Where do college football players come from?

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 21, 2014 

A new data visualization — a color-coded map, from gray to almost black-red — maps how many college football players come from which counties in the country, alongside each county's total college-aged male population. (The reporting data is pulled from ESPN; the proportion data is from the Census.)

Some fun finds amongst the location of America's 25,000 college footballers:

• Muscogee County has 27 college football players out of 11,772 college-aged males; Russell has 19 and Lee has 22, out of 2,551 and 16,063 males, respectively.

• The greatest concentration of players in Georgia is the metro Atlanta area (Gwinnett and Fulton both have more than 250 college football players, while Cobb and DeKalb both have more than 150), but the Valley — at least to these untrained eyes — seems the second most-dense

• The greatest concentration of players in Alabama is the metro Birmingham area (Jefferson has 194 players).

• Nationally, the map reveals a strong geographic bias toward the Southeast, unsurprisingly, alongside the megapocalyptic New York/Pennsylvania/New Jersey area and Southern California; and, most surprising to me, the very tip of Florida — Miami.

In an accompanying analysis, we learn a few things more: "Conferences tend to focus heavily on recruiting locally" and "South Florida produces a lot of football players — except kickers and punters."

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