My last post illustrated that schools in the SEC footprint, along the East Coast, and California have a greater number of highly rated recruits within 100 and 250 miles than schools in the Midwest.
This post will look at whether recruits have a greater propensity to attend schools closer to home. My next post will look at whether the recruits Rivals star rating impacts that decision.
Please note that when I use the word 'random' or 'chance' I mean it in the sense that there is no decision criteria applied to the choice whatsoever. In reality, distance from home to school is only one of many possible decision criteria. This analysis does not yet explore the degree to which the criterion of distance from home affects the decision, only whether it appears to affect it or not.
First, I made a matrix that calculated the distance from every 2013 recruit on the Rivals website to every FBS school. It was, to say the least, a large matrix (2677 recruits x 122 FBS school = 326,593 distance calculations).
Taking those 326,593 distances and grouping them into bins with a width of 50 miles and plotting the number in each bin on the vertical axis and the bins on the horizontal axis I get a picture of how far recruits live from schools.
The peak of the graph at around 600 miles means that the most common distance between every recruit home and every possible school destination is about 600 miles.
The first indication that recruits are more likely to sign with a school closer to home than if the decision was completely independent of the distance is apparent when I add the distances to the schools that recruits actually signed LOIs for. The added red line clearly shows that schools closer to home were preferred by recruits. (the counts for the red line are on the right vertical axis).
The overall average distance from every recruit home to every FBS school is 1082 miles. The overall average distance from every recruits home to the school they chose to attend is 512 miles. The conclusion that should be drawn from this is that the distance from home to school appears to be a factor in recruits' decisions. The actual distance to the schools that recruits choose to attend is less than half that of what would be expected if the decision to attend a particular school were truly random.
My next post will explore whether the Rivals rating of a particular recruit affects the propensity of a recruit to sign with a school further from or closer to home.