I spent a little time looking over girls' tennis commitments for blue chips and five stars. The question I was asking was: How realistic is it to recruit a girl to come a pretty good distance AND ask her to come significantly farther north? I asked this question because I postulated that weather is significant in tennis recruiting.
The commitments (five star and blue chip girls) seemed to break down into these categories:
1. Colleges that are sunnier and warmer than UW.
2. Ivy League colleges.
3. A few M-i-d-w-e-s-t-ern girls who stayed close to home at Big 10 colleges and Notre Dame.
It is very rare to find otherwise. Out of 75 blue chip and five star girls, you will find a couple each year who do not fit these categories. For example, this year Northwestern has a five-star commitment from a girl in Los Angeles, and Michigan State has a five-star commitment from Florida. The other seven top commitments to Big 10 schools this year are from Illinois (3), Michigan (2), Ohio (1) and Massachusetts (1). Out of the 17 blue chip commitments so far this season, the only one that looks geographically odd is a commitment by a California girl to Oklahoma State. The only players who committed to schools farther north than Oklahoma State already lived farther north. An Oklahoma blue chip committed to USC. In fact, the odd thing is that there are not many girls from colder places committing to warmer places; one New York girl committed to North Carolina, five girls from cooler places stayed in the cooler regions (Harvard-2, Northwestern-2, Boston College-1) and the other eleven girls came from warm/moderate locations and went to the same kind of weather. Scanning the five-star commitments shows a similar pattern.
One conclusion is that coaches at cooler or rainier or snowier places are wise to recruit girls who are already used to that. Another conclusion is that such places produce fewer top players than warmer places. And another conclusion is that these fewer top players will be highly sought by the Ivies and the top Big 10 programs. If the UW coach fails to convince an Ohio girl to come to UW instead of to Northwestern or Michigan, I am not sure that means she is a bad recruiter. Maybe the girls want to stay closer to home, and other programs have more tennis reputation and plenty good enough academic reputation. There are about 3-4 girls in the top 75 each year who seem to buck these trends, and I am not sure that I can demand that one coach get half of them.