As the first of two follow-ups on today’s dead tree edition story about Maryland’s decision to focus on recruiting closer to home, the two obvious reasons for doing so are economic and competitive.
It’s increasingly untenable —- thanks in part to fuel prices —- to lure as many kids further from home. It’s costly to go down to Florida for the Terps’ staff. And for the most part, the best guys wind up going to Florida, Florida State and Miami.
But there’s a more subtle reason, and Maryland safety Terrell Skinner touched on it when we talked about why he and cornerback Nolan Carroll are the last of the Floridians on the Terps’ roster.
“I think the only reason why they might deviate from Florida is because they’re not getting a lot of kids,” Skinner said. “UCF is on the rise, USF is on the rise. Then you have the Big Three. Then you have FIU and other up-and-coming schools. Everybody’s just moving up. I guess it makes sense to stay around here.”
It wasn’t that long ago that there were only three major-college options in the state for high school stars. But Central Florida moved up in 1996, South Florida in 2001, and both Florida Atlantic and Florida International four years later.
Do the math: There’s more than twice as many in-state scholarships available. It’s little wonder with so much talent in the area that South Florida rose to No. 2 in the country in their seventh season at the sport’s highest level.
Skinner grew up in St. Petersburg, and he can sense how popular the surging Bulls are. He needs only look at his younger brother, Darrian.
“He wants to go to USF,” Skinner said. “His best friend is going to USF. Everybody from my area is getting recruited by USF or going there since they had the big season they had. I was initially committed to UCF before I came. Some of the guys from my team are going up there. Some of my cousins are playing at FIU. Everybody from my area is staying in Florida.”
Some, thoughm still leave. Here’s a look (based on rosters included in each school’s media guide) at how many Floridians are scattered throughout the ACC. The top two are predictable, but it’s interesting Wake Forest has 27 guys from the state. Demon Deacons fans can thank Jim Grobe for this as well; in former coach Jim Caldwell‘s final season (2000), Wake had eight players from Florida.
—- Patrick Stevens