DataHog: 50 Years Of Football Recruiting

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — If you signed up to play for the Razorbacks, or walked on the team and were featured in the athletic department’s media guide in the past 50 years, you’re in this feature.

We took an exhaustive, #Uncommon look into our archives to tell the story of the evolution of Razorback Football recruiting from 1963 to this month’s NSD16 class. A total of about 1,500 student-athletes have played football for the Cardinal and White in that time span. Each player has contributed a unique set of skills and attributes, along with their unforgettable stories, into a program that has one of the richest traditions in all of collegiate athletics.

Click on the top left button on the map to access each map’s internal navigation. You can toggle each layer by clicking on the button to the left of each layer description. The button on the top far right opens the map application into a new browser tab or window.

The Google Map featured above displays all 1,499 student-athletes as data points organized into different categories. First, we set the scene by providing an overview of what 53 years of recruiting looks like, then granulate it down by decade and finally, by conference (SWC and SEC).

The next two maps break apart the data into offensive, defensive, and special teams players:

Finally, we organize all the data points based on head coaches. This map shows how the Razorbacks have expanded its recruiting footprint since joining the SEC:

Here’s what we learned based on the data:

• Arkansas by far recruits most of its football student-athletes within the Natural State, accounting for 45 percent of all players since 1963. Texas comes in second, followed by Oklahoma, Louisiana and Missouri.

• It’s interesting to see the expansion of the team’s recruiting footprint over time. Razorback football players hailed mainly from states bordering Arkansas in the 60s and 70s with a few signees from the East Coast. The 80s were the start of Arkansas’s foray into areas previously untapped by the Razorbacks, and in the past two decades, pipelines into Southern California and Florida have opened up for the Hogs.

• Clusters: Zoom in close enough and you can see that Arkansas has historically gained recruits in-state from the I-30 and I-40 corridors, and also the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, New Orleans, Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and OKC/Tulsa areas.

• The top three positions recruited by Arkansas in the past 50 years in order, are: Offensive linemen (329), running backs (295), and linebackers (196).