10 players there. Georgia dipped in to get five-star RB James Cook and five-star DB Tyson Campbell. Oklahoma and Notre Dame also had success.
The emergence of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy as a football powerhouse plays a huge factor in these considerations, since so many of its top players come from out-of-state. To stay in Florida for college is not as big a factor for many of them.
But many kids who chose to go elsewhere were homegrown kids. Is this a factor of Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and others emerging as national players? And can the three home-state powers - Florida, Florida State and Miami - counter this issue?
FIRST TAKE: ROB CASSIDY, RIVALS.COM SOUTHEAST RECRUITING ANALYST
“There's some nuance to this. This is no exception. The fact that IMG Academy houses so many of the state's top players plays a role because a healthy amount of those prospects are from outside the state of Florida. Add in the fact that Florida and Florida State both experienced seasons that were defined by failure and the door to leave the state was left wide open. Miami did well in South Florida, but the truly elite talent from lots of areas had to look elsewhere for stable situations.”
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR
“Florida has made the SEC Championship Game two of the last three years but the Gators got absolutely croaked by Alabama and they haven’t made the playoff. Florida State has made the playoff once, so let’s just say they haven’t been a consistent contender the last few years and has sort of been passed by Clemson in its own division. It all comes down to winning.
“It does hurt that a lot of the IMG kids aren’t from the state because they’re going to gravitate toward home or at least places they’re familiar with. It’s a lot easier to recruit IMG if you’re Ohio State or Michigan or Texas A&M or whoever to get kids out of IMG because a lot of those kids are coming from your territories.
“IMG has kind of skewed the Florida state rankings. When you talk about pure Florida prospects, I still don’t think Florida and Florida State - and Miami prior to this year - have done a good enough job keeping those kids in-state. We’ve seen numerous examples of it because everyone else is coming in and they’re selling SEC football if you’re Miami or Florida State or they’re selling playoff appearances, NFL production and they’ve fallen off in that respect.
“I’d be concerned if I was a Florida or Florida State fan that A, I can’t recruit IMG that well and B, more and more kids seem to be leaving the state.”